La Liga: Real Madrid 4 Real Valladolid 0

Gareth Bale starred with a hat-trick in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence as Real Madrid eased to a 4-0 win over Real Valladolid at the Bernabeu.

The hosts may have been without their talisman and top scorer, as he sat out with a thigh problem, but creating goalscoring opportunities was not an issue as they dominated from the start.

After they had squandered numerous chances, Bale was on hand soon after the half-hour mark to head into an empty net following good work by Angel di Maria and the Wales international was involved again a couple of minutes later as the hosts doubled their lead.

This time, he turned provider for Karim Benzema – the Frenchman scoring for the fifth successive league game, the first time he has managed that feat in Spain.

The world’s most expensive player got his second just after the hour mark with a close-range finish before completing his hat-trick in the 89th minute with a similar strike to complete a resounding win.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti made three alterations to the side that comfortably beat Almeria 5-0 in their last league match, with Alvaro Arbeloa and Asier Illarramendi joining Ronaldo in missing out.

Valladolid’s team, meanwhile, included only one change from their loss to Osasuna, as Fausto Rossi replaced German midfielder Patrick Ebert.

The game’s first chance arrived after only three minutes when Sergio Ramos – linked with a move away from the club in the build-up – rose highest to meet Xabi Alonso’s corner, but the Spain defender’s header flew over.

Just a few minutes later, Di Maria went even closer as his audacious half-volley looped over goalkeeper Diego Marino, only to come back off the crossbar and hit the shot-stopper before going out of play.

After pressing, Madrid eventually got the breakthrough after 33 minutes when Di Maria’s powerful cross-cum-shot was palmed straight to Bale, who headed into an empty net for his fifth La Liga goal.

And they doubled their lead within three minutes, with Bale integral again. This time, the winger crossed from deep and Benzema calmly nodded the ball past Marino.

The visitors were far livelier in the second half and although Madrid controlled possession, Zakarya Bergdich troubled them on the counter as he beat Ramos before shooting at Diego Lopez.

Benzema thought he had doubled his tally in the 61st minute when he tapped in Bale’s squared pass, but the Frenchman’s effort was ruled offside.

Ancelotti’s men did have a third less than two minutes later, however.

Bale played Marcelo in down the left and when the Brazilian’s low cross was partially intercepted, the Welshman was in the right place to sweep home.

And the former Tottenham man completed the scoring a minute from time as he slotted past Marino from inside the six-yard box, thanks to more good work by Marcelo, as he grabbed his first Real Madrid hat-trick.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Primera Division: Bale-Hattrick bei Real-Sieg

Die Königlichen leisteten sich beim 4:0 über Real Valladolid den Luxus, schlampig mit ihren zahlreichen Chancen umzugehen. Gareth Bale war an allen vier Toren beteiligt.

Real Madrid hat am 15. Spieltag der Primera Division seine Pflichtaufgabe gegen Real Valladolid ohne Mühe erledigt und einen souveränen 4:0-Sieg eingefahren. Neuzugang Gareth Bale sprang für den verletzten Cristiano Ronaldo in die Bresche und traf dreifach (33., 64., 89.). Zudem bereitete der Waliser das zweite Tor durch Karim Benzema vor (36.).

Real Madrid – Real Valladolid 4:0 (2:0)

Tore: 1:0, 3:0, 4:0 Bale (33., 64., 89.), 2:0 Benzema (36.)

Auch in Abwesenheit von Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (Läsion am linken hinteren Oberschenkel) kann Real Madrid in der Liga gewinnen. Ohne seinen besten Torschützen benötigte der spanische Rekordmeister allerdings 33 Minuten und zwölf Torschüsse, um gegen völlig harmlose Gäste aus Valladolid den Bann zu brechen.

Gareth Bales Kopfball-Abstauber nach einem Schuss des auffälligen Ronaldo-Vertreters Angel di Maria gegen Diego Marino wurde dann aber zum Türoffner für den erwartet deutlichen Sieg der Madrilenen über den Tabellensiebzehnten, bei dem der Ex-Herthaner Patrick Ebert gelbgesperrt fehlte.

Bale war dabei als Schütze des ersten, dritten und vierten Tores sowie als Vorbereiter des zweiten Treffers der effektivste Spieler in einer Real-Mannschaft, die nicht immer zielstrebig genug wirkte und viele Angriffe unkonzentriert ausspielte. Unter dem Strich stand dennoch der 36. Sieg im 42. Heimspiel gegen den Lieblingsgegner. Bale schraubte seine persönliche Statistik auf sieben Tore und sieben Vorlagen in neun Liga-Spielen.

Autor: Marco Heibel

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Pardew pleased with Newcastle momentum

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is eager for his side to maintain their winning run after beating West Brom 2-1 on Saturday.

Pardew’s side won a fourth consecutive match at St James’ Park thanks to goals from Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko, with the win moving Newcastle fifth in the table.

Ahead of their clash with Swansea City on Wednesday, Pardew called for his team to extend their winning run.

“We had to work very hard today. I thought we just edged it,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s just important to have momentum, it’s an amazing armoury you have. Almost like a glow around you.

“If we can keep that glow and that feeling (we can continue the winning run) but I feel there are still some players who can make an impact that aren’t playing at the moment.”

Sissoko’s goal proved crucial, with the France international crashing home a long-range effort three minutes before the hour mark.

Pardew praised the goal but added that he he was also pleased with the midfielder’s all-round play.

“The second goal was an absolute cracker,” he added. “At the end where (Alan) Shearer smashed so many in, it was great to see one of the new lads do that.

“He’s hit a real cracker and it brought the house down. His work-rate and commitment was just as good.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Klopp hails Dortmund spirit

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp praised his side’s spirit after their 3-1 win over Mainz on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead at the Coface Arena through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and, although Maxim Choupo-Moting equalised from the spot, two Robert Lewandowski penalties secured Dortmund’s victory.

Klopp had the likes of Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Marcel Schmelzer out with injury and was delighted with the character his side showed.

“We win with a full-back who has not played for six months (Lukasz Piszczek), and with a centre-back (Manuel Friedrich), who was (out for) almost eight months,” he told Dortmund’s official website.

“I am totally happy with the result and with the development of the game in view of a totally changeable situation.

“This was great fighting spirit.”

The win ended Dortmund’s two-game losing run in the Bundesliga.

They remain third, seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who also won on Saturday.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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League Two Wrap: Leaders Oxford United drop points, Southend draw

League Two leaders Oxford United dropped points on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium.

The hosts took a 12th-minute lead through Steven Schumacher and they looked set to go on and seal the win, but Oxford responded to stay in control at the summit.

Experienced striker Dave Kitson struck in the 89th minute to rescue a point for Chris Wilder’s men, but the draw means that second-placed Chesterfield will go top if they beat Newport County on Sunday.

Scunthorpe United also gained ground on the leaders thanks to their 3-1 victory over struggling Torquay United.

Sam Winnall and an Anthony O’Connor own goal gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at half-time before Hakeeb Adelakun made it 3-0 in the 61st minute.

John Marquis pulled a goal back for Torquay late on, but they remain in the bottom two.

Meanwhile, Southend United were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Cheltenham Town after Kevan Hurst’s goal was cancelled out by a last-minute strike by Matthew Richards.

Burton Albion picked up a third consecutive league win when they triumphed 1-0 at Plymouth Argyle, while Rochdale remain one place above them in fifth after they were held to 0-0 by York City at Bootham Crescent.

At the bottom, Northampton Town moved off the foot of the table thanks to a 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley, who stay dangerously close to the relegation zone themselves.

Exeter City were unable to close in on the play-off places as they drew 2-2 with Bury, but Dagenham and Redbridge’s 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers saw them jump up to eighth.

Mansfield Town suffered a sixth league defeat in a row as Morecambe claimed a 2-1 win while a 3-0 home victory over AFC Wimbledon kept Bristol Rovers just above the relegation places.

At Victoria Park, Hartlepool and Portsmouth played out a 0-0 stalemate.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Bundesliga Wrap: Bayern, Leverkusen, Dortmund all win comfortably

The top three teams in the Bundesliga all enjoyed comfortable victories on Saturday.

Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund were all in action and claimed maximum points to maintain their positions at the top of the table.

Arjen Robben scored both goals in Bayern’s 2-0 win at home over Eintracht Braunschweig, who are bottom of the table with just eight points from 14 matches.

For Bayern, it was a fifth consecutive league win and seventh in all competitions.

Leverkusen remain four points behind in second after defeating Nuremburg 3-0 at home.

