Moyes: Baines will not be sold to Liverpool

Everton boss David Moyes has rejected claims that Leighton Baines will be sold to Liverpool next summer.

The England international has been linked with Liverpool, Bayern and Manchester City, but Moyes is eager to keep hold of his prized asset.

“I can’t see it. It’s not for me that one and I think Liverpool know that as well,” Moyes told Liverpool Echo.

“Nobody will leave the club unless I give it the go-ahead and that won’t change.

“We have signed Leighton on a five-year deal. I don’t want to sell him and Everton don’t sell cheap.

“The chairman looks after the players and gives them what he can. So Leighton’s not for sale – and they know that as well.”

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Thiago Silva rejects transfer talk

Milan defender Thiago Silva has admitted that he wouldn’t mind spending the remainder of his career at San Siro.

The Brazilian defender reveals he is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment.

“It’s true that I now play in a relaxed manner even without Alessandro Nesta by my side, as I have more confidence in my abilities than last season,” Silva told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Nesta is unique and often talks to me on the pitch. I still remember my first friendly against Varese, as he didn’t stop giving me advice and instructions for a moment.

“I even got annoyed that time and told him he was giving me a headache, but I’m used to it now!”

The 26-year-old defender has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but he says he would like to remain at Milan for years to come.

“I like the idea of becoming a symbol of the club. I’d be happy just winning half of what Maldini won in his career, so I’d love to follow his footsteps.

“I did start out as a midfielder, but now I only play there when the team needs me to. It’s fun going forward every now and then to have a shot on goal.”

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Premier League: West Brom 2 Aston Villa 1

Youssouf Mulumbu was the hero with a late goal as West Brom ended their 26-year wait for victory over Aston Villa with a 2-1 win.

With manager Gerard Houllier recuperating at home, Villa got off to a perfect start after a comical own goal from West Brom defender Abdoulaye Meite.

But they failed to build on that early momentum and were swept aside after the break as Peter Odemwingie and Mulumbu struck, even after Paul Scharner was sent off for picking up two yellow cards.

West Brom had not tasted victory over their neighbours since 1985 and were behind within four minutes as Stewart Downing’s centre was sliced past the helpless Scott Carson by Meite’s poor attempt at a clearance.

Under Roy Hodgson though, West Brom refuse to lie down and die as Mulumbu forced Brad Friedel in to a full-stretch dive to tip a long-distance drive around the post.

Both teams wasted ideal openings to add to the score line in the 23rd minute as Ashley Young and Carlos Vela both blazing over when clean through on goal.

Having played second fiddle despite Meite’s early error, Villa picked up the pace with Darren Bent flagged offside as he turned to fire in seven minutes before the interval.

With the hosts throwing as many players forward as possible, Vela and Odemwingie failed to win half-hearted penalty appeals straight after the re-start.

Parity was restored on the hour with Odemwingie ending a goal-mouth melee by hooking his 14th goal of the season in to the roof of the net after Scharner’s close-range shot had been blocked at close range.

But within two minutes, the home fans joy was dampened when Scharner was dismissed.

The industrious Austrian had walked a disciplinary tight rope since scything down Nigel Reo-Coker in the eighth minute of the match and another late challenge on Stiliyan Petrov resulted in his second caution of the game.

But unabated, Albion poured forward with Mulumbu on the end of a swift 84th minute move to clinch a well earned West Midlands derby win for West Brom.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Premier League: Wigan 1 Everton 1

A late penalty from Leighton Baines rescued a point for Everton and denied his old club Wigan a crucial victory in the Premier League.

Wigan had led through Charles N’Zogbia’s first-half strike, but after Mikel Arteta had been denied from the spot by Ali Al Habsi, Baines showed him the way in the second half to ensure parity.

With just four games left, Wigan knew they had to make the most of home advantage over the Toffees – who have enjoyed a good record in this fixture down the years.

The home side got off to a great start when they took the lead after only 21 minutes.

James McCarthy was the architect, with a lovely dink forward over the head of two defenders into the path of N’Zogbia.

The Frenchman’s initial control was poor, but he kept hold of the ball inside the penalty area and curled a cracking left-foot strike into the top corner.

