LINFIELD took a significant step towards regaining the Gibson Cup on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Institute 2-0 at Windsor Park while nearest rivals Ballymena United went down by the same scoreline at home to Glentoran.
Danske Bank Premiership: Ards v Warrenpoint Town (today, Clandeboye Park, 3pm) WARRENPOINT Town manager Stephen McDonnell believes that today’s trip to Ards is their most crucial league game of the season to date.
OLIVIER Giroud plundered a hat-trick as Chelsea marched into the Europa League quarter-finals with a 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. The 2013 winners were relentless as they extended their aggregate lead to 8-0 with the Frenchman taking his tally in this season's competition to nine goals in as many games. Giroud needed less than five minutes to extend his side's 3-0 first-leg advantage with a tap-in after Willian's corner had been flicked on, and he doubled his tally 12 minutes before the break when he converted Marcos Alonso's inviting cross. Alonso himself put the visitors in total control with a third on the stroke of half-time and Giroud completed his treble as he headed Willian's 59th-minute free-kick past goalkeeper Denys Boyko before Callum Hudson-Odoi rounded off the win late on. Goncalo Guedes emerged from the bench in Russia to rescue Valencia with an injury-time goal as Krasnodar came within seconds of a famous victory. Fellow substitute Shapi Suleymanov looked to have blasted the Champions League drop-outs out of the competition with an 85th-minute strike, but Guedes' equaliser three minutes into added time made it 3-2 on aggregate. Italian outfit Napoli survived a concerted fightback as they went through despite losing 3-1 at Red Bull Salzburg. Arkadiusz Milik extended the visitors' aggregate lead to 4-0 with a close-range 14th-minute finish, although Salzburg were level on the night within 11 minutes when Munas Dabour fired home. The Austrian champions, who went into the game undefeated in 17 European fixtures on their own ground, gave themselves hope when substitute Fredrik Gulbrandsen struck with 25 minutes remaining but although Christoph Leitgeb reduced the deficit further in stoppage time, Napoli held on for a 4-3 aggregate win. .
AN EMAIL error (the following information was meant to be sent to ‘The (so-called) Independent’) has revealed shocking news which will surely dismay almost all followers of English soccer: The Premier League is to switch all major matches involving Chelsea to Wembley.
WEST Belfast primary school Vere Foster are on a high this morning after 11-year-old Jonathan Rooney became the first player from the school to be selected to play for Northern Ireland at schoolboy level.
** NO BYLINE ** Danske Bank Premiership (All games today, 3pm) Cliftonville v Institute PADDY McLaughlin goes head-to-head with his old club this afternoon, and Institute will be hoping they can give him a migraine.
THERE are some abiding images that will never dim with time: PSG’s Angel Di Maria pretending to drink out of a bottle of beer at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago; the other, the gaunt, ghostly look on his face after Marcus Rashford crashed home the winning penalty - courtesy of VAR – that gave Manchester United one of the most unlikely and dramatic victories in the entire history of the Champions League.