Son Heung-Min opened the scoring in the 36th minute, before Stefan Kiessling doubled his side’s advantage two minutes after the interval.

Son grabbed his second with 14 minutes to go, sealing Bayer’s third straight win and leaving Nuremberg still awaiting a first win of the season.

Three points behind Bayer in third are Dortmund, who won 3-1 at 10-man Mainz.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke the deadlock for the visitors with 20 minutes remaining, only for Maxim Choupo-Moting to equalise from the penalty spot four minutes later.

Dortmund went in front for a second time with a penalty of their own in the 78th minute, Robert Lewandowski converting after Elkin Soto was dismissed for handball.

Lewandowski then added a second spot-kick in stoppage time to put the result beyond doubt.

The game of the day came at Hoffenheim, who drew 4-4 with Werder Bremen in another fixture featuring three penalties.

Sejad Salihovic twice converted from 12 yards inside 18 minutes for the hosts, but Aaron Hunt and Eljero Elia made it 2-2, with the former also scoring a penalty.

Hoffenheim again moved two goals clear through Kevin Volland and Kai Herdling, but Nils Petersen pulled one back before Philipp Bargfrede snatched a stoppage-time equaliser to cap a dramatic match.

Elsehwere, Jefferson Farfan’s brace and a goal for Jermaine Jones earned Schalke a 3-0 home win over Stuttgart, while the game between Hertha Berlin and Augsburg ended goalless.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Hull City confirm interest in Djordjevic; Vidal happy at Juve

Hull City manager Steve Bruce has confirmed the club's interest in Nantes striker Filip Djordjevic.

Hull City manager Steve Bruce has confirmed the club’s interest in bringing FC Nantes striker Filip Djordjevic to the KC Stadium in the January transfer window, Sky Sports understands.

Djordjevic, who joined Nantes from Serbian SuperLiga giants Red Star Belgrade in 2008, has caught the eye of a host of English Premier League clubs after enjoying a flying start to the season.

The Serbia international, 26, has bagged eight goals and two assists in 14 Ligue 1 appearances for Nantes in 2013/14.

In fact, only AS Monaco ace Radamel Falcao and Paris Saint-Germain duo Edinson Cavani Zlatan Ibrahimovic have scored more goals, nine apiece, than Djordjevic in France’s top-flight this term.

Nantes are expected to cash in on Djordjevic, whose current contract at the Stade de la Beaujoire expires at the end of the season, when the transfer window re-opens in the New Year, much to the delight of the aforementioned Steve Bruce.

“It’s something we’re looking at. He’s [Djordjevic] someone on our list,” said Bruce.

“We’ll always try and improve.

“The difference in January is can you find anybody out there who will make you significantly better? “I think that’s the key to it.

“It’s not just about spending money, you need to find somebody who can make a difference.”

Hull, currently in 13th-place in the Premier League table, will host Liverpool at the KC on Sunday.

The Tigers are 3-2-1 at their home ground, as compared to Liverpool’s 2-3-1 away record, but the Reds are still massive favourites to take all three points.

Hull City (11/2); Liverpool (8/13); Draw (3/1)

Vidal happy at Juve

Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has revealed he is on the verge of agreeing a contraction extension with the Bianconeri.

Vidal, 26, joined Juve from Bayer Leverkusen for a bargain fee of €10.5 million in 2011.

The Chile international has started the 2013/14 campaign on cracking form for the Italian champions, having tallied 10 goals — including five in the UEFA Champions League — and four assists in 19 appearances across all competitions.

Vidal is under contract at the Juventus Stadium until the summer of 2016, but he is ready to commit his long-term future to the club.

“There is very little to go until we sign the new contract. I could sign it tomorrow, I’m just waiting to hear back from the club,” said Vidal.

“I’m always happy here at Juventus because wearing the shirt means the world to me.”

Vidal — 15/8 to score at anytime against Udinese on Sunday — is on pace to top his career-best tally of 10 league goals in a season.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Martinez: Mourinho entitled to Lukaku opinion

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has no problem with his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho’s comments about on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku.

Mourinho spoke out on Friday after Lukaku suggested he was forced to temporarily leave Chelsea for Goodison Park in the close-season, with the Portuguese refuting those accusations by indicating the forward was the driving force behind the switch.

