High-five for Liverpool as they hunt down the Red Devils; Watson plunges Hull further in relegation mire with a last-gasp Wigan win; City leave the Black Cats fearing the drop

Premier League odds here: Manchester United: 4/11, Liverpool 5/2, Chelsea 14/1.

Liverpool 5 – Aston Villa 0 (Premier League, March 22, 2009) (MOTD highlights here and analysis from MOTD here.) With the title back in sight, Liverpool moved quickly to take the lead over Aston Villa after a Gerrard free-kick was headed onto the bar by Xabi Alonso with Dirk Kuyt well-placed to crash home the rebound. Steven Gerrard was guilty of missing from 3-yards out after getting on the end of a Riera cross. Villa then got a foothold in the game, spearheaded by Carew up front, only for the Reds to sucker-punch their visitors when Albert Riera smashed home a long put from Pepe Riena. The match was as good as over when Steven Gerrard added the third from the spot after Riera took a tumble in the box. The final nail in Villa’s coffin came at the start of the second half as Steven Gerrard perfectly placed a shot past Friedel following an Alonso free-kick. Brad Friedel then had his perfect disciplinary record ruined after the American saw red for clattering into Torres, and Steven Gerrard claimed his hat-trick goal from the spot.

Manchester City 1 – Sunderland 0 (Premier League, March 22, 2009) (MOTD highlights here.) City should have taken the lead at Eastlands when SWP went clean through only to put his effort wide. Sunderland were then reduced to 10-men when George McCartney was send off on the call on the linesman and it looked dire for the Black Cats when the Citizens then won a penalty, only for Fulop to save Robinho’s horror spot kick. (First half highlights here.) In the second half City finally took the lead with Micah Richards (who had an excellent match) heading home an Elano free-kick.

Wigan 1 – Hull 0 (Premier League, March 22, 2009) Wigan almost broke the deadlock with a freak effort inside two minutes, Maynor Figueroa attempted to launch a cross into the box but, with strong winds, the ball flew over Tigers’ keeper Duke before rebounding off the corner of the bar. Just as it looked like the game would end goalless, Ben Watson was on hand to expertly lob the ball over Duke to grab a last-gasp win.

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Nottingham Forest 0 – Wolves 1 (Championship, March 21, 2009) Michael Kightly grabbed the only goal of the game to send Mick McCarthy’s side five points clear at the top.

QPR 2 – Bristol City 1 (League One, March 21, 2009) Jordi Lopez struck midway through the second half, when he curled a 25-yard effort beyond goalkeeper Adriano Basso and into the top corner. Ivan Sproule crossed for Michael McIndoe to beautifully volley home a 77th-minute equaliser from the edge of the penalty area. But Rangers went on the claim the points when on-loan Tottenham forward Adel Taarabt tucked away Damien Delaney’s left-wing cross.

Crewe 2 – Leeds 3 (League One, March 21, 2009) Billy Jones was harshly sent off for Crewe early doors, and Leeds punished the hosts with goals from Neil Kilkenny, Luciano Becchio and Robert Snodgrass. Late Crewe goals from Julian Baudet and Tom Pope were too little too late.

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Dundee United 2 – Celtic 2 (SPL, March 22, 2009) Celtic were in command after Scott McDonald scored his 16th goal of the season after 24 minutes in, but United striker Francisco Sandaza scored twice at the start of the second half to turn the game on its head. It was left to the unlikely figure of Lee Naylor to save the day when he volleyed in from the edge of the box with nine minutes remaining.

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Barcelona 6 – Malaga 0 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Cool as you like, Barca played a couple of slick passes to pierce through Malaga’s backline and Xavi slotted in the opener. Lionel Messi then scored another goal for his scrapbook, ducking and diving past three defenders before firing high in the near post. More slick passing involving Messi and Xavi freed Thierry Henry in the box and the Frenchman coolly stuck in the third. And the first half demolition was complete when Samuel Eto’o scored the fourth after being played in by the superb Xavi. After the break the goals kept flowing, another wonderful move ended when Iniesta floated an inch-perfect ball to Dani Alves who looped a header over the keeper. Samuel Eto’o put the icing on the cake with a sixth.

