Villa beat Liver­pool to se­cure FA Cup fi­nal place

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Randy Lerner’s As­ton Villa beat Liver­pool on Sun­day to book a re­turn trip to Wem­b­ley for the show­piece match against Ar­se­nal.

For Liver­pool, the semi­fi­nal loss was an­other low point in a sea­son that will end tro­phy­less. The fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion spot ap­pears in­creas­ingly un­ob­tain­able, with Manch­ester City con­sol­i­dat­ing fourth place with a victory over West Ham on Sun­day.

Here’s a look at the ac­tion from Europe’s main leagues on Sun­day:

Eng­land

There will be no per­fect end­ing at Wem­b­ley for Liver­pool cap­tain Steven Ger­rard. Villa’s 2-1 victory means the mid­fielder won’t have a chance to end his Liver­pool ca­reer with a tro­phy on his 35th birth­day in the May 30 FA Cup fi­nal.

Philippe Coutinho put Liver­pool ahead 30 min­utes into the semi­fi­nal. But in-form striker Chris­tian Ben­teke lev­eled for Villa six min­utes later af­ter a cut­back from cap­tain Fabian Delph.

Villa took the lead at the start of the sec­ond half when Delph started and fin­ished a swift move that in­volved smart passes from Ben­teke and the im­pres­sive Jack Gre­al­ish.

In the Pre­mier League, de­fend­ing cham­pion Man City ended a two-game los­ing streak with a 2-0 victory over West Ham.

West Ham’s James Collins accidentally lobbed his own goal­keeper, Adrian, af­ter an at­tempted in­ter­cep­tion went wrong. The sec­ond goal was slicker with Ser­gio Aguero ex­chang­ing passes with Je­sus Navas be­fore netting his 20th league goal of the sea­son.

Tot­ten­ham striker Harry Kane joined Aguero at the top of the league scor­ing leader­board by com­plet­ing a 3-1 victory for his sixth-placed team at New­cas­tle. Kane is the first Tot­ten­ham player since Gary Lineker in 1992 to reach 30 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions in one sea­son.

Italy

Roma failed to make the most of Lazio’s de­feat as it was held 1-1 at home by Ata­lanta in Serie A.

Roma only moved level on points with sec­ond-placed city ri­val Lazio, while In­ter Mi­lan drew 0-0 against AC Mi­lan in a heated derby match.

Francesco Totti gave Roma the lead from the spot in the third minute, but Ata­lanta lev­eled with a penalty of its own and Roma couldn’t con­vert its pres­sure into gen­uine scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Napoli gave it­self hope of sneak­ing into the fi­nal Cham­pi­ons League place by cruis­ing to a 3-0 win at Cagliari later to close the gap to Roma to five points.

The two Mi­lan teams re­mained mired in mid-ta­ble af­ter a match which saw three goals dis­al­lowed.

Ger­many

Franco di Santo’s late penalty earned Werder Bre­men a 1-0 victory that left Ham­burger SV last in the Bun­desliga and spoiled the start of Bruno Labad­dia’s sec­ond reign as Ham­burg coach.

Lab­ba­dia is the fourth coach of the sea­son at Ham­burg, which is just four points from safety .

Kevin de Bruyne’s equal­izer gave Wolfs­burg a 1-1 draw against Schalke in the late game.

France

Lyon re­claimed top spot on goal dif­fer­ence from Paris Saint-Ger­main af­ter a 2-2 draw with Saint-Eti­enne, although it has played a game more than the de­fend­ing cham­pion.

Lyon took an early lead through Clin­ton N’Jie’s, but couldn’t hold on af­ter de­fender Lind­say Rose re­ceived a straight red card for han­dling in the penalty area in the 28th minute. Max Gradel lev­eled from the penalty spot for Saint Eti­enne and Ro­main Hamouma put the vis­i­tors in front be­fore half­time, but Christophe Jal­let headed Lyon level af­ter the break.

AP

AC Mi­lan’s Nigel de Jong, right, kicks the ball as In­ter Mi­lan’s Danilo D’Am­bro­sio tries to stop him dur­ing the Serie A soc­cer match be­tween In­ter Mi­lan and AC Mi­lan at the San Siro sta­dium in Mi­lan, Italy on Sun­day, April 19.

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