Sunday's Serie A round-up

Juventus moved within touching distance of a sixth successive Scudetto after Napoli dropped points, while Palermo edged closer to relegation.

Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus drew nearer to another successful title defence after cruising to a 4-0 victory over Genoa at the Juventus Stadium.

The game was effectively over as a contest at half-time, after an own-goal from Ezequiel Munoz on 17 minutes gave Juve the lead before Paulo Dybala quickly made it 2-0 a minute later and Mario Mandzukic added a third on 41 minutes.

Leonardo Bonucci wrapped up the win on 64 minutes, which took the Bianconeri 11 points clear of second-placed Roma, who face rock-bottom Pescara on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Napoli saw their fading title hopes slip further away following a 2-2 draw with Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Dries Mertens broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute, but the visitors were pegged back seven minutes later by Domenico Berardi's equaliser.

Luca Mazzitelli then put the hosts ahead with 10 minutes remaining, although they failed to hold on as Arkadiusz Milik (84') rescued a late point for the Azzurri, who missed out on the chance to leapfrog the Giallorossi into second spot.

Elsewhere, Lazio moved back into fourth position as they hammered sorry Palermo 6-2 at Stadio Olimpico, where Keita Balde bagged a six-minute hat-trick.

A quick-fire brace from Ciro Immobile (8', 9') put the hosts in command early on, before Balde (21', 24' pen, 26') stole the show midway through the first half.

Andrea Rispoli (46', 52') got on the scoresheet twice for the visitors early in the second half as they briefly put up a fight, but Luca Crecco (90') sealed the comprehensive victory at the death.

Meanwhile, AC Milan dented their European hopes after going down 2-1 to Empoli at the San Siro, where Levan Mchedlidze (40') and Mame Thiam (67') secured the win for the visitors.

Gianluca Lapadula (72') pulled one back for the Rossoneri, but it wasn't enough as they failed to keep pace with fifth-placed Atalanta, who opened up a five-point gap to them.

Crotone kept their survival bid alive as they came from a goal down to beat Sampdoria 2-1 at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Patrik Schick's 20th-minute opener gave La Samp a 1-0 lead at the break, but the visitors hit back in the second half as Diego Falcinelli (67') restored parity before Simy completed the comeback win 10 minutes from time.

The Squali remain 18th in the standings, although the victory took them within five points of safety, with Sampdoria sitting mid-table after going three games without a win.

Torino maintained their good run-in to the season as they ran out 3-1 victors over Chievo at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

There were no goals in the first half, although that quickly changed after the restart when Adem Ljajic opened the scoring in the 52nd minute before Davide Zappacosta doubled the visitors' lead four minutes later.

Sergio Pellissier reduced the deficit on 65 minutes, but Iago Falque sealed the win 15 minutes from time, which extended ninth-placed Toro's unbeaten run in the league to five matches.

Udinese got back on the winning trail after beating Cagliari 2-1 at Stadio Friuli, with two goals in quick succession from Stipe Perica (70') and Gabriele Angella (72') secured maximum points for the hosts.

Marco Borriello (86') bagged a late consolation for the Rossoblu, who had the chance to climb above the 11th-placed Zebrette, but remain in 13th position instead. 

Sunday's results:

Sassuolo 2-2 Napoli

Udinese 2-1 Cagliari

Sampdoria 1-2 Crotone

AC Milan 1-2 Empoli

Lazio 6-2 Palermo

Chievo 1-3 Torino

Juventus 4-0 Genoa

Messi keeps La Liga title fight alive

Lionel Messi blew the title race wide open with a brace as Barcelona beat 10-man Real Madrid 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday to reclaim top spot.

  • Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 3
  • Casemiro gives Real the lead
  • Messi equalises soon afterwards
  • Rakitic fires Barca in front
  • Ramos shown straight red card
  • Rodriguez restores parity late on
  • Messi wins El Clasico with 500th goal

Match Summary

It was a pulsating encounter from start to finish, with Los Blancos taking the lead through Casemiro on 28 minutes, only for Messi to equalise five minutes later.

Ivan Rakitic put Luis Enrique's side ahead in the 73rd minute with a sweet strike and Sergio Ramos saw red four minutes later for a poor challenge on Messi.