Real Madrid 3 – Almeria 0 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Almeria fell behind at Real Madrid when Marcelo rifled home a thunderous shot midway through the first half. (First half highlights here.) Los Blancos doubled their lead early in the second half when Klaas Jan Huntelaar continued his good form in front of goal crashing home number two. Dutchmen Sneijder, Robben and then Huntelaar combined to add the third.

Mallorca 2 – Atletico Madrid 0 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Aritz Aduriz gave the La Liga strugglers the lead in the 24th minute and substitute Gonzalo Castro clinched the victory in stoppage time to extend Mallorca’s unbeaten run to seven.

Deportivo La Coruna 1 – Real Betis 1 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Slack Betis defending allowed Verdu to give Depor the lead, but Sergio Garcia rifled in the equaliser just after the half hour mark.

Osasuna 1 – Espanyol 0 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Javad Nekounam’s back post header in the 90th minute gave Osasuna the points.

Racing Santander 0 – Valencia 1 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Valencia ended a run of six games without a win courtesy of Juan Mata’s strike 12 minutes from time. Valencia had been reduced to ten men when Alexis was sent off early in the second half, but Racing could not take advantage.

Numancia 2 – Sporting Gijon 1 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) David Barral equalised for Sporting after Jose Barkero had grabbed the opener with a penalty just before halftime, but Asier Goiria scored the winner on 56 minutes as Numancia earned three points in their bid for survival.

Getafe 2 – Recreativo Huelva 0 (La Liga, March 22, 2009) Cristian Maidana broke the deadlock for Recre after 47 minutes but Roberto Soldado bagged a brace in the space of two minutes (64 and 66) to turn the match on its head.

Elche 2 – Hercules 2 (Segunda Division, March 22, 2009) A combination of horrible defending and poor goalkeeping allowed for an end-to-end 2-all draw.

Zaragoza 4 – Sevilla Atletico 0 (Segunda Division, March 21, 2009)

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Napoli 0 – AC Milan 0 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) The Sunday evening game in Italy ended goalless, Dida was by far the busier of the two keepers but David Beckham did have a free-kick saved late on.

All the goals from Sunday afternoon’s action in Serie A can be seen here.

Inter Milan 3 – Reggina 0 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Inter asserted their superiority over Reggina early doors, Esteban Cambiasso broke the visitors offside trap to nip in for a 6th minute opener and Zlatan was again on the scoresheet slotting home a 10th minute penalty after Mancini fell in the box. (First half highlights here.) Just before the hour mark Ibrahimovic scored a magical second, waltzing past three defenders before stopping to chip the stranded keeper from the edge of the box.

Chievo 1 – Palermo 0 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) Chievo took the lead over Palermo on the stroke of halftime through Luciano’s back post effort.

Torino 1 – Sampdoria 3 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) Giampaolo Pazzini’s turn and shot gave Samp the lead at Torino, which Paolo Sammarco extended when he found the bottom corner. Rolando Bianchi pulled the hosts back into the game with a cute finish from close range. Antonio Cassano added a killer third in the second half.

Fiorentina 1 – Siena 0 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) As how so often has been the case this season Adrian Mutu was the match-winner for the Viola with a clinical finish in the box, although the Romanian looked a yard offside.

Genoa 2 – Udinese 0 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) A well-taken header from Giuseppe Sculli and an injury time second from Diego Milito kept Genoa’s European aspirations on course.

Bologna 0 – Cagliari 1 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) Bologna continue to struggle in 17th spot after Robert Acquafresca scored the solitary goal to earn Cagliari the three point haul.

Lecce 2 – Atalanta 2 (Serie A, March 22, 2009) Lecce move level on points with Torino thanks to Fabio Caserta’s 90th minute penalty to add to his earlier goal for the home side. Simone Padoin netted twice for the visitors at Stadio Via del Mare.

