Arsenal pay a high price to draw with Liverpool; Bednar gives the Baggies a vital win; Manchester United are English, European and World champions

Arsenal 1 – Liverpool 1 (Premier League, December 21, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) In a high-tempo match, Arsenal struck first against Liverpool with a stunning goal, Nasri’s raking pass was collected by Robin van Persie who shifted the ball away from Carragher before lashing in a right-footed drive. But  in the 41st minute Liverpool equalised, Arbeloa pumped a ball forward which Robbie Keane was onto in a flash and the Irishman smashed a first time shot past Almunia. (First half highlights here.) The Gunners lost Cesc Fabregas at the break amid rumours the captain suffered a knee injury, and on the hour mark Arsenal had Emmanuel Adebayor sent off for a second yellow (first yellow here) for a flailing arm that struck Arbeloa.

Newcastle 2 – Tottenham 1 (Premier League, December 21, 2008) (MOTD highlights here.) Charles N’Zogbia opened the scoring at St. James’ Park, but Spurs went into the break level as Luka Modric collected a long punt forward and beat Shay Given with ease. But just when the Londoners thought they had secured a point Damien Duff rolled back the years to net a last-gasp winner for the Magpies.

West Brom 2 – Manchester City 1 (Premier League, December 21, 2008) In the basement battle between the Baggies and City, it took 70 minutes for the deadlocked to be broken, the hosts taking the lead when Luke Moore broke clear and finished under the body of Joe Hart. Back came City as Felipe Caicedo scored a brilliant backheel under the noses of two covering defenders that squeezed into Carson’s net. But in the dying seconds the Baggies stole the points, Roman Bednar heading home the winner to send The Hawthorns wild.


Manchester United 1 – Liga de Quito 0 (Club World Cup final, December 21, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Manchester United were fortunate not to fall behind to the Ecuadorians when Alejandro Manso fluffed an early chance from a low free-kick, missing the target from two yards out. But from then on the first half belonged to United, Rooney coming close on several occasions while Tevez had a header well saved. (First half highlights here.) After the break United were reduced to 10-men after Nemanja Vidic threw a loose elbow at Claudio Bieler. But United continued to dominate, and they were rewarded through Wayne Rooney’s deserved strike in the 73rd minute which he buried inside Cevallos’ far post.

Gamba Osaka 1 – Pachuca 0 (Club World Cup, December 21, 2008) Masata Yamazaki’s clinical strike on the half hour mark proved decisive, giving Gamba a deserved victory over the Mexicans to claim third spot in the tournament.


Southampton 0 – Nottingham Forest 2 (Championship, December 20, 2008) Forest took the lead through a Wes Morgan header before Joe Garner capped the fine away win with a stunning lob from 30-yards.

Sheffield United 2 – Crystal Palace 2 (Championship, December 20, 2008) Nathan Dyer’s opener was cancelled out by Patrick McCarthy, but the Blades looked to have the points in the bag when Jamie Beattie scored two minutes from time. But a last-gasp volley from Nick Carle gave the Eagles a point.

Barnsley 2 – Plymouth 0 (Championship, December 20, 2008)

MK Dons 3 – Leeds 1 (League One, December 20, 2008) Defeat at the MK Dons, Leeds’ fifth loss in a row, brought an end to Gary McAllister’s Ellland Road reign. Sean O’Hanlon and Aaron Wilbraham converted corners in the first half before Robert Snodgrass reduced the deficit after the break the a stunning strike from 25-yards. But Wilbraham headed the Dons’ third goal six minutes later as they made it seven wins from their last eight games.

Everton reserves 1 – Manchester United reserves 1 (Barclays Premier Reserve League, December 19, 2008) The Blues took the lead early on through Lukas Jutkiewicz, his flick-on ricocheting back into his path to fire home after three minutes. For United Manucho was proving a real threat upfront, and the Angolan eventually found the equaliser with a header from Magnus Eikrem’s cross in the 55th minute.


