Tag Archives: drubbing

Bayern Munich hit Hamburg for NINE to continue procession to 23rd Bundesliga title

Majestic Bayern hit Hamburg for NINE to continue Bundesliga title procession

PUBLISHED:

20:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

Brutal Bayern Munich produced a nine-goal annihilation of Hamburg to move to within one win of wrapping up the Bundesliga title.

Bayern smashed their opponents 9-2 at the Allianz Arena with Claudio Pizarro scoring four times and Arjen Robben twice.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery were also on target for the rampant hosts, who led 5-0 at the break and refused to let up.

Four-some: Claudio Pizarro netted four times for the soon-to-be German champions

Four-some: Claudio Pizarro (centre) netted four times for the soon-to-be German champions

Sensational: Bayern dismantled their opponents with ease during tonight's nine goal drubbing

Sensational: Bayern dismantled their opponents with ease during tonight's nine goal drubbing

They did it all without leading scorer Mario Mandzukic, who was left on the bench ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final meeting with Juventus.

Hamburg's goals, from Jeffrey Bruma and Heiko Westermann, made it 8-1 and then 9-2 and did nothing to ease the misery.

The win moved Bayern 20 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with seven games to go and victory at Eintracht Frankfurt next Saturday will wrap up the title.

Dortmund kept Bayern waiting for another week at least by winning 2-1 at Stuttgart

Lukasz Piszczek gave Dortmund the lead in the 29th minute, but Alexandru Maxim's first Bundesliga goal brought the Swabians level before a red card to Georg Niedermeier tipped the scales back in Dortmund's favour.

Robert Lewandowski grabbed the winner eight minutes from time.

Bayer Leverkusen kept a strong hold on third with a 4-1 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf.

How many Arjen Robben scored two of the nine goals

How many Arjen Robben (right) scored two of the nine goals

Two goals apiece for Stefan Kiessling and Andre Schurrle ensured Leverkusen maintained a six-point cushion over Schalke.

The fifth goal in the game also came from a visiting player, Daniel Schwaab's own goal all Fortuna had to show for their efforts.

Schalke scored three times in the final 20 minutes to beat relegation-threatened Hoffenheim 3-0.

Marco Hoger broke the deadlock in the 71st minute before two substitutes, Raffael and Teemu Pukki, wrapped up the victory.

Mainz dropped three points behind Schalke as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen, despite going ahead after 12 seconds.

Adam Szalai gave Mainz a flying start, but Aaron Hunt earned Bremen a point.

Max Kruse scored twice as Freiburg moved ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for Europa League qualification with a 2-0 win.

Third-bottom Augsburg failed to improve their chances of avoiding the drop as they lost 2-0 at home to Hannover.

Konstantin Rausch scored both goals in the second half.

Leighton Baines scarred as Gary Cahill"s studs go through shirt

You ripper! Baines scarred as Cahill's studs go right through Everton defender's shirt

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UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 30 December 2012

Leighton Baines was left with a sore reminder of playing against Chelsea after the Everton defender was caught by Gary Cahill's studs.

Baines and Blues defender Cahill clashed accidentally early in the second half at Goodison Park and it was the home favourite who came off worse.

As these pictures from Sky Sports show, Cahill's studs went right through Baines' shirt and left a scar on the England international's back.

Ripped: Leighton Baines was caught by Gary Cahill's studs as the pair hit the ground at Goodison Park

Ripped: Leighton Baines was caught by Gary Cahill's studs as the pair hit the ground at Goodison Park

Baines, true to form, was straight back up and in the thick of the action.

Meanwhile, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech did not come out for the second half.

The Blues stopper picked up an ankle injury and was replaced by Ross Turnbull.

Turnbull's sole previous appearance this season was the Capital One Cup drubbing of Wolves in September.

And he was celebrating at the end of the match on Merseyside as the visitors took the three points back to London after Frank Lampard's double cancelled out Steven Pienaar's early strike.