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Schalke 1 – Hamburg 2 (Bundesliga, March 22, 2009) Paolo Guerrero scored in the 71st minute and grabbed his second four minutes later with a close-range effort from a low cross by Marcell Jansen. Jefferson Farfan pulled one back in the 80th for the hosts.

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Lyon 2 – Sochaux 0 (Ligue 1, March 22, 2009) Lyon regained top-spot thanks to goals from Ederson and Anthony Mounier to halt their worst losing streak since 1991 after four consecutive defeats in all competitions.

Toulouse 4 – PSG 1 (Ligue 1, March 22, 2009) Bryan Bergougnoux, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Moussa Sissoko and Daniel Braathen hit the goals for the home side, Larrys Mabiala notching PSG’s only goal.

Lorient 3 – St. Etienne 1 (Ligue 1, March 22, 2009) Goals from Morgan Amalfitano and Marama Vahirua in the 12th and 13th minutes set them on their way. Yohan Benalouane pulled a goal back for ASSE before the break, but Rafik Saifi sowed up the win in injury-time to give Lorient thier first win in 2009.

Nice 2 – Caen 2 (Ligue 1, March 21, 2009) Mahamane Traore fired the hosts into a 6th minute lead before Vincent Hognon’s own goal and Nicolas Seube’s beauty put the visitors ahead. Nice earned a late point through Olivier Echouafni’s header.

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NAC 0 – Ajax 3 (Eredivisie, March 22, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Thomas Vermaelen headed home Eyong Enoh’s cross in the 35th to put Ajax ahead, Gregory van der Wiel doubled in the 64th minute before Luis Suarez made it 3-nil four minutes from time.

AZ Alkmaar 0 – Feyenoord 0 (Eredivisie, March 22, 2009) Louis van Gaal’s runaway league leaders were frustrated by Leon Vlemmings’ rejuvenated Feyenoord outfit.

FC Twente 2 – Groningen 1 (Eredivisie, March 22, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Goals in each half from Eljero Elia and Peter Wisgerhof saw Steve McClaren’s second-placed side close the gap on AZ Alkmaar to nine points. Marcus Berg pulled back a late consolation for Groningen, who had to play most of the game with 10 men after Swedish centre-back Andreas Granqvist was sent off after just 12 minutes for a deliberate handball.

Roda 2 – ADO Den Haag 0 (Eredivisie, March 22, 2009) The sides played out an exciting first half (highlights here) with both sides having numerous chances but neither able to break the deadlock. In the 67th minute Roda struck, Andres Oper finding the bottom corner after the visitors failed to clear their lines. And the game was pout to bed by Sekou Cisse with the second 13 minutes from time.

Volendam 0 – Utrecht 0 (Eredivisie, March 22, 2009) Volendam remain rooted to the foot of the table following a goalless stalemate at home to Utrecht.

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Galatasaray 0 – Eskisehirspor 1 (Super Lig, March 22, 2009) The visitors had Safat Nadarevic sent off after 54 minutes, but the 10 men conjured up a winner 15 minutes later through Souleymane Youla.

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Zenit St. Petersburg 2 – Saturn 1 (Russian Premier League, March 22, 2009) Zenit gained the early lead over Saturn through Ivica Krizanac’s overhead volley after just nine minutes but the lead was not to last long, Marko Topic coolly slotting home at the back post to bring the visitors level. In the second half Zenit regained the lead through Fatih Tekke and they held out for the three points.

Rostov 1 – Lokomotiv Moscow 1 (Russian Premier League, March 22, 2009) Petrovic’s opener for Rostov was cancelled out by Glushakov’s 90th minute leveller.

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Charleroi 1 – Standard Liege 0 (Jupiler League, March 22, 2009) Majid Oulmers scored the only goal of the game four minutes before halftime to leave Standard two points adrift of leaders Anderlecht.

Anderlecht 2 – Germinal Beerschot 0 (Jupiler League, March 21, 2009) Marcin Wasilewski gave the hosts the lead in the 63rd minute before Matias Suarez sealed the victory in the dying seconds.