And Martinez – who watched Lukaku score his eighth Premier League goal of the season in his side’s 4-0 thrashing of Stoke City on Saturday – feels Mourinho is within his rights to talk about the Belgian.

“I hate when there are comments about our players but this is not the case,” the Spaniard said.

“We have got a player on loan and the parent club is entitled to say whatever they want about their relationship with the player.”

Former Wigan Athletic boss Martinez went on to laud Lukaku as a “true ambassador” for his parent club.

“It is important to see that Chelsea wanted Romelu to get some playing time and allow the player to develop and that’s happening,” he added.

“The relationship with the player is working extremely well. (He’s) scoring goals, he’s working hard – he’s a true ambassador for Chelsea football club and we’re just enjoying having the player around.”

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Beleaguered Barnsley sack Flitcroft

Championship strugglers Barnsley have sacked manager David Flitcroft following a 3-0 defeat to Birmingham City.

Flitcroft was appointed as the permanent successor to Keith Hill in January and managed to save Barnsley from relegation to League One last season.

However, the Oakwell outfit have won just two games this term and Saturday’s reverse against Birmingham City left the club bottom of the table and six points adrift of safety.

A statement on Barnsley’s official website read: “Barnsley Football Club can confirm first team manager David Flitcroft has been relieved of his position.

“Technical coach Martin Scott and strength and conditioning coach Guy Proctor have also parted company with the club.

“Assistant Manager Micky Mellon has been placed in caretaker charge of first-team affairs, assisted by development coach Paul Heckingbottom in the meantime.

“There will be no further statements from the club until Wednesday 4th December 2013.

“The club would like to place on record their appreciation and thanks for what David, Martin and Guy have achieved.”

Barnsley face back-to-back away games against Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley next week before a home match against Yeovil Town, another relegation-threatened club.

Sat 30 November, 2013
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Prediction: Tottenham vs Manchester United

30th November 2013

Fresh from the 6-0 defeat at Etihad, Tottenham play host to reigning champions Manchester United, hoping to finally prove they should be considered serious top 4 contenders. The Red Devils, on the other hand, will be aiming to build on the impressive 5-0 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen and hand Ryan Giggs a perfect gift for his 40th birthday.

It is fair to say many people have been impressed with Tottenham Hotspur’s dealings in the summer transfer window, with Spurs having signed a plethora of quality players in an attempt to compensate for Gareth Bale’s departure. And while squad rebuilding process was never going to be easy, nobody could predict Tottenham would be so disappointing in the opening exchanges. Given the standard of their performances, Spurs should be more than happy to have added 20 points to their tally, and with fourth-placed Manchester City just two points away, there is still plenty of time to save this season. However, the problem is Tottenham are showing no improvement whatsoever, with the embarrassing 6-0 loss to the Citizens putting extra pressure on Andre Villas-Boas and his players. Spurs will have a perfect opportunity to revive their top 4 bid and get their campaign back on track as a victory over reigning Premier League champions would go a long way, but I just don’t see how they are going to match in-form Manchester United at this point in time. Several first team regulars will be back after they were rested in midweek, but Danny Rose, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen remain in the infirmary.

The departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson obviously left a huge gap to fill at Old Trafford, but I dare say his successor David Moyes has done pretty well considering the circumstances. Even if the results in the opening exchanges were far from impressive, the former Everton boss has put all the differences behind him to help Wayne Rooney rediscover his top form, while also coping well with the pressures of the new job. As a result, the Red Devils have been steadily improving during the last couple of months and they look ready to kick-start their title bid in English Premier League. And even if the players will have been disappointed by the 2-2 draw at Cardiff City, the amazing 5-0 triumph over one of Bundesliga’s top sides should serve as a huge confidence boost ahead of the all-important clash at White Hart Lane. And with Phil Jones back to help the team cope with the absence of Michael Carrick and both Nemanja Vidic and Robin van Persie likely to return, my money is on United pouring more misery on out-of-sorts Tottenham Hotspur.

Conclusion

Tottenham’s latest performances have been way below the required standard and while there is obviously plenty of room for improvement, it is highly unlikely Spurs will be able to give their best so soon after the embarrassing defeat at Etihad. Meanwhile, Manchester United continue to impress on all fronts and I can definitely see them winning at the Lane.

Verdict: Manchester United Draw no bet

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: William Hill

Sat 30 November, 2013
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