Collision: Cahill and Baines hit the ground and the Chelsea defender catches his opponent

Collision: Cahill and Baines hit the ground and the Chelsea defender catches his opponent

Accidental: Cahill looked worried for a second as Baines lay on the pitch

Accidental: Cahill looked worried for a second as Baines lay on the pitch

War wound: Baines was caught by Cahill's studs

War wound: Baines was caught by Cahill's studs

League Two round-up: Port Vale close in on leaders Gillingham

League Two round-up: Port Vale close in on leaders Gillingham after win at Rotherham

PUBLISHED:

19:52 GMT, 26 December 2012

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UPDATED:

20:15 GMT, 26 December 2012

Port Vale closed the gap on npower League Two leaders Gillingham to two points after triumphing 2-1 at Rotherham.

Vale took the lead when Ryan Burge's pass fell to Louis Dodds to prod home and soon after Tom Pope added a second, before home substitute Kieran Agard was on target to set up an anxious finish.

Gillingham saw their lead trimmed after losing 1-0 at home to Barnet with Jake Hyde's first-half strike settling the contest at Priestfield Stadium.

Slip up: Leaders Gillingham lost 1-0 to Barnet at Priestfield

Slip up: Leaders Gillingham lost 1-0 to Barnet at Priestfield

RESULTS:

Aldershot 2-2 Bristol Rovers

Bradford 2-1 Accrington

Burton Albion 3-2 Rochdale

Cheltenham 4-0 Wycombe

Chesterfield 3-0 York

Dag & Red 0-3 Southend

Exeter 1-3 Oxford Utd

Fleetwood 1-0 Morecambe

Gillingham 0-1 Barnet

Plymouth 1-1 Torquay

Rotherham 1-2 Port Vale

Wimbledon P-P Northampton (waterlogged pitch)

Cheltenham bounced back from their surprise 4-1 defeat at Rochdale with a 4-0 drubbing of Wycombe.

Goals from Jake Taylor, Jeff Goulding, Darryl Duffy and Jermaine McGlashan kept the Robins in third place.

Promotion-chasing Southend extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches with a brace from Gavin Tomlin helping them beat his former club Dagenham and Redbridge 3-0 with Kevan Hurst hitting the third.

Bradford remain just adrift of a top-four berth after defeating Accrington Stanley 2-1 thanks to goals from Garry Thompson and Alan Connell that sandwiched a strike by Rommy Boco.

Oxford made it five games unbeaten with an impressive 3-1 victory at promotion-chasing Exeter.

James Constable took his tally for the season to nine with goals either side of half-time and Peter Leven added the third before Jamie Cureton bagged from the penalty spot for the Grecians.

Promotion chasers: Southend won 3-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games

Promotion chasers: Southend won 3-0 at Dagenham and Redbridge to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games

Three second-half goals from Drew Talbot, Danny Whitaker and Tendayi Darikwa gave Chesterfield a convincing 3-0 win over York, John Ward earned a point on his managerial return to Bristol Rovers after the Pirates left it late to earn a 2-2 draw at fellow strugglers Aldershot, with Eliot Richards climbing off the bench to snatch a point.

Michael Hector's stunning strike put the home side ahead, David Clarkson and Craig Reid then exchanged successful spot-kicks, only for Richards to drive home the leveller with three minutes to spare.

Teenage debutant Tyler Harvey smashed home a dramatic late equaliser for Plymouth as they drew 1-1 with Devon rivals Torquay at Home Park.

All square: Devon rivals Plymouth and Torquay drew 1-1 at Home Park

All square: Devon rivals Plymouth and Torquay drew 1-1 at Home Park

The 17-year-old youth product equalised with a superb left-foot shot on the spin from the edge of the box after Aaron Downes had given Torquay the lead.

Burton surrendered a two-goal lead against Rochdale but still managed to pick up a 3-2 victory.

Goals from Billy Kee and Calvin Zola put the Brewers in charge, but Peter Cavanagh and Bobby Grant levelled the score before Kee hit the winner.
Striker David Ball's sixth goal of the season handed Graham Alexander his first victory as Fleetwood boss as they beat Morecambe 1-0.

