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mardi 25 février 2014

 Borussia Dortmund struck twice in the first five minutes and Robert Lewandowski grabbed a second-half double as last season's Champions League runners-up won 4-2 at Zenit St Petersburg in their last 16, first-leg tie on Tuesday.

Dortmund got off to a flying start when Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus scored two quickfire goals to stun Zenit, who were playing their first competitive game since the two-month winter break.

A dramatic second-half spell saw four goals in 14 minutes as Oleg Shatov and Hulk, with a penalty, scored for Zenit and Lewandowski quickly replied each time for the visitors.

Zenit, who are trying to reach the quarter-finals for the first time, were left with an almost impossible task of having to score at least three goals in the return on March 19.

Zenit were quickly in trouble as Reus burst into the area and, although he stumbled, the ball ran kindly to Mkhitaryan and the Armenian fired the ball past Yuri Lodygin.

The Zenit goalkeeper had to pick the ball out of his net again 70 seconds later after Mkhitaryan burst down the right and found Kevin Grosskreutz who laid the ball off for Reus to score with a clinical first-time finish.

Zenit were penned back in their own half and their problems mounted when midfielder Andrey Arshavin went off injured and was replaced by Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.

Dortmund began the second half on the attack as their Poland striker Lewandowski had a powerful shot turned around the post by Lodygin.

The Russians reduced the deficit in the 57th minute with a scrambled goal when Oleg Shatov fired home from the rebound after Jose Salomon Rondon had one effort headed away and then hit the post.

Lewandowski restored Dortmund's two-goal advantage four minutes later after combining with compatriot Lukasz Piszczek in a counter-attack down the right.

Hulk pulled another back for the hosts with a controversial penalty in the 69th minute, awarded after Viktor Fayzulin dribbled into the area and collided with Piszczek.

But Zenit gifted Dortmund another goal when Tymoshchuk was dispossessed in his own half by Reus, who slipped the ball through for Lewandowski to score with a low, angled shot.

lundi 10 février 2014

Lionel Messi netted a superb double as Barcelona came from a goal down to secure a 4-1 win at rain-lashed Sevilla on Sunday that lifted the champions back to the top of La Liga.

Barca's defeat at home to Valencia last weekend meant they surrendered the lead for the first time since the beginning of last season and allowed Atletico Madrid to climb above them into first place.

Atletico crashed to a shock 2-0 reverse at promoted Almeria on Saturday and Real Madrid, 4-2 winners at home to Villarreal, were the overnight leaders.

Barca's victory at the Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville means the top three all have 57 points with 15 matches left, with Barca leading Real on goal difference and Atletico in third.

Barca started shakily on a foul night in Andalusia and looked in trouble when Alberto Moreno's deflected shot put Sevilla ahead in the 15th minute.

The home side had two more clear chances, with Carlos Bacca nodding against a post, before Alexis Sanchez levelled with a header from a Messi free kick in the 34th minute.

Messi, who looks to be getting back into his stride after a two-month injury layoff, fired Barca ahead with a typically brilliant effort 10 minutes later.

With the rain beating down and puddles dotting the playing surface, he picked up the ball on the edge of the area and lashed it into the far corner.

Sevilla had a couple of chances early in the second half before Messi's second in the 56th.

Andres Iniesta skipped through the centre and fed the Argentina forward, who took one touch before sidefooting in off a post.

Cesc Fabregas came off the bench and scored a delightful dinked effort to finish off a move he started two minutes from time.

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