Falkirk 0 – Celtic 3 (SPL, December 21, 2008) Samaras headed home after 47 minutes following an overhead flick by strike partner Scott McDonald. And Mizuno and McDonald both broke clear late on to score.

Rangers 1 – Hibernian 0 (SPL, December 21, 2008) (First half highlights here, second half highlights here.) Kris Boyd made the breakthrough after 61 minutes with a clever hook shot from Kyle Lafferty’s cross, before Mendes hit the bar with an audacious chip.


Villareal 1 – Barcelona 2 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Minutes after the half-time break Cani put Villareal in front finishing a superb through ball from Rossi. But Barca hit back through Seydou Keita who headed in from an Alves cross and then eight minutes later Thierry Henry put the Catalans in front, volleying home after good work by Xavi. Barca played out the latter stages with ten men after Gerard Pique had been sent off for two yellow cards.

Mallorca 0 – Sevilla 0 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) The goalless draw sent Sevilla into second place.

Racing Santander 1 – Malaga 1 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Nabil Baha fired Malaga in the lead with a superb volley on the ran at Racing Santander. Esprin levelled for the hosts with a header.

Sporting Gijon 1 – Almeria 0 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Sporting Gijon’s centre forward Francisco Maldonado steered in a header to give the hosts the lead over Almeria.

Osasuna 5 – Getafe 2 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Jaroslav Palsil opened the scoring just seven minutes in, and Juanfran doubled Osasuna’s advantage on the half-hour. Then a quick-fire double just before the break from Walter Pandiani and Javed Nekounam virtually sealed the win.Roberto Soldado fired a late brace for Getafe, but that sandwiched an effort from Hector Font, who had grabbed Osasuna’s fifth.

Deportivo La Coruna 4 – Recreativo Huelva 1 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Alberto Lopo opened the scoring after 10 minutes and not long after Sergio’s penalty doubled their advantage. Another penalty moments later from Adrian Colunga gave Recre some hope, but Deportivo were soon back in control as Rodolfo Bodipo headed home. The scoring was completed in the final minute as Luis Felipe fired home.

Numancia 4 – Valladolid 3 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Jose Javier Barkero had earlier given Numancia the lead but goals from Goitom and Angel Vivar Dorado either side of half-time put Valladolid in the ascendancy. Henok Goitom put the visitors further ahead with less than 15 minutes remaining but late goals from Javier Gonzalez Del Pino, Carlos Reina Aranda and Gorka Brit turned the result on its head as Numancia came back to win.

Real Betis 0 – Athletic Bilbao 1 (La Liga, December 21, 2008) Javi Martinez headed the winner for Bilbao.

Deportivo Alaves 1 – Tenerife 2 (Segunda Division, December 21, 2008)

Real Sociedad 1 – Salamanca 0 (Segunda Division, December 20, 2008)

Zaragoza 3 – Alicante 0 (Segunda Division, December 20, 2008)


AC Milan 5 – Udinese 1 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Alexandre Pato opened the scoring after just four minutes, the young Brazilian then teed up Kaka for the second. Di Natale did pull one back but the Alexandre Pato show continued as he claimed the third on 18 minutes. Clarence Seedorf scored the fourth minutes before the break after a Pirlo free-kick had hit the post. After the break Kaka smashed home the fifth.

Atalanta 1 – Juventus 3 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Juventus had the ball in the Atalanta net early doors only for the goal to be chalked out for offside. Juve continued to pres, and they rewarded when Del Piero scored yet again in the league after receiving an inviting cross from Marchionni. And the Old Lady soon doubled their lead, Nicola Legrottaglie powering home a corner six minutes later. After the break Christian Vieri rifled home a header to pulled a goal back, but Amuari settled the match with a third 8 minutes from time.