India v England: Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar pictured arriving at Heathrow

Flower sees India triumph as turning point for England as Cook, KP and Co arrive back at Heathrow after momentous victory

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UPDATED:

12:51 GMT, 18 December 2012

Andy Flower senses England’s Test team may have reached a turning point with their historic series victory in India.

The triumphant England players arrived at Heathrow today, as Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Monty Panesar were greeted warmly after touching down in London.

Pietersen, who successfully reintegrated into the squad this series after being selected by Flower, was snapped as he pushed his trolley through the airport.

Triumphant: Monty Panesar and Alastair Cook

Welcome back: Kevin Pietersen is pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport this morning

Triumphant: Monty Panesar (left) and Alastair Cook were at Heathrow along with Kevin Pietersen (right)

Cook and Panesar walked alongside each other through Terminal 3 after yesterday's draw in Nagpur.

Cook’s tourists defied the pessimistic expectations of many by recovering from a nine-wicket drubbing in the first Test in Ahmedabad to win successive matches in Mumbai and Kolkata and then clinch the series with yesterday’s draw.

In doing so, they finished a tough year on a significant high.

Under Cook’s predecessor Andrew Strauss, a dual Ashes-winning captain, England fell from grace in 2012 with series defeats against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last winter and then at home to South Africa.

Their hard-earned world No 1 Test status was a thing of the past by the time Strauss retired four months ago – and even after their 2-1 victory here, a first in India for almost 28 years, they have lost seven of 15 matches this year.

Good show: Cook and Panesar were greeted warmly at Terminal 3 at Heathrow

Good show: Cook and Panesar were greeted warmly at Terminal 3 at Heathrow

All smiles: Cook was accompanied by his wife Alice as he pushed his trolley through the terminal

All smiles: Cook was accompanied by his wife Alice as he pushed his trolley through the terminal

Coach Flower believes, however, there is no reason why the future cannot be a bright one for Cook’s team.

Asked if the fightback in India – completed thanks to centuries by Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell yesterday – could be a turning point, he said: 'I think it is.

'We had a tough time in the UAE against Pakistan at the start of the year, and one of the most satisfying things at the minute – certainly for me, and I’m sure for the players – is that they’ve shown they can score runs.

'Even some of the older guys, that have been around and have excellent Test career achievements, have still adapted their game and shown their game can improve.

'They’ve done that in conditions where English teams don’t historically do very well.

'I think everyone is very proud of that.'

Say cheese: The pair smiled for the cameras after touching down in the capital

Say cheese: The pair smiled for the cameras after touching down in the capital

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Spinning to victory: This picture of Graeme Swann (right) and Monty Panesar (left) was tweeted by fellow bowler James Anderson

Generations of England batsmen, in particular, have been found wanting in India since David Gower’s 1984-85 tourists also prevailed by a 2-1 margin.

'It’s very satisfying for that group of 30 blokes to have come out here and adapted to these conditions and overcome the opposition,' added Flower.

'It’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of thought and a lot of skill out there in the middle – and they should be very proud of themselves.'

Flower paid tribute to his players’ character after they adapted brilliantly to the conditions.

He told Radio 5 Live: 'After the losses in the UAE we put some training regimes in place to help the players with their knowledge of how to play spin and score runs in these conditions.

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

Captain fantastic: Alastair Cook ensured that the tourists ended 2012 on a high

'The players have put hours and hours of work into improving themselves. Their improvement against spin is great testament to their character.

'I think it has been a great year for English cricket. To win here for the first time in (almost) 28 years is an historic achievement. There is plenty for us to be proud of us in this last year.'

Flower also had words of praise for Kevin Pietersen, who finished a turbulent year personally on a high, the highlight a magnificent 186 in Mumbai.

He said: 'That innings in Mumbai was outstanding. He showed incredible skill and for him to turn the game around for us in partnership with Alastair Cook was a pivotal moment in the series.'

