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Sunday European Rewind: Bradford City’s cup dream continues; Barcelona smashes Levante; and more



Bradford City is at it again.

This time it was Sunderland that fell victim to the Bantams’ FA Cup magic in a 2-0 loss in Bradford. The home team showed confidence in front of a sold-out crowd to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1976.

Whether it was the crowd, the occasion, or the unsightly pitch, Sunderland was never able to gain a foothold in the game. Despite naming a strong lineup – striker Danny Graham was the only rare name in the starting eleven – English League One side Bradford played the Black Cats off the field at times and were good for two goals.

The first came in just three minutes when a free kick fell to the feet of attacking midfielder Billy Clarke. His effort deflected off of Sunderland defender John O’Shea, leaving goalkeeper Vito Mannone flat-footed as the ball bounced into the net.

Then it was time for Bradford’s hero from the Chelsea win, Jon Stead, to score in the FA Cup once again. A poor clearance from Sunderland was recycled to Stead who easily fired past Mannone for a two-goal cushion.

Elsewhere in the FA Cup there were wins for both Aston Villa and Arsenal. Barcelona stayed one-point behind first place in Spain, while Inter Milan grabbed a second consecutive emphatic win in Serie A play.

Here is more from Sunday’s action across the top leagues in Europe:


Leave it to the competition’s masters to put a party crasher in its place.

Arsenal was dominant in a 2-0 win against Middlesbrough in their FA Cup fifth round match Sunday. Olivier Giroud scored twice within two minutes to send the cup holders into the quarterfinal round.

The Gunners named a strong lineup, perhaps wary of the team that defeated Manchester City in the last round. It showed when they had control of the game early, allowing Kieran Gibbs to take space in the left corner of the box and blaze a pass across goal.

Giroud was there to deflect the ball home, but his best came a few minutes later. Alexis Sanchez whipped a corner to the near-post, where the French striker guided the ball perfectly into the left side of the net.

Middlesbrough came out with intent in the second half, but Arsenal soon gained back control to settle for the two-goal advantage. The Gunners also used the game as an opportunity to give new signing Gabriel Paulista his first start in the center of defense.

Aston Villa beat Leicester City 2-1 in a battle between two Premier League strugglers. New Villa boss Tim Sherwood watched from the stands, but he may have picked up a few good notes from a pair of second-half goals from Leandro Bacuna and substitute Scott Sinclair.


Barcelona’s response to a somewhat lackluster Real Madrid win yesterday came at the expense of lowly Levante.

The Catalan club seemed to send a message that it wants to gun-down the La Liga title rivals in a 5-0 thrashing of its relegation-threatened opponents. Lionel Messi’s fourth hat-trick of the season led the way as Barcelona dominated with 76 percent of the possession.

Half of Barcelona’s shots on target sailed into the net, starting with some Messi-Neymar connections for a pair of first half goals. Messi found Neymar at the edge of the goal area for an easy finish to open the scoring 17 minutes into the game.

It was Messi’s turn in the 38th minute when Marc Bartra found him in the center of the box for a two goal lead. The Argentine playmaker found the net again in the 59th minute, and later converted a penalty to complete his

Luis Suarez came off the bench for Neymar in the second half and scored within six minutes for goal number five. Levante managed one shot on target in reply.

Elsewhere in Spain, Valencia jumped back into fourth place with a 1-0 win against Getafe. Alvaro Negredo’s converted penalty ensured Los Che took the final UEFA Champions League spot back from Sevilla.


Inter Milan is starting to enjoy February.

After three consecutive losses, Inter has responded with a pair of heavy-handed wins. The latest was a 4-1 win on the road against Atalanta on Sunday.

A third-minute goal from Xherdan Shaqiri opened proceedings, though Atalanta fought back initially through Maxi Moralez’s 28th minute strike. With the first half winding down, Fredy Guarin produced a curling, left-footed effort that sailed inside the far post that put Inter back on top.

Any chance for Atalanta to answer again ended with a moment of madness from Yohan Benalouane. The defender clattered into the back of Rodrigo Palacio for his first yellow card and subsequently argued his way into a second. With the man advantage, Inter soared.

Guarin grabbed his second 10 minutes after the sending off before Palacio added a fourth for good measure in the 73rd minute.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Lazio grabbed a valuable 1-0 win away to Udinese, while Chievo Verona pulled of an upset in a 2-1 win against seventh-place Sampdoria.

Here are more results from Italy:

AC Milan 1, Empoli 1

Atalanta 1, Inter Milan 4

Genoa 5, Hellas Verona 2

Roma 0, Parma 0

Torino 1, Cagliari 1

Udinese 0, Lazio 1

Chievo Verona 2, Sampdoria 1


Paderborn is finally back to winning ways.

A ten game winless run for the once surprise package in the Bundesliga ended with a 2-1 victory against Hannover on Sunday. The club will now concentrate on getting back to previous heights after being dragged into the relegation scrap.

Marcelo’s opener for Hannover looked to pile more misery on Paderborn, but this time there was a way out. Srdjan Lakic equalized in the 72nd minute before Alban Meha’s scored the winner just seven minutes later.

Elsewhere, American defender John Brooks played all of Hertha Berlin’s 2-0 loss to Freiburg. A goal either side of halftime put Freiburg just a point away from safety, even on points with Hertha in the relegation zone.


While Bordeaux and Saint Etienne may be someway off of the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot, there’s still a Europa League place to fight over.

Bordeaux jumped firmly back into that race with a 1-0 win against fourth-place Saint Etienne on Sunday. Striker Diego Rolan scored his seventh Ligue 1 goal of the season for the winner in the 42nd minute.

Guingamp took its stretch of games without a loss to six in a 2-0 win on the road against Metz.

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