James Rodriguez stepped off the bench to pull Real level with five minutes remaining, but Messi popped up at the death to score his 500th goal for Barca.

Full Report

The hosts made a strong start and they wanted a penalty in the opening minute when Ronaldo was caught on the shin by Samuel Umtiti, but the referee waved the appeals away.

Ronaldo then tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen five minutes later as he received a pass from Karim Benzema on the right and cut inside before hitting a low shot at the keeper from 20 yards out.

Barca had been starved of possession in the opening 10 minutes, but they carved out their first opportunity in the 11th minute when Jordi Alba found Luis Suarez just outside the box and the Uruguayan flashed a shot wide of the left post from 20 yards out.

Both teams had a chance to break the deadlock on 18 minutes, as Benzema fired tamely at Ter Stegen from inside the area after being played in on the right by Luka Modric, before Suarez sliced a shot well wide of the right post moments later from Paco Alcacer's lay-off.

Los Blancos went on to enjoy a good spell of pressure around the midway point of the first half, with Ronaldo cutting inside from the left flank and forcing a sharp save out of Ter Stegen with a shot from inside the area on the left in the 20th minute.

Two minutes later Gareth Bale attempted to take Toni Kroos' long ball out of the air after breaking through on goal, but the Welshman failed to make proper contact and Ter Stegen cleaned up, while Ronaldo curled an effort well wide on 24 minutes after being picked out by Marcello just ouside the box.

Real drew first blood four minutes later as Marcello clipped a cross to the back post, where Sergio Ramos fired against the upright and rebounded to Casemiro, who slotted home in off the left post.

But the Blaugrana responded swiftly as Messi collected the ball from Ivan Rakitic ouside the area and ghosted past Daniel Carvajal before tucking his shot past Keylor Navas inside the right post on 33 minutes.

Ter Stegen pulled off a super save to his left to deny Modric from 25 yards out three minutes later, while Alba scuffed a volley wide at the back post from Suarez's cross on the right on 43 minutes.

Barca should have taken the lead in stoppage time, but Messi somehow missed the target at the back post after Navas failed to deal with a corner from the left.

Ter Stegen was called into action just three minutes into the second half as he tipped Kroos' first-time shot from 19 yards out around the post, before being tested again on 53 minutes by Benzema's header from Marcelo's cross.

Carvajal went close moments later as he steered a cross narrowly wide of the right post from close range, while Alcacer drew a save out of Navas soon afterwards having latched onto a pass from Rakitic inside the box.

After Messi fired a free-kick over, Gerard Pique forced Navas into a save with a header from Rakitic's cross on 59 minutes, as the action swept from end to end.

Ronaldo then had two chances in the space of a minute as he connected with Marco Asensio's cross to fire wide of the left post, before the Portuguese forward blasted over from inside the box following a counter-attack.

Navas kept out Suarez and Messi in quick succession, while at the other end Marco Asensio almost beat Ter Stegen at his near post on 72 minutes, the keeper just getting down to block the strike from a tight angle on the right.

But there was nothing Navas could do to prevent the Catalans from going in front a minute later as Rakitic picked up a loose ball outside the area and cut onto his left foot before curling a shot into the left corner of the net.

Real looked to respond, with Ronaldo shooting straight at Ter Stegen after being teed up by Benzema just outside the box on 75 minutes, but Ramos' red card two minutes later - for a two-footed challenge on Messi - handed Barca an even bigger advantage.

Pique nearly made them pay on 80 minutes as he forced Navas into a smart save from close range after being picked out by Andre Gomes, while the Real keeper was at his best to parry Messi's low strike away from danger three minutes later.

A final roll of the dice from Zinedine Zidane saw him bring on Rodriquez, who quickly got into the action with a deflected shot that was held by Ter Stegen, and the move paid off within two minutes as the Colombian steered Marcello's cross home from six yards out at the near post.

Los Blancos pushed for a winner and Asensio forced Ter Stegen kept into another fine save at his near post in the 89th minute. It proved crucial as Barca finally took advantage of the extra man in stoppage time to score a dramatic winner.