Mario Balotelli poses in camouflage onesie

Hidden in plain sight… Balotelli poses in camouflage onesie with matching car and quad bike

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UPDATED:

10:37 GMT, 3 December 2012

Many of us had suspicions about Mario Balotelli. The temper tantrums were a key sign.

But this onesie proves it – he really is a big baby.

Although the Twitter account the picture first emerged on was called out as a fake by Manchester City, it's definitely Mario we're looking at.

Camo king: Mario Balotelli seems to love camouflage, judging by his car, quad bike and now... his onesie

Camo king: Mario Balotelli seems to love camouflage, judging by his car, quad bike and now… his onesie

The club's official account tweeted: 'All those posing as him are fake. If he joins, we will let you know! #mcfc'.

Balotelli obviously likes the
camouflage style – his Bentley Continental GT and a quad bike are done
up in the same fashion as his comfy-looking onesie.

Although camouflage is designed to keep people hidden and under cover, that is not Balotelli's natural habitat.

He resides at the centre of attention
and is hoping to get the chance to be there on Sunday when City take on
bitter rivals Manchester United.

Why always him Balotelli scored a brace against Manchester United in last season's 6-1 win at Old Trafford

Why always him Balotelli scored a brace against Manchester United in last season's 6-1 win at Old Trafford

The Italian struck twice as City emerged 6-1 winners in the fixture at Old Trafford last season.

Not only did he play extremely well but he also revealed the now famous 'Why always me' t-shirt during the drubbing.

Don't be surprised to see him take his
shirt off to reveal a camouflage vest this time around – if Roberto
Mancini gives him the chance to play.

Hearts 0 Celtic 4

Hearts 0 Celtic 4: Hoops rediscover league form to keep chasing pack at bay

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UPDATED:

23:32 GMT, 28 November 2012

At the final whistle Neil Lennon marched towards a celebratory away support. On a typically raucous night at Tynecastle, normal relations between the Celtic manager and his people were fully restored.

After a weekend of verbals with his own supporters, the Northern Irishman revelled in a display he described as ‘clinical’. It was an accurate description.

And yet this was a strange old night. Hearts have played worse than this and won. For the home team, a four-goal drubbing against a ruthless, relentless opponent felt like a surgical procedure.

Party time: Celtic celebrate their win over Hearts in Edinburgh

Party time: Celtic celebrate their win over Hearts in Edinburgh

Match facts

Hearts: MacDonald, Ryan McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, McHattie, Paterson, Dylan McGowan (Robinson 63), Barr, Walker (Driver 68), Holt (Taouil 58),Stevenson.

Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Sutton, Gordon Smith, Novikovas.

Booked: Paterson.

Celtic: Forster, Lustig (Matthews 68), Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew, Commons, Kayal, Wanyama, Ledley (Brown 69), Nouioui (Samaras 80), Hooper.

Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Miku, Watt, McGeouch.

Booked: Ambrose, Wanyama, Wilson.

Goals: Nouioui 10, Lustig 22, Stevenson 30 og, Hooper 83.

Att: 15,264

Ref: William Collum

The latest SPL table, fixtures and results

Celtic lacerated their opponents in a blistering first half, scoring three via Lassad Nouioui, Mikael Lustig and a Ryan Stevenson own goal.

The finishing touch came in the 84th minute via Gary Hooper. /11/28/article-2239964-164206C0000005DC-690_634x406.jpg” width=”634″ height=”406″ alt=”In front: Lassad Nouioui calmly volleys home the opening goal of the game” class=”blkBorder” />

In front: Lassad Nouioui calmly volleys home the opening goal of the game

Nouioui scored one goal as a substitute at Aberdeen and started here in place of Georgios Samaras. Lennon’s decision was perfectly vindicated when the Tunisian thumped the Commons cross low into the net from 12 yards first time.

In the aftermath of some poor SPL form, it was precisely the start Celtic’s manager demanded. And the scoreline would suggest that Hearts simply crumbled thereafter.

The truth, however, was somewhat different.

With a raft of kids in their ranks, the home team won the first of a series of free-kicks 25 yards from goal when Jamie Walker was felled. Stevenson floated his effort across goal and Callum Paterson — an unconvincing striker — failed to connect.