Catania 3 – Roma 2 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Davide Baiocco gave Catania the lead over Roma, and Spalletti’s side fell further behind when Japanese international Takayuki Morimoto collected a long ball through the middle before sliding in the second. Roma looked to be dead and buried when Takayuki Morimoto bagged his second early in the second half. Roma fought back, Mirko Vucinic and Jeremy Menez set up a tense ending by Catania held on for the win.

Sampdoria 0 – Fiorentina 1 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Fiorentina took the lead at Samp through Riccardo Montolivo’s strike after 19 minutes.

Torino 1 – Napoli 0 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Rolando Bianchi slid in at the far post on 53 minutes to give struggling Torino a much-needed victory against a Napoli side without suspended duo Ezequiel Lavezzi and Paolo Cannavaro as well as injured midfielder Marek Hamsik.

Chievo 0 – Genoa 1 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Ruben Olivera stole victory for high-flying Genoa a minute from time with a powerful run and shot.

Cagliari 1 – Reggina 1 (Serie A, December 21, 2008) Robert Acquafresca opened the scoring for the home side in the first minute before Paolo Gianco was dismissed and Reggina were awarded a penalty as Brienza obliged from the spot.

Lecce 0 – Bologna 0 (Serie A, December 21, 2008)


Monaco 3 – Bordeaux 4 (Ligue 1, December 21, 2008) Bordeaux were trailing 3-nil after Juan Pablo Pino’s 12th minute opener and a double by Alexandre Licata either side of the break. Marouane Chamakh pulled one back for the visitors in the 52nd minute with Alou Diarra reducing the deficit further a quarter of an hour later. With two minutes of regulation time remaining, Chamakh got his double with Argentinian Fernando Cavanaghi the hero of the hour bagging the decider in the closing seconds.

PSG 2 – Valenciennes 2 (Ligue 1, December 21, 2008) Guillaume Hoarau opened the scoring in the 28th minute with Rudy Mater levelling three minutes after the break. Jerome Rothen had the home side back in front with just over quarter of an hour an hour left but Siaka Tiene had the last word five minutes from time.

Nantes 1 – Sochaux 1 (Ligue 1, December 20, 2008) Mevlut Erdinc broke the deadlock for Sochaux in the 76th minute but Aurelien Capoue levelled with just four minutes remaining.

Lille 3 – Le Havre 1 (Ligue 1, December 20, 2008) Rudi Garcia’s men went ahead through Ludovic Obraniak but Le Havre hit back via Hassan Alla’s 61st minute effort. But Lille rallied to secure the three points, Yohan Cabaye and Michel Bastos fired home in the final seven minutes.

Grenoble 2 – Le Mans 1 (Ligue 1, December 20, 2008) Albert Baning scored after 34 minutes and Laurent Batlles doubled the lead three minutes after halftime, as Grenoble took control. Modibo Maiga did pull a goal back for the visitors, but they finished a man down after Saber Ben Frej picked up a second caution in injury time.


Galatasaray 4 – Besiktas 2 (Super Lig, December 21, 2008) Cetin put Gala ahead on 8 minutes but Delgado equalised five minutes later. Milan Baros then converted a penalty in the 16th minute to restore the hosts lead. The Czech striker went on to net the third in the 53rd minute. Holosko did get one back for Besiktas in the 55th minute but Baros completed his hat-trick, again from the penalty spot, in the 67th.

Genclerbirligi 1 – Sivasspor 2 (Super Lig, December 21, 2008) Musa Aydin fired Sivasspor in front with a 20-yard shot the rocketed into the roof of the net. Djite levelled for the hosts on the stroke of halftime, but the visitors took all three points when Mohammed Ali Kurtulus claimed a wonderful winner with an unstoppable 25-yard effort.


Twente 2 – Willem II 0 (Eredivisie, December 21, 2008) Goals from Douglas Franco and Blaise Nkufo earned Twente their fifth successive Eredivisie victory.

PSV 1 – Feyenoord 0 (Eredivisie, December 21, 2008) Ibrahim Afellay settled the battle between two of the biggest clubs in Holland with a fine strike late on. (First half highlights here, second half highlights here.)