Gomes played in Alba on the left and the defender cut the ball back for Messi to steer a shot into the bottom-left corner from 14 yards out.

Sunday's other results:

Real Sociedad 1-0 Deportivo La Coruna

Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Betis

Las Palmas 1-1 Alaves

Guardiola: We'll improve next season

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists his team put in a good performance despite going down 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero had given City the lead on the hour mark but Nacho Monreal equalised for the Gunners to send the game into extra-time.

Alexis Sanchez then popped up in the first period of extra-time to score the winner to send the London club into next month's FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The loss on Sunday means Guardiola will for the first time in his managerial career end a full season without a trophy but the Spanish mentor says his side will be better next season.

Guardiola said: "Due to what I've done in my past, the pressure will be on me until the last day of my managerial career. We put in a good performance. We'll improve next season.

"We had a good cup run with away games against Premier League teams. We have some problems to score but we played like we want.

"Today we are sad, but tomorrow we stand up and finish the games we have in the Premier League."

Klopp: We were not at our best

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his team were not at their best as they slumped to a damaging 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds took the lead in the 24th minute thanks to a stunning free-kick from Philippe Coutinho but ex-Liverpool striker Christian Benteke came back to haunt his former employers, netting twice as Palace boosted their chances of avoiding relegation.

For Klopp though the loss was a significant blow to his side's hopes of finishing in the top four in the league and qualifying for the next season's Champions League.

Klopp said after the game: "Crystal Palace are a good side but we dominated the game, that was clear. We had very good moments. It is not easy to create chance and chance and chance.

"Today it was a defeat and makes sense for me to say a few words. We were not at our best.

"We tried everything - changing systems - but it didn't work that well because we had a bit of nerves.There are games to play and we will be ready."

"It feels harsh and frustrating. We have to strike back. If we want to go to the Champions League, we have to win our next games."

Wenger hails 'animal' Sanchez

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed Alexis Sanchez after the forward scored the winning goal in extra-time in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday.

The Gunners had to reach the final - where they will face Chelsea next month - the hard way as they fell behind to a Sergio Aguero strike on the hour mark.

Nacho Monreal equalised for the London club that took the game into extra-time before Sanchez capped an energetic display with the winner.

Sanchez has been strongly linked with a move away from Arsenal with his contract expiring at the end of next season but Wenger insists his match winner is going nowhere.

Wenger said: "Alexis Sanchez was like the team. He had problems to start and became stronger and stronger. He is an animal, always ready to kill the opponent. He will never give up.

"He will be here next year because he has a contract and hopefully we will manage to extend him."

The French mentor added: "When at Arsenal football club we want the team to turn up in big games and I think we done that today.

"Overall I am very pleased. People questioned us, we went through tough times. In these times you can be divided or united and today we have shown the right response."

Benteke double downs Reds

Christian Benteke came back to haunt his former club with a match-winning brace as Crystal Palace beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

  • Liverpool 1 Crystal Palace 2
  • Coutinho free-kick opens the scoring
  • Benteke equalises before half-time
  • Former Reds striker heads home winner
  • Palace win at Anfield for third year running

Match Summary

The Reds' woes against the lower-ranked teams continued as they squandered the lead, having broken the deadlock with a superb free-kick from Philippe Coutinho midway through the first half.

Benteke levelled matters three minutes before the break and was presented with an easy header to complete the comeback win on 74 minutes, handing Sam Allardyce his first taste of success at Anfield in 12 league visits.

Full Report

Palace did well to contain the hosts in the opening quarter of the match, and former Red Benteke had a great chance to open the scoring against his former club on 21 minutes.

The striker showed good footwork to go past Lucas before advancing on goal and curling the ball beyond Simon Mignolet and the right post.

But Allardyce's men gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position three minutes later and were made to pay. Coutinho conjured up a special goal as he whipped the ball over the wall and beat Wayne Hennessey at his near post from 25 yards out.

The Reds continued to probe but they found Palace well organised in defence, although James Milner penetrated the back-four in the 39th minute with a reverse pass on the left to release Georginio Wijnaldum, who cut the ball back for Emre Can, only for the German to horribly miscue his side-footed effort from 12 yards out.