Stranded: Goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald can't prevent Mikael Lustig doubling Celtic' lead

Stranded: Goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald can't prevent Mikael Lustig doubling Celtic' lead

Hearts also had two penalty claims of the dubious variety, the first for a handball by Nouioui then a clash between Kelvin Wilson and Paterson in the area. Correctly, referee Willie Collum said no both times. They would eventually have their spot kick, but by then the game was gone.

Celtic found a second in 23 minutes, the unlikely figure of Swedish right back Lustig the scorer.

Collecting a flicked pass from Lassad the full-back made for the byeline and cut inside, driving the ball towards the six-yard area where it eventually fell to Lustig who drove it low into the net.

A critical intervention from Forster in 26 minutes proved crucial for Celtic. The England international produced an incredible double save to parry Stevenson’s stinging free-kick before springing up to push a point-blank header from Marius Zaliukas away.

For the team in maroon it was a heartbreaking moment. Scoring goals has been a persistent problem for a team devoid of bona fide proven strikers. And, it should be said, good fortune.

Bad timing: Ryan Stevenson (centre) puts the ball beyond his own goalkeeper to gift Celtic a third

Bad timing: Ryan Stevenson (centre) puts the ball beyond his own goalkeeper to gift Celtic a third

That much became clear with Celtic’s third goal, a cruel, wicked effort which had no right to spin into the net.

A long, deep cross from the right from Commons ran past everybody before being retrieved on the touchline by the well-advanced Charlie Mulgrew.

A first-time cutback was speculative and paid off when it ricocheted off the shin of the luckless Stevenson and somehow looped into the far corner of the net from the narrowest of angles for 3-0.

Within minutes of the restart, Forster again denied McGlynn’s team in quite superb fashion.

This time it was the young left-back Kevin McHattie, deputising for the injured Danny Grainger, who tried his luck from a free-kick conceded by an already booked Efe Ambrose. A stirring left-foot strike was seen late by the keeper. Yet, that was no impediment to another of the one-handed stops.

/11/28/article-2239964-1642910F000005DC-504_634x439.jpg” width=”634″ height=”439″ alt=”All over: Celtic's Gary Hooper (left) scores the fourth goal against Hearts” class=”blkBorder” />

All over: Celtic's Gary Hooper (left) scores the fourth goal against Hearts

But what spirit Hearts offered by now was of the token variety; Ryan McGowan took umbrage at the ball juggling of Commons before returning the ball from an injury. It was handbags stuff, but it stirred the crowd up.

Celtic’s main concern by now was one of self preservation. Despite Ambrose and Wanyama booked and the contest raging around them, a limping Lustig left the pitch gingerly and may now be a doubt for the Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow. Joe Ledley also took his leave for Scott Brown.

In addition to Taouil, McGlynn introduced Scott Robinson. On a night when Kelvin Wilson joined Forster in forming a human barrier, however, it was all to no avail.

Celtic’s fourth came six minutes from time, however, Hooper guiding the ball home from Mulgrew’s piercing cross from the left touchline.

Hearts couldn’t even score from the penalty spot. In his only moment of uncertainty all night Wilson conceded a soft penalty at the death, colliding with Stevenson during a moment of confusion. Forster’s save was terrific, yet typical. It was that kind of night.

Theo Walcott contract: Arsene Wenger tells Arsenal to improve offer as Liverpool and Chelsea lurk

Wenger issues plea to keep Walcott as Liverpool and Chelsea plot January swoop

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 19 November 2012

Arsene Wenger will make a personal recommendation to the Arsenal board to improve Theo Walcott's contract offer in an attempt to end the uncertainty over his future.

Arsenal chiefs previously told the England international they were unwilling to increase their original 75,000-per-week offer, which was rejected by Walcott in August.

On target: Walcott scored in the 5-2 drubbing of Tottenham on Saturday

On target: Walcott scored in the 5-2 drubbing of Tottenham on Saturday

But Sportsmail understands the Gunners' stance on the issue has softened in recent weeks, with the club now willing to reach a compromise with the forward.