De Graafschap 0 – Ajax 6 (Eredivisie, December 21, 2008) Ajax went ahead in the 10th minute when Cvitanich headed in Sulejmani’s corner and Sulejmani increased the lead two minutes later turning in Eyong Enoh’s cross. Suarez converted a 53rd minute penalty before Suarez bagged his second in the 62nd minute. Urby Emanuelson made it 5-nil with a fine volley and Cvitanich completed the win with another header off Sulejmani’s cross.

FC Volendam 3 – Heracles 1 (Eredivisie, December 21, 2008)

NEC 0 – Ado Den Haag 0 (Eredivisie, December 21, 2008)

Excelsior 1 – VVV Venlo 2 (Dutch Jupiler League, December 20, 2008)


Leixoes 1 – Estrela Amadora 1 (Superliga, December 21, 2008) Leixoes took a 58th-minute lead through striker Wesley following Diogo Valente’s corner despite Amadora players arguing that the ball had not crossed the line. The visitors equalised through Celestino’s penalty.

Porto 0 – Maritimo 0 (Superliga, December 21, 2008) The champions struggled against Maritimo’s well-organized defence, which has conceded just one goal away this season and is now unbeaten in nine games.

Belenenses 3 – Trofense 2 (Superliga, December 21, 2008) Edu Sousa opened the scoring in the 22nd and Valdomiro added an injury-time goal for the visitors, only for Marcelo in the 57th and Wender 10 minutes later to level the scores. Gabriel Gomez netted the 78th-minute winner to leave Trofense as the league’s new last-place team.


Standard Liege 2 – Gent 1 (Jupiler League, December 21, 2008) Standard took the lead through Dalmat on 25 minutes and Dante doubled the advantage eight minutes after halftime. Maric got one back for Gent but Standard held on to their lead to stay top of the league.

Cercle Bruges 4 – Roeselare 3 (Jupiler League, December 20, 2008) The hosts took a 3-nil into the break after Sutter, Iachtchouk and Smet all scored. Betremieux pulled a goal back only for Iachtchouk to net his second of the match. Further goals from Ouattara and Hietanen could not help Roeselare avoid defeat.

Mons 2 – Zulte-Waregem 2 (Jupiler League, December 20, 2008) In a ding-dong battle Toubabo put the hosts ahead only for Meert to level with sixty seconds. Dahmane restored Mons’ lead in the second half but once again the visitors drew equalised. this time through Coppin.

Mouscron 5 – Club Brugge 1 (Jupiler League, December 20, 2008) Custovic scored a hat-trick for Mouscron.

Lokeren 2 – KV Mechelen 2 (Jupiler League, December 20, 2008)


OFI Crete 0 – Panathinaikos 3 (Greek Super League, December 21, 2008) Antonis Petropoulos opened the scoring with a header off Giorgos Karagounis’ cross in the 52nd and Salpingidis made it 2-0 four minutes later. Substitute Ante Rukavina scored the third goal in injury time with a header off a cross by Sotiris Ninis.

Olympiakos 2 – Thrasyvoulos 1 (Greek Super League, December 21, 2008) Olympiakos’ Sebastian Leto scored in the 20th minute, but Yiannis Chloros’ header eight minutes later levelled for Thrasivoulos. Luciano Galletti came off the bench to convert an injury time penalty for Olympiakos.

AEK Athens 3 – Ergotelis 2 (Greek Super League, December 21, 2008)


Sydney FC 1 – Perth Glory 4 (A-League, December 21, 2008) Goals to Adriano Pellegrino, Wayne Srhoj and own goals by Sydney defenders Antony Golec and Robbie Middleby helped Perth secure a comfortable victory. Stuart Musialik scored for the hosts, who were roundly booed by their own fans for their poor performance.


Jordan 0 – China 1 (International friendly, December 21, 2008)