Westerlo 3 – Dender 1 (Jupiler League, March 21, 2009) Ruiz got the hosts off to the perfect start with a goal in the fourth minute before Admir Aganovic levelled shortly after the half-hour mark with a fabulopus overhead-volley. Ruiz grabbed his second of the game two minutes after the break and Wouter Cortjens added a third in the 67th minute.

Mons 0 – Lokeren 2 (Jupiler League, March 21, 2009) Mons had Ivica Dzidic sent off four minutes into the second half and Yoav Ziv broke the deadlock nine minutes later before Dawid Janczyk doubled the visitors’ lead in the 79th minute.

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Porto 2 – Amadora 0 (Taca de Portugal, March 22, 2009) Lucho Gonzales scored the opening goal from the penalty spot in the 34th minute before Raul Meireles wrapped up the win with the second.

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Panionios 2 – Olympiakos 3 (Greek Super League, March 22, 2009) Matt Derbyshire headed Olympiakos ahead after 22 minutes, but the home side rallied, and turned the game around through Lourenco da Silva and Anderson Gonzaga. Olympiakos were not to be denied though, Predrag Djordjevic equalising with a deflected long-range effort before Dudu grabbed the winner 18 minutes from time. With Pana just drawing, Olympiakos were crowned Greek champions once more.

Asteras Tripolis 1 – Panathinaikos 1 (Greek Super League, March 22, 2009) Salpingidis’ opener for Pana was wiped out by Kaounos.

PAOK 2 – Thrasivoulos 1 (Greek Super League, March 22, 2009) After falling behind to a goal from Martorell, a Liapakisog and Bakayoko’s 90th minute winner gave PAOK the points.

AEK Athens 3 – Levadiakos 1 (Greek Super League, March 22, 2009) Djebbour, Blanco and Edinho did the damage for AEK.

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Wisla Krakow 4 – Cracovia Krakow 1 (Ekstraklasa, March 21, 2009) A wonderful 25-yard lob from Pawel Sasin gave Cracovia the lead. Wisla turned the match around in the second half, Sobolewski, Marcelo, Malecki and Cwielong earning Wisla the three points.

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Young Boys 4 – FC Zurich 2 (Swiss Super League, March 22, 2009)

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Shakhtar Donetsk 1 – Vorskla Poltava 0 (Vyscha Liga, March 22, 2009) A trademark free-kick from Dario Srna gave Shakhtar the points.

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Hajduk Split 2 – NK Zagreb 0 (1. HNL, March 22, 2009)

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LA Galaxy 2 – DC United 2 (MLS, March 22, 2009) With the visitors marching into a two-goal lead courtesy of a Gomez penalty and a second from Pontius, it was left to Landon Donovan to score twice inside the last ten minutes to earn Bruce Arena’s side an opening day point.

Houston Dynamo 1 – Columbus Crew 1 (MLS, March 21, 2009) Houston forward Brian Ching broke the deadlock early in the second half with a ripper from outside the area, only for Guillermo Schelotto to earn the defending champions an 81st minute equaliser.

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Tigre 0 – Boca Juniors 0 (Clausura, March 22, 2009) Reigning champions Boca played out a goalless draw in their visit to last year’s Apertura runners-up Tigre.

River Plate 2 – San Martin 1 (Clausura, March 22, 2009) San Martin went ahead in the first minute thanks to an own goal by Facundo Quiroga following a Jorge Anchen free-kick but Gustavo Cabral equalised 15 minutes after the interval. River went on the steal all three points thanks to an injury time penalty from Radamel Falcao Garcia.

Huracan 3 – Lanus 0 (Clausura, March 22, 2009) Gaston Esmerado opened the scoring early in the seventh minute before Javier Pastore added a brace in the second half.

Colon 3 – San Lorenzo 0 (Clausura, March 22, 2009) Esteban Fuertes grabbed a brace as Colon hammered 8-man San Lorenzo in Santa Fe.

Estudiantes 0 – Racing Club 0 (Clausura, March 22, 2009)

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All the goals from round one of the Chinese Super League can be seen here.


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