It is believed both parties feel an offer of between 80,000 – 85,000-per-week will be enough to secure Walcott's long-term future.

The former Southampton forward has told Wenger he wants to stay at the Emirates but made it clear he wants a contract closer to 100,000-per-week.

And Wenger, who has been highly-impressed by Walcott's displays in recent weeks, will tell the club's hierarchy to up their existing offer and hopes his personal intervention will help resolve the issue when the player's representatives meet with Gunners officials for a second round of formal talks.

Theo Walcott

Wanted: Chelsea and Liverpool are both considering moves in January

The club want his future resolved by the end of December.

Liverpool and Chelsea are plotting January moves for Walcott, while Manchester City want to sign him on a free transfer next summer.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are close to agreeing a new five-year contract with left-back Kieran Gibbs.

Neil Lennon: League is the priority

Lennon tells Celtic to forget Barcelona win: League is the priority

PUBLISHED:

18:07 GMT, 10 November 2012

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UPDATED:

18:07 GMT, 10 November 2012

Neil Lennon is disregarding Celtic's recent home drubbing of St Johnstone in the Scottish Communities League Cup ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The Parkhead side thrashed Steve Lomas's men 5-0 earlier in the month to set up a semi-final appearance against St Mirren at Hampden in January.

Historic night: Tony Watt celebrates his winning goal against Barcelona

Historic night: Tony Watt celebrates his winning goal against Barcelona

However, the former Celtic skipper,
still basking in the glory of his side's 2-1 Champions League home win
over Barcelona in midweek, remembers that Saints caused an upset when
they beat the Hoops at McDiarmid Park in the SPL in September.

Asked about the recent result against
St Johnstone with regards the impact it might make on proceedings at
Parkhead on Sunday, Lennon replied: 'It will be irrelevant. I'm
sure Steve will have them well motivated, as we were to beat them as
they had turned us over at McDiarmid Park and we will be using that
result in Perth as a motivation again on Sunday.

'But we have to adapt ourselves. I
want the players to enjoy the aftermath (of the Barcelona result) but it
is back to St Johnstone.

'We will try to carry on and play the good football that we have been playing.

'The SPL is our priority because it is the avenue that gets us into the Champions League in the first place.'

Euphoric: But Neil Lennon issued a warning to Celtic

Euphoric: But Neil Lennon issued a warning to Celtic

The Northern Irishman, though,
believes the visit of the Perth men will be 'tricky' following the
'euphoria' of Wednesday night when Celtic made Europe sit up with their
unlikely Group G win which left them with a good chance of making it
through to the knockout stages of the competition.

'It is important that we re-focus again,' said Lennon. 'The rest will be important but where the players are mentally at the minute, I don't know.

'I'm sure among the players there
will be a huge dose of satisfaction and also fatigue but I will have a
chat with them and see how they feel.

'But I will want to put out a strong team because St Johnstone are going very well in the league.

'We have taken one point from six in the league and so it is important that we get back to winning ways as soon as possible.'

Lennon will assess skipper Scott Brown who missed the win over Barcelona due to illness.

Right-back Mikael Lustig should
recover from a hip knock but left-back Emilio Izaguirre (hamstring),
stopper Thomas Rogne (calf), winger James Forrest (hamstring), and
strikers Gary Hooper (hamstring) and Lassad (groin) are all still out.

Ireland 12 South Africa 16: match report

Ireland 12 South Africa 16: Sexton's points not enough to hold off powerful Sprinkboks

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UPDATED:

21:03 GMT, 10 November 2012

Ireland's hopes of humbling South Africa were picked apart in a one-sided second half of tonight's Guinness Series opener at Aviva Stadium.

Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties as the Irish seized the 12-3 interval lead their dominance deserved, only for the Springboks to then ignite their power game.

Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar crossed for the night's only try in the 45th minute and Pat Lambie kicked 11 points as South Africa, who started as strong favourites, took control.