Everton had the chance to hit back 10 minutes before the interval, when Leon Osman was fouled inside the penalty area by N’Zogbia for an obvious penalty.

Arteta, back in the side after injury, put his hand up for the job, but his effort was magnificently saved by Ali Al Habsi, diving to his left.

Wigan suffered a setback just before the break when Momo Diame limped off to be replaced by James McArthur, but they came close to a second goal when N’Zogbia’s shot was well stopped by Tim Howard.

The American kept his side in it with two more superb saves to deny substitute Victor Moses, on for N’Zogbia, shortly after the break.

Everton took full advantage with an equaliser just 13 minutes from time, when Hugo Rodallega was penalised for handball inside his own area. With Arteta off the field, Baines smashed home past Al Habsi.

Rodallega had a late chance to win it for Wigan, but his left-foot strike was high and wide – which pretty much summed up his afternoon.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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SPL wrap: High five for Rangers, Hearts held

Rangers opened up a four-point gap in the race for the Scottish Premier League title with a 5-0 demolition of Motherwell on Saturday.

Kyle Lafferty nabbed the opener, Steven Davis and Nikica Jelavic doubled and tripled Rangers’ lead and Steven Naismith added a late brace in the rout.

It is the fourth time this season that Well have lost to Rangers by four or more goals, and their 30th straight winless result against the Gers.

Lafferty put the reigning champions ahead in the 18th minute, despite Steven Hammell’s attempt to clear from the line with goalkeeper Darren Randolph beaten.

It was a margin that would stand until the 51st minute, when Davis pounced on a rebound of Naismith’s blocked shot and picked out the far corner.

Jelavic, having already struck the bar and had an effort ruled out for offside, finally got on the scoresheet with a header to Sasa Papac’s cross in the 65th minute.

Eleven minutes later Naismith had his first, blasting a strike beyond Randolph from 22 yards out, and the Scotland international added a second in injury time with a fine shot from an acute angle.

Bitter rivals Celtic can close in on Rangers’ advantage when they host Dundee United on Sunday.

Elsewhere on Saturday, St Johnstone came from a goal down to edge Hibernian 2-1 on Kevin Moon’s last-gasp winner.

Akpo Sodje fired Hibs into the lead after 23 minutes, but Liam Craig levelled for the visitors 50 minutes later with a header from Danny Grainger’s corner.

Craig then turned provider in stoppage time, sliding back his pass for Moon to fire in the late winner.

Aberdeen ended an eight-game winless run with a 1-0 defeat of Inverness thanks to Peter Pawlett’s 75th-minute goal, and Hearts clung on for a 2-2 draw at Kilmarnock.

James Fowler’s deflected shot edged Kilmarnock ahead 10 minutes after the restart, but Rudolf Skacel’s 67th-minute strike and Manuel Pascali’s own goal nine minutes later handed Hearts the advantage.

Kieran Agard rescued a point for his side with an 86th-minute equaliser.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Premier League: Blackburn 1 Bolton 0

Martin Olsson’s super strike secured a crucial three points for Blackburn Rovers in a tense Lancashire derby against Bolton at Ewood Park.

The winger’s first-half strike was enough to separate the sides and move Rovers three points above the drop zone with a significantly better goal difference than the other teams near the bottom.

The 22-year-old was inspirational throughout, leading Blackburn to a deserved win in what was a must-win game with trips to the relegation rivals West Ham and Wolves and a home clash with Manchester United still to come.

But Blackburn’s first win since January came against an experimental line-up fielded by Bolton boss Owen Coyle, who made four changes to his side – the most noticeable being Adam Bogdan in favour of long-standing goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

In a scrappy opening 15 minutes, Rodrigo Moreno struck a fierce half-volley off a knock down from Kevin Davies, which narrowly slipped wide of the near post with goalkeeper Blackburn Paul Robinson rooted to the spot.

Olsson then went close twice, Bogdan getting a touch to his first shot but missing the follow-up, which Bolton defender Paul Robinson headed off the line.

Moreno had another go at a half-volley, but his effort crashed against the post and away to safety.

Moments later, Olsson struck the crucial goal for Blackburn in the 20th minute with a sweetly-struck low drive from 20 yards.