However, the visitors hit back just before half-time as Joel Ward played in Yohan Cabaye on the right with a long ball and the Frenchman's quality cross was tapped home at the back post by Benteke to equalise in front of the Kop.

The Belgium international threatened again in stoppage time, chesting down an inswinging cross from Jason Puncheon on the right, but his volley lacked the power to beat Mignolet.

Liverpool made a good start to the second half and Coutinho should have done better on 50 minutes when he displayed quick feet to out-fox James Tomkins with a sharp turn before firing over from just outside the area.

The Brazilian went close again moments later as he was allowed to get into the box and rode one challenge before seeing his shot blocked by Tomkins.

Lucas then blazed over from 17 yards out after a corner was only half-cleared into his path, while compatriot Coutinho had a deflected header from Nathaniel Clyne's cross comfortably saved by Wayne Hennessey on 56 minutes.

The home fans became restless as their team struggled to turn possession into chances, although Roberto Firmino had them out of their seats on 65 minutes with a driven effort that flew wide of the left post, after Wijnaldum had played him in on the right.

The Eagles weren't just sitting back, though, and Cabaye fashioned a good opportunity for himself on 71 minutes with a swivel and turn to shoot over from eight yards out, after the ball had pinged around inside the box.

They would go in front three minutes later following a mistake from Firmino, who failed to deal with Puncheon's corner at the near post which saw Benteke head home from six yards out.

The Merseysiders went in search of an equaliser in the final 16 minutes, but Palace held firm at the back to pick up a third successive win at Anfield.

Mourinho praises Red Devils for top win at Burnley

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho praised his team after their victory over Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday, saying Turf Moor is a difficult place to play.

Anthony Martial and captain Wayne Rooney were on target in the first-half as the Red Devils ran out comfortable 2-0 winners to stay in contention for a top four place in the league standings.

The Clarets have built something of a fortress at Turf Moor this season, having already won 10 matches at home in the league this season and Mourinho was quick to laud his players for they way they stuck to their task.

Mourinho told MUTV after the game: "Individual performances, top. Collective performance, top. Total control of the game.

"Very difficult place to play and I think, since the beginning of the game, we had a feeling that we were going to win the game.

"Even in the second half, [it was] closer to 3-0 than 2-1. Very good really."

Sanchez fires Arsenal into FA Cup final

Arsenal claimed their place in the final of the FA Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 extra-time win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

  • Arsenal 2 Manchester City 1
  • Aguero scores on 62 minutes
  • Monreal equalises on 71 minutes
  • Sanchez wins the tie with 101 minutes played

Match summary

In an enthralling, end-to-end encounter, it was Sergio Aguero who broke the deadlock with a fine finish on 62 minutes.

Nacho Monreal responded when he tapped home on the volley, and after the game went into extra-time, Arsenal goal-machine Alexis Sanchez popped up with a vital strike with 100 minutes played.

Full report

City were the first to threaten with Kevin De Bruyne trying his luck early on with a shot from wide right that he failed to place on target.

Laurent Koscielny then had to be quick to nick the ball off the toe of Aguero just as he was about to shoot, having expertly been played in by David Silva.

Claudio Bravo made a simple save from an Olivier Giroud header as he connected to an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross before Petr Cech had to tip over a looping Silva header at the other end.

Koscielny was offside as he poked home on 22 minutes ahead  of an enforced City substitution as Raheem Sterling replaced Silva, who picked up a hamstring injury following a rough challenge from Gabriel Paulista.

Aguero had a decent shout for a penalty waved away after being tripped in the box by Oxlade-Chamberlain, before stepping past Monreal and smashing a 38th minute shot into the side-netting.

City, though should have been a goal up when Sterling fired in from close range. De Bruyne's cross from the left was missed by Cech, and fell to Aguero at the back post who saw his shot rebound out of the goal by Monreal before the substitute hit the back of the net.

The officials ruled that De Bruyne's cross had crossed the line, but replays show the ball stayed in play.

And with the half winding down, Sanchez was pulled over by Jesus Navas, but referee Craig Pawson saw nothing wrong with the off-the-ball challenge.