Turning it on: Ruan Pienaar (centre) scored the only try of the match against Ireland

Turning it on: Ruan Pienaar (centre) scored the only try of the match against Ireland

The result condemned Ireland to a fifth successive Test defeat, which is their worst losing run for 14 years as they failed to claim redemption for a painful 60-0 drubbing by New Zealand in June.

Missing the highly-influential Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney to injury, they entered the match unburdened by high expectations.

But despite the absence of six key personnel, they will be disappointed by their inability to dispatch opposition that was lethargic and pedestrian in the first half.

Ireland have won three of their last four meetings with South Africa and tonight was a missed opportunity to improve that sequence.

The absence of Lions captains O'Driscoll and O'Connell saw Jamie Heaslip lead the team for the first time and while he sought to inspire his side, he was sin-binned in the second half.

Full-back Simon Zebo, winning his second cap, passed an early test under the high ball and moments later Gordon D'Arcy launched an intelligent counter-attack that ended with a poor chip kick from Keith Earls.

Just 10 minutes into the game and South Africa had conceded four cheap penalties, two of which were sent between the uprights by Sexton.

It was an encouraging start by muscular Ireland, who were having few problems dealing with the Springboks' route one approach.

All in black: Ireland donned a full black strip so not to clash with the Sprinkboks' green

All in black: Ireland donned a full black strip so not to clash with the Sprinkboks' green

All in black: Ireland donned a full black strip so not to clash with the Sprinkboks' green

Earls knocked on just as he was sent through a gap by Sexton and the fly-half then took time to climb to his feet after halting a bulldozing run by JP Pietersen.

Lambie and Sexton exchanged penalties but Ireland were still playing most of the rugby, showing invention as they worked their way downfield.

D'Arcy was thriving in the absence of O'Driscoll as he welcomed the responsibility of being the senior figure in Ireland's midfield.

Repeatedly tested under the high ball, Tommy Bowe had impressed while man of the match Mike McCarthy and the Irish back row of Heaslip, Peter O'Mahony and Chris Henry were making their presence felt.

South Africa's composure crumbled as first Willem Alberts kneed Sexton in the ribs and then Pietersen was sent to the sin bin for using the shoulder while tackling Henry early.

Another three points from Sexton punished the Springboks' indiscipline as Ireland opened a 12-3 lead they fully merited.

The home side's superiority in broken play and out wide was evident, but they also looked happy to mix it with the bigger South African pack.

Sexton missed his first penalty of the evening and the half finished with Springbok scrum-half Pienaar falling short from long range.

McCarthy cut Eben Etzebeth in half with a bone-jarring hit just moments after Cian Healy had wobbled off to be assessed by a specialist in the concussion bin.

Point scoring: Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties

Point scoring: Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalties

But South Africa were finally coming alive and almost crossed through hooker Adriaan Strauss at a line-out drive in a passage of play that saw Heaslip sin-binned for standing offside.

Scenting blood, the Springboks went for the jugular and were rewarded when Pienaar darted over from close range with Lambie converting.

The landscape of the match now look radically different with rejuvenated South Africa just two points behind.

Captain Jean de Villiers bulldozed through D'Arcy and Earls as referee Wayne Barnes offered Lambie another shot at goal which he took.

Ireland responded with a fiery passage of play that ended when Healy, who had passed his concussion test, was penalised for failing to release the ball.

Sexton and Lambie both fell short with a long-range kicks in a pressure-cooker final quarter of the match.
South Africa were now gaining a foothold at the scrum, winning two penalties in quick succession, the second of which Lambie steered between the uprights.

Ireland desperately chased the late score that would nudge them back into the lead, but were strangled out of the game by the canny Springboks.

Rangers 7 Alloa 0 match report: Dean Shiels, Lee McCulloch, Robbie Crawford and Barrie McKay score

Rangers 7 Alloa 0: McCoist's men rebound from midweek mauling to sting Wasps

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 3 November 2012

Rangers bounced back from their midweek Scottish Communities League Cup exit to Inverness in style with an emphatic 7-0 thrashing of Alloa in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Dean Shiels, Lee McCulloch and Barrie McKay netted a double each and Robbie Crawford was also on the scoresheet against Paul Hartley's high-flying Irn-Bru Second Division side.