They continued to dominate for the rest of the first half and went into the second chasing a second goal.

Benjani had a good chance after being picked out by a great ball from Brett Emerton but, with his back to goal, he could not quite turn to shoot.

Olsson made another storming run towards goal, but Bogdan was able to save well at his feet.

The hosts were dealt a blow when defender Michel Salgado was stretchered off in agony after a clash with Ivan Klasnic, but manager Steve Kean remained positive and replaced him with striker Mame Biram Diouf to prove his determination to increase the lead.

And the substitute had a golden opportunity almost immediately when he latched onto a great ball from Morten Gamst Pederson but his shot went well over.

Bolton finally found their feet late on and Gary Cahill was well blocked by Jermaine Jones and Martin Petrov hit a ferocious effort into the side netting.

And in the dying moments, Olsson lost the ball to Davies who played in Klasnic, but the substitute’s half-volley from the edge of the box was agonisingly off-target.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Championship wrap: QPR gain promotion, Leeds´ hopes still alive

Queens Park Rangers provisionally secured the Championship title with a 2-0 win away at Watford on Saturday.

Goals from captain Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith at Vicarage Road secured a win that sends QPR eight points clear of second-placed Norwich.

Neil Warnock’s team will collect the league championship and gain automatic promotion to the English Premier League, pending the outcome of next week’s FA hearing for transfer irregularities.

Depending on the severity of the punishment – which could include a possible points deduction – they could yet lose the title and even fall back into the playoff places.

At the other end of the table, Scunthorpe’s relegation to League One was confirmed with a 5-1 thrashing away to Nottingham Forest.

Kris Boyd and Luke Chambers scored two apiece and Paul Anderson netted the other for Forest, who finished with 10 men after Robert Earnshaw was sent off in the 88th minute.

Forest, sixth on the table, are now three points clear of seventh-placed Leeds United and, barring a heavy defeat in the final round of the season, are likely to secure the last playoff berth.

Leeds defeated Burnley 1-0 in the early kick-off to keep their slim playoff hopes alive until next week.

Sheffield United will join Scunthorpe and already relegated Preston in the third tier after they could only manage a 2-2 draw at home to Barnsley.

Even if United had collected all three points at Bramall Lane, Doncaster’s 1-1 draw at home to Leicester would have consigned Micky Adams’ team to the drop.

In other matches, fifth-placed Reading drew 0-0 away to Coventry, while Swansea in fourth won 2-0 away to Millwall.

Hull City drew 1-1 at home to Crystal Palace, Ipswich beat visiting Preston 2-1 and Bristol City won 2-0 away to Derby County.

Norwich can secure automatic promotion on Monday with victory away to Portsmouth, but only if third-placed Cardiff lose at home to Middlesbrough earlier in the day.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Premier League: Blackpool v Stoke

Blackpool were left teetering on the edge of the relegation zone after a scrappy goalless draw against Stoke City at Bloomfield Road.

It could have been far worse for Blackpool but for Kenwyne Jones’ late entry into the miss-of-the-season competition after the striker inexplicably missed the target from 12 yards with no one between him and the empty net.

It was Blackpool’s first home clean sheet of the season – but also the first time they had failed to score in the Premier League at Bloomfield Road – and leaves them looking nervously looking over their shoulder.

Stoke were the better of the two sides but, with an FA Cup final to look forward to, were concerned about injuries, and defender Andy Wilkinson was taken off as a precaution with Danny Higginbotham, Ricardo Fuller and Matthew Etherington all already doubtful for Wembley.

With tough trips to Tottenham and Manchester United to come, it was a must-win game for Ian Holloway’s men, but they started nervously against a side free from relegation worries.

The visitors created the first chance in the 10th minute, typically, from a Rory Delap long-throw.

Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks spilled it to Robert Huth, whose first time volley was cleared off the line by Stephen Crainey.

Ian Evatt then almost sliced a dangerous Delap cross into his own net before making last ditch tackles to deny Jones and then Jermaine Pennant.

The Seasiders’ only real opening of the first half came when DJ Campbell got on the end of a Crainey cross, but his flick header from eight yards out comfortably cleared the bar.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Jones should have broken the deadlock for Stoke when he beat the offside trap, rounded Gilks and, with an empty net, shanked his shot horribly wide.