The second half started with as much energy as the first had ended, with Nicolas Otamendi heading wide early on 

Bravo then had to react quickly, on 53 minutes, under pressure from Giroud, to make a hasty clearance.

The match became increasingly open with both sides creating a number of half chances, before Aguero broke the deadlock on 62 minutes.

Fernandinho conceded possession to Yaya Toure, who played a superbly-weighted pass to the Argentine, who raced forward, with Monreal in pursuit, before dinking the ball over the outstretched leg of the onrushing Cech.

Mesut Ozil fired just wide of the target as Arsenal looked for an immediate response, and respond they did as Monreal found a 71st minutes leveller.

The Spaniard latched onto a good cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain from the right, and tapped home on the volley.

With their tails up, the Gunners went in search of a second, but so nearly conceded, with 78 minutes played, as a blocked Sterling shot came back to Toure, who saw his effort tipped onto a post by Cech.

Fernandinho then smashed an 81st minute header onto the Arsenal crossbar from a De Bruyne corner - after Gabriel had denied Leroy Sane from squaring the ball for an easy finish.

Danny Welbeck replaced Giroud and almost had an immediate impact as he beat Otamendi before curling a good shot just wide.

Arsenal kept up their attacking impetus going into the first half of extra-time, and Sanchez may well have scored had Fernandinho not cleared a Welbeck cross - before Rob Holding headed over the resultant Ozil corner.

But Sachez netted the goal Arsenal were searching for, as he poked home from close range after an Ozil free-kick wasn't cleared by the City defence.

Holding cleared ahead of Sane before Welbeck headed wide ahead of the second-half of extra time, where City had a chance to level the scores in the 109th minute. But after being fed by De Bruyne, late substitute Fabian Delph saw his shot deflected wide by Hector Bellerin.

De Bruyne was next to miss the target as the referee waved away penalty appeals from Bellerin, ahead of a skewed effort from Toure.

City continued to press but were ultimately unable to break down the Gunners' defence a second time, who after a long day of football, secured their place in the FA Cup final, against Chelsea on May 27.

Leopards wants Gor Mahia punished for 'player tapping'

Kenyan club AFC Leopards are keen to see Gor Mahia punished over their role in tapping up youngster Vincent Oburu.

According to Goal, Oburu was signed by Leopards, before it emerged that Gor Mahia also had a deal in place to sign the player, forcing Football Kenya Federation to intervene, leaving the youngster in limbo.

Oburu has been left out in the cold, and will only be able to officially join Leopards in June.

"It is clear that Gor Mahia went against the rules by tapping the," said Leopards CEO Ronald Namai. 

"We are therefore going to insist that the federation imposes a very stiff penalty on the club including banning them player transfers for two seasons as has been done elsewhere," said Namai.

"Further, we expect such behaviour to be penalised under the club licensing regulations. This behavior can only be equated to hooliganism which has to be clamped down heavily," he said.

"We are happy with the conclusion of this matter and look forward to concentrating on delivering results on the pitch," Namai was quoted by his club's website.

Muller targets Dortmund scalp

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller says his side are ready to play through any fatigue to secure a place in the DFB Pokal final, ahead of Wednesday's clash.

Bayern take on domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund on the back of a string of poor results, having been knocked out of the Champions League and succumbing to a 2-2 draw with Mainz in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Muller, who captained the side during the disappointing draw, bemoaned the performance that has now let second-placed RB Leipzig back into the title race with four games remaining.

"Tuesday's game was still in our minds, although we should have been able to forget about it, we are professionals after all," he told reporters. "However, we are also just humans. It's difficult mentally to digest such a disappointment.

"We have to look ahead; on Wednesday we have a very important game. Getting to the final in Berlin is our big goal apart from winning the league title. We have our sights set on that.

"We are playing against Dortmund at home in a Cup semi-final – you have to squeeze out everything you have left in the tank. We are looking forward to the game, it's a real highlight," the Germany international added.

"It's not easy to stand here right now but I think we will manage to keep our heads raised. Our manager is the right man to build up our confidence again. We can definitely look to follow up on our second half performance against Mainz."