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ts clear of Real Sociedad and kept it in com

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    9 февраля 2018 г. 5:44:08 MSK

    BARCELONA, Spain - Athletic Bilbao strengthened its hold on fourth place in the Spanish league by winning 2-0 at Real Betis on Sunday after the bottom side had two players dismissed. Tyson Ross Jersey . Bilbaos first victory in four rounds lifted it four points clear of Real Sociedad and kept it in command of Spains last Champions League berth for next season. In contrast, Betis was left 11 points from safety after a dismal performance that at times bordered on self-destruction amid some questionable refereeing decisions. Seconds after Betis Ruben Castro was booked for diving in the area, Bilbao forward Iker Muniain scored from a spot kick in the 34th minute after Damien Perquis tripped Kike Sola from behind on the edge of the area. Another reckless tackle by Perquis earned him a second yellow card in the 41st to completely deflate the crowd at Benito Villamarin Stadium. Betis was left with nine men from the 58th when Lorenzo Reyes handled the ball after he had already been booked for arguing. Bilbao squandered several scoring chances until substitute Guillermo Fernandez headed in the first ball he touched in the 81st. Betis has won one game in the last 18 rounds despite having three different coaches this season. "It was an ugly game," said Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde. "My team pulled out a win thanks to the setbacks suffered by the other side. Playing against nine I still had the sensation that the game was evenly matched. Our forwards could have done a little more for us." Also, Valencia and Sevilla both won to move to within five points of sixth place and Spains last Europa League spot. Valencia needed an injury-time goal from 19-year-old defender Ruben Vezo in his first start to complete a 2-1 comeback win at home over a feisty Granada. Francisco "Piti" Medina put Granada ahead in the 47th, but as the visitors tired Valencia substitute Paco Alcacer tapped in Sofiane Feghoulis pass to level in the 64th. Valencia kept pressing and Vezo volleyed in a free kick headed on by a defender to claim the hard-fought win. Sevilla won 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano to end a six-game winless streak. After a drab first half by both sides, fullback Jorge "Coke" Andujar headed home Ivan Rakitics free kick to grab the 57th-minute winner at Vallecas Stadium. Unai Emerys team played the last seven minutes with 10 men after Vicente Iborra received his second booking for taking too long to leave the pitch after receiving medical assistance. Rayo remained in second-to-last place and five points from safety after conceding its league worst 59th goal in 25 games. "This was not a day to lose," Rayo defender Jose Castro said. Delino DeShields Jersey . While Chelsea stayed two points behind leader Arsenal courtesy of Etoos hat trick, seventh-place United slipped 14 points from the summit this weekend. And the gap from the Champions League places is growing as well, with Liverpool six points ahead in fourth. Andrew Cashner Jersey . Alexander was released last week by the Edmonton Eskimos, where he spent the past three seasons at safety. He had 121 defensive tackles, five special teams tackles and seven interceptions in 51 regular-season and three playoff games.NICOSIA, Cyprus -- It wasnt the result he wanted but John Herdman was pretty happy about how Canada finished the Cyprus Cup womens soccer tournament. Diana Matheson and Sophie Schmidt scored second-half goals as Canada rallied for a 2-1 win over Ireland to secure fifth place. It marked the first time in six years the Canadians hadnt reached the tournament final, but Herdman was encouraged by how his team dealt with that adversity. "The team showed a real resilience and that second-half performance was just phenomenal," he said. "This is a very unique group of women, when the chips are down they really can pull it out of the bag. "You think theyre out and then they come back and keep fighting but I thought the second half wasnt just about fight. They played just some wonderful football. The Irish were on the rocks for 45 minutes and we knew it was just a matter of time." Ireland opened the scoring early in the first half before Matheson tied it at the 56-minute mark. Schmidt highlighted a wild finish, scoring at the 90-minute mark. Canada, ranked seventh in the world, has traditionally fared well in this event. The national team won the tournament three times and was a finalist the last two years. But that streak ended with a 2-0 loss to England on Monday. And considering all the Canadians needed to advance was a draw, Herdman admitted the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow. "Absolutely," he said. "In previous tournaments we dodged the bullet of having England or France in our qualifying group and when we ended up (with England) in our group, we knew that was the game that was going to make the difference. "Getting the girls up for this one was tough because we were pretty devastated. But we tried to focus on this being a World Cup and just losing the final game in our group but still having qualified with another game to play and what strategies wed have to put in place to get things pulled around and in focus. It was a pretty good two days for our team." Despite the fifth-place finish, Herdman said the Canadian team learned many valuable lessons at the tournament. "We struggled, and Ill tell you why we did against the English and Irish defensive tactics," Herdman said. "The English held a really deep defensive block and hit us on the counter-attack, they just preyed on our sloppy play and within seconds were firing shots or crosses and I think that was the real learning this year. "Against a zone or 4-4-2 we did well, we did well against Italys 3-5-2 but against that deep 4-5-1 block, which is also what the Irish did, we struggled. Carlos Gomez Jersey. . But what was exciting about that last game was we were able to get hold of a tactic and the players really made a big push." The 2014 and 15 seasons are big ones for Canadian womens soccer. In August, the world under-20 tournament will be held in four cities -- Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto. Then in 2015, Canada will host the womens World Cup with games in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. And following Canadas stirring bronze medal victory at the 2012 London Summer Games, there will be plenty of expectations on the national teams shoulders in 2015. That fact certainly isnt lost on Herdman, who said the squad has a definite plan in place. "Its always been said Canadians are great in the power phase, theyre good at defending and theyre good at the counter-attack," he said. "But the ability to control and develop possession through the thirds of the pitch, thats the strand thats been missing. "Weve put a massive amount of focus in that and at times it has been to our detriment. We couldve went into the England game and said, Look, well drop a deep block, well launch it from the keeper every time we get it because the only focus is about winning the tournament, but we didnt. We played our way." Herdman said playing their way meant a definite eye to the future and not just another solid Cyprus Cup showing. "If we were going to win the tournament, we were going to win it a certain way that would also help us be more successful against teams in the womens World Cup playing a brand these girls wanted to be recognized for," Herdman said. "Even after we went up 2-1 against the Irish, the girls were still doing things trying to play a certain style of football where normally youd try to kill a game off. "At this stage of our development I think thats OK but when it comes down to the World Cup, well be in a stage where we know how to play those games like we did at the Olympics." So for Herdman, his measurement for success at the Cyprus Cup goes way beyond wins and losses. "I think we definitely got better, our statistics were way better than theyve ever been," he said. "There are things we wanted to work on post-Olympics to get the team ready for 2015 and those have improved. "Its just now chemistry and understanding when we play our way how that fits against the models of other teams. 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