Blackpool started the second half much more brightly and almost scrambled an equaliser in the first minute when Matt Phillips met Charlie Adam’s near post corner, only for Begovic to save well from close range.

But Stoke roared back with a fierce Glen Whelan 20-yarder, which was well saved, and a close-range header from Jones that was squeezed clear by the Blackpool defence.

With five minutes to go, Whelan hit another thumping low drive that drifted inches wide of Gilks’ far post.

Blackpool mounted a late charge for all three points and came close with a Sergei Kornilenko header, which looped into the arms of Begovic.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund crowned champions

Borussia Dortmund are the 2010/11 Bundesliga champions following a 2-0 drubbing of Nurnberg and a helping hand from Cologne on Saturday.

Lucas Barrios and Robert Lewandowski piled on first-half goals to ensure Dortmund would take the points in front of a thrilled 80,000-strong home crowd at the Westfalenstadion.

Cologne dumped Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 to allow Dortmund an unassailable eight-point lead on the Bundesliga table with two games to play.

It is Dortmund’s seventh league title, their fourth of the Bundesliga era and their first since the 2001/02 season.

Dortmund fans could perhaps sense something special about to take place as play got underway, one week after their club inadvertently let Leverkusen back into the title race with a shock loss to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Though it was a while coming, their first chance of the game produced a 1-0 lead as Barrios scored in the 32nd minute.

The Paraguay international poked a rebound into the net after Nurnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer could only parry Mario Gotze’s shot into Barrios’ path.

With renewed confidence Dortmund surged into attack again, and two minutes from half-time Lewandowski latched on to Mats Hummels’ through-ball and dipped his shot over Schafer.

If that was not enough to lift Dortmund supporters to full voice, the announcement that Leverkusen had fallen a goal behind in the second half sent the capacity crowd into ecstasy.

With eight minutes to go it became apparent that Dortmund had secured the title, and manager Jurgen Klopp allowed himself some small celebrations on the touchline before the final whistle had even blown and the party got underway.

Milivoje Novakovic was the unsung hero of the day for Dortmund, piling a second-half brace past Leverkusen goalkeeper Rene Adler to ensure the title hopefuls would fall short in this campaign.

The Slovenia international, who now has 16 goals for the season, scored on 67 minutes and again in the 82nd minute for Cologne, who rise four points clear of the relegation places in 14th.

Elsewhere, third-placed Hannover conceded some ground in the tussle for the final Champions League place with a 1-0 loss at home to Monchengladbach, with Marco Reus (76) the lone goal-scorer.

Colombia international Elkin Soto sent 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt into the drop zone, scoring a brace in Mainz’s 3-0 defeat of the relegation battlers, while Stuttgart boosted their survival hopes with a third straight win, 2-1 at Hoffenheim.

Finally, Freiburg dumped Hamburg 2-0 on Papiss Cisse’s brace, leapfrogging their opponents into seventh place.

Sat 30 April, 2011
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Europe still in Roma´s sights

With one eye on the Champions League, Roma boss Vincenzo Montella has called on his troops to make the most of a trip to Bari on Sunday.

Roma are four points behind Lazio and the fourth and final Champions League place on the Serie A table, and can ill-afford another slip-up the likes of their losses to Palermo and Juventus in the run-in.

Next up is a clash with league leaders AC Milan where, depending on the weekend’s results, it is possible the Rossoneri will be within reach of sealing the Scudetto with victory.

Knowing that taking three points against Milan will be a difficult task, Montella has urged his players to ensure they come away with a win at bottom-placed Bari, who are a mathematical certainty to drop to Serie B next season.

“We’ve got to win and put pressure on those teams in front of us,” Montella said.

“We have a great opportunity to stay in the race and creep up on the leading pack. Lazio are naturally the favourites, as they are currently in fourth place.”

“As for us, we cannot try to make a timetable of what results are needed to climb the standings.”

“It’s going to be a delicate encounter with Bari. We must remain concentrated, as in Serie A you can lose to anyone. Bari will be motivated to win.”

Sat 30 April, 2011
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