European football round-up: Lazio narrow gap on Juventus

New Deportivo La Coruna manager Domingos enjoyed a winning start with victory over Malaga, while lowly Rouen dumped Ajaccio from the Coupe de France.

ITALY

Lazio cut Serie A leaders Juventus' lead to five points with a 2-1 home win over struggling Cagliari.

It took a late penalty from Alvaro Candreva to decide the outcome, with Cagliari having two men sent off after the spot-kick was awarded.

Goalkeeper Michael Agazzi was dismissed first, receiving his second yellow card of the game for the foul on Miroslav Klose that resulted in the penalty, and for protesting excessively midfielder Andrea Cossu was also ordered off.

Cagliari had gone ahead after 62 minutes when Marco Sau struck, but Abdoulay Konko levelled 10 minutes from the end and in the 86th minute Candreva secured all three points for second-placed Lazio.

Juventus still have a comfortable cushion, and can restore their eight-point advantage when they tackle Sampdoria in Turin later today.

Earlier, Catania and Torino shared a tame goalless draw at the Stadio Massimino in the first Serie A game of 2013.

The Sicilians held on for a point, despite playing nearly the full game with only 10 men following an early red card for Francesco Lodi, who lashed out in retaliation towards Riccardo Meggiorini and receiving his marching orders from referee Mauro Bergonzi.

Catania squandered a penalty when Gonzalo Bergessio sent his kick against the crossbar.

SPAIN

Deportivo La Coruna gave new manager Domingos a winning start as the struggling team beat high-flying Malaga to move closer to an escape from the Primera Liga relegation zone.

A first win since early November for the Galicians was secured by a goal from Pizzi 12 minutes into the second half, when he turned Martin Demichelis before sending a shot high past goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

Deportivo remain in the relegation zone only on goal difference, while Malaga stay in fourth place, level on points with Real Betis who beat Real Zaragoza last night.

Levante are in pursuit of Malaga and are just one point behind now after coming from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Athletic's Aritz Aduriz headed in Andoni Iraola's cross for his 15th goal of the season early on, but Levante levelled with a thunderous strike from Christian Lell.

Athletic were reduced to 10 men after Aymeric Laporte fouled Roger to deny him a clear run on goal, and Levante made their man advantage count almost immediately as Vicente Iborra scored to give the hosts a 2-1 interval lead. Levante made the points safe in the 70th minute when Nabil El-Zhar drilled in a low drive.

Valencia began the year positively as second-half goals from Jonas and Pablo Piatti helped them come from behind to beat Granada 2-1.

Granada had Mikel Rico sent off shortly after the half-hour mark but went ahead four minutes into the second half when Brayan Angulo volleyed in.

Jonas headed an equaliser from a corner delivered by Piatti, who then redirected Roberto Soldado's cross-shot into an empty net eight minutes from time.

Valencia climbed to seventh place, with Granada still just a point above the relegation zone.

Sevilla eased their relegation concerns with a 1-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Osasuna in the final match of the day.

Defender Emir Spahic scored the only goal, after 83 minutes, to haul Sevilla seven points clear of the bottom three.

FRANCE

Ajaccio were dumped out of the Coupe de France on penalties by third-tier Rouen.

The Ligue 1 strugglers needed an 88th-minute equaliser from Wilfried Zahibo simply to force extra-time, Rouen having led after Zahir Zerdab won and hammered home a 63rd-minute free kick.

But Rouen won 3-2 on penalties, Theo Defourny with the decisive save from David Gigliotti after Julien Jahier scored Rouen's fifth penalty.

Evian almost suffered the same fate, only edging past fourth-tier Amiens on spot-kicks after leaving it even later in normal time.

Elhadji Mady Keita fired Amiens ahead and was only denied a second by a brilliant save from Bertrand Laquait before Evian equalised through Aldo Angoula deep in injury time and won 5-3 on penalties.

Reims suffered a 1-0 defeat to fourth-tier Plabennec, Steven Coat with the only goal in the 27th minute.

Lille held off a second-half fightback to beat Nimes 3-2.

A strong Lille side led 3-0 after 52 minutes thanks to goals from Dimitri Payet, Florent Balmont and Nolan Roux, but replies from Vincent Gragnic and Seydou Kone made for a nervous Grand Stade Metropole in the last 20 minutes.

There were 1-0 wins on the road for three other top-flight teams, Sochaux, Toulouse and Troyes.

Substitute Sloan Privat saw Sochaux past fifth-tier Thaon, seizing on a defensive lapse to score with a deflected shot in the 74th minute.

Emmanuel Riviere's 59th-minute goal earned Toulouse victory away to Ligue 2 Boulogne, and Troyes edged out Montceau thanks to Fabien Camus' 40th-minute free kick.

Nancy, bottom of Ligue 1, took the opportunity of some light relief in the cup with their first win since the opening day of the season.

Benjamin Moukandjo eliminated any threat of an upset against fifth-tier Dreux with two goals in the first 10 minutes, and Djamel Bakar and Thomas Ayasse made it 4-0 at half-time.

There was understandably little urgency from the top-flight side in the second period and Hicham Tabate pulled a goal back, but Paul Alo'o Efoulou made it 5-1 in stoppage time.

Lorient downed Chauray by the same score line, Julien Quercia scoring twice.

Le Mans were beaten 2-1 by Le Poire, with Kevin Lefaix netting a late winner, and Riyad Mahrez and Walid Mesloub scored in injury time to earn another Ligue 2 side, Le Havre, a dramatic 3-1 win at Belfort.

Elsewhere, there were wins on penalties for Moulins, Venissieu and Vertou in their respective away ties against Marseille Consolat, Savigneux Montbrison and St Malo.

Raon-l'Etape beat Amneville 2-1 thanks to an extra-time winner from Tresor Nyamwisi, Amneville having forced extra-time with a late Mohamed Belameiri penalty, while Baldy Dia's goal earned Bordeaux Stade a 1-0 win over Carquefou.

PORTUGAL

Porto moved level on points with Benfica at the top of the Portuguese Liga with a 1-0 win at home to struggling Nacional.

Jackson Martinez scored the only goal of the game in the 24th minute.

Sporting Lisbon, fifth from bottom, slipped to another defeat, going down 1-0 at home to Pacos Ferreira, Christopher Hurtado with the goal after 45 minutes.

Edinho scored a hat-trick as Academica won 4-2 at home to relegation-threatened Vitoria Setúbal.

The treble followed an opener from Salim Cisse.

Academica were 3-0 up at the break before Cristiano and Albert Ze Meyong with a penalty pulled it back to 3-2, but Edinho's third six minutes from time ended the fightback.

Olhanense had two players sent off but still won 1-0 at Rio Ave.

Tiago Targino put the visitors ahead in the 72nd minute and, even though they then had Rui Duarte (76) and Vasco Fernandes (88) dismissed, they held on for victory.

Elsewhere, Gil Vicente and Guimaraes drew 0-0.

Follow us

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS