Soccer digest

Updated: 2013-05-07 07:13

(China Daily)

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Soccer digest

In Spain

Superb Messi edges Barcelona closer to title

Lionel Messi came off the bench to move Barcelona within two points of clinching the La Liga title with a 4-2 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Dorlan Pabon and Ruben Perez had twice given the visitor the lead in the first-half either side of Alexis Sanchez's equalizer.

However, after David Villa had once again leveled the scores, it was unsurprisingly left to Messi to decide matters as within three minutes of coming on he fired in a wonderful free kick and then was on hand to tap home at the end of a flowing move involving Sanchez and Andres Iniesta.

"The important thing is to go out as league champions," Sanchez told Canal Plus afterwards.

"We have to go game by game, fighting for the victories, but the fundamental things is to win the league whenever it may be.

"When Messi comes on he offers a lot to the team. It motivates us to play together and it is obvious that he is an important player, but (whether he starts or not) are decisions that I don't know."

Soccer digest

In Italy

Lazio's Klose scores five but still substituted

Lazio forward Miroslav Klose became the first player to score five goals in a Serie A match for 27 years in the 6-0 win over Bologna on Sunday, although it was not enough to stop him being substituted with 22 minutes left.

The 34-year-old German forward had not hit the target since December in Serie A but made up for that with a handful of goals, helped by a generous Bologna defense which left him unmarked on each occasion.

"If I scored five goals today, it's because of the team," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I'm very satisfied with my performance and obviously my goals."

Klose emulated Roberto Pruzzo, who scored five goals for Lazio's neighbor, AS Roma, in a 5-1 win over Avellino in February 1986.

Soccer digest

In Turkey

Galatasaray clinches Turkish league crown

Galatasaray clinched the Turkish league title on Sunday with two games of the season remaining as it crushed Sivasspor 4-2 in Istanbul.

With archrival Fenerbahce beaten 2-0 by another Istanbul side, Buyuksehir Belediyespor, Galatarasary opened up a 10-point lead.

It means Galatasaray wins a 19th title, breaking the deadlock with Fenerbahce, which has won 18.

Thousands of Galatasaray fans took to the streets late Sunday night to celebrate, chanting and waving posters of coach, Fatih Terim, who sat out the end of the season due to suspension.

Terim was banned for nine matches in April for criticizing the referee during a league game against Mersin Idmanyurdu.

Terim, never short of a telling quip, told the referee who had banished him to the stands as Galatasaray went on to win that game 3-1: "I will lead this team from the moon if I have to."

AFP - Reuters

(China Daily 05/07/2013 page22)

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