Anestis Argyriou and Fraser Aird were both drafted into the Rangers side for the third round tie, with Lee Wallace ruled out with a dead leg and Kyle Hutton dropped to the bench.

Let the drubbing begin: Dean Shiels fires Rangers a goal to the good at Ibrox

Let the drubbing begin: Dean Shiels fires Rangers a goal to the good at Ibrox

Match facts

Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou (Crawford 54), Perry, Emilson Cribari (Naismith 72), Hegarty, Little, Black, Macleod, Aird (McKay 61), Shiels, McCulloch. Subs not used: Scott Gallagher, Hutton.

Goals: Shiels 2, 21, McCulloch 33, 72, Crawford 73, McKay 82, 89.

Alloa: Bain, Doyle, Gordon, Marr, Meggatt, Simmons (Grehan 55), Ryan McCord, Young, Holmes, Low (Docherty 74), Cawley (Thomson 79). Subs not used: McDowall, Ross McCord.

Sent Off: Doyle (78).

Booked: Gordon.

Att: 25,478.

Ref: Iain Brines.

Shiels, Andy Little and Lewis Macleod were all passed fit to start despite nursing knocks from the clash with Inverness.

Alloa were boosted by the return of skipper Darren Young following a sickness bug but on-loan Aberdeen forward Mitch Megginson was unavailable for the trip to Ibrox.

Rangers knew they needed a positive reaction following the midweek defeat and they enjoyed the best possible start to the game.

An Aird corner broke for Shiels, whose deflected shot found its way through a sea of bodies and into the bottom corner after just two minutes.

Chris Hegarty then surged forward from the left-back position before rifling just over the crossbar from distance.
It was Shiels who doubled the advantage when he grabbed his second of the day after 21 minutes.

McCulloch was the provider with a lovely pass for the Northern Irishman and the offside flag stayed down as Shiels slotted past goalkeeper Scott Bain.

No mistake: Lee McCulloch slots home the fourth

No mistake: Lee McCulloch slots home the fourth

Skipper McCulloch then helped himself to a goal when he unleashed a powerful strike from just inside the box after 33 minutes.

The Gers utility man could have netted again just before the break with a ferocious effort that fizzed just over.

Alloa had failed to trouble the Gers defence in the first half but carved out a couple of decent efforts in quick succession after the break.

A well-struck free-kick from just outside the area from Nicky Low was comfortably gathered by Neil Alexander.

Kevin Cawley then saw his hooked effort curl just past the far post after evading the goalkeeper as the Wasps desperately tried to salvage the tie.

Celebration time: Two-goal Shiels helped Rangers to a convincing win

Celebration time: Two-goal Shiels helped Rangers to a convincing win

There was concern for Rangers 10 minutes into the second half when Argyriou was stretchered off after crumpling to the turf with what appeared to be an ankle problem.

The Greek defender was replaced by youngster Crawford, before Aird made way for the introduction of McKay.

McKay was immediately involved in the action when he teed up the shot for Shiels, who was denied his hat-trick by the post.

The teenager then pounced on the rebound and was denied the sight of the net bulging by the quick reaction of Michael Doyle who cleared off the line.

However, any respite for Alloa was brief as Rangers found the back of the net twice in quick succession.

It's so easy: Barrie McKay hit a late brace to increase Alloa's woe

It's so easy: Barrie McKay hit a late brace to increase Alloa's woe

Shiels squared into the path of McCulloch and all that was required was a simple tap in from the captain after 72 minutes, before Crawford supplied a low finish from a Shiels cut-back a minute later.

There was worse to come for Alloa when Doyle was shown a red card for a challenge on Hegarty after 79 minutes.
McKay then added his name to the scoresheet three minutes later with a superb shot from outside the box, before completing the rout with a well struck drive with a minute to go.