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Friday, March 26, 2010

Eto'o stars as Inter blanks Livorno

ROME (AP) Samuel Eto'o scored twice — his second goal coming with a spectacular scissor kick — and Inter Milan beat Livorno 3-0 on Wednesday night to restore a four-point lead in Serie A.

News photo
The main man: Barcelona's Lionel Messi moves for the ball against Osasuna in Spanish League action on Wednesday night at Nou Camp. Barcelona won 2-0. AP PHOTO

Last week, Eto'o scored a key goal against Chelsea to ensure Inter's spot in the Champions League quarterfinals, but he hadn't found the target in league action since Dec. 20.

Last-place Livorno threatened more until Eto'o was given time to line up an angled shot in the 36th minute for his opening score at San Siro. Five minutes later, the Cameroon international took a pass from Goran Pandev and threw himself around in the air, befuddling Livorno's defense with his acrobatic goal.

"This result gives us some breathing room. Before the game we knew it wouldn't be easy, not just because of the opponent, but also considering the tough time we've had in the league lately, and for the pressure applied by the teams behind us," Inter defender Ivan Cordoba said. "But we started the game well and continued to play well until the end."

Eto'o, who swapped places with Zlatan Ibrahimovic going to Barcelona in the offseason, now has 10 goals in the Serie A this season.

"There was a period in which he was having some trouble, but now he's back to being the Eto'o we all know," Cordoba said.

Brazil right-back Maicon made it 3-0 with a sharply angled shot in the 61st.

Inter welcomed back defender Christian Chivu to the lineup, 77 days after he fractured his skull.

Inter leads with 63 points. AS Roma won 2-0 at Bologna to tie AC Milan for second with 59 points each.

Milan allowed a 90th-minute score from Valeri Bojinov in a 1-0 loss at Parma.

Spurs make semis

LONDON (AP) Tottenham staged a second-half comeback to reach the F.A. Cup semifinals with a 3-1 victory over Fulham in a replay on Wednesday night.

Bobby Zamora got his 17th goal of the season in the 17th minute at White Hart Lane, but David Bentley entered as a substitute at the start of the second half and curled a free kick past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer 90 seconds later.

Roman Pavlyuchenko replaced injured defender Vedran Corluka in the 53rd and put Tottenham ahead in the 60th when he volleyed in Bentley's cross.

Eidur Gudjohnsen ensured a berth at Wembley in the semifinals against Portsmouth on April 11 by latching onto Luka Modric's ball six minutes later and rounding Schwarzer.

Tottenham's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were boosted when Manchester City lost 2-0 to visiting Everton in the Premier League.

Tim Cahill scored off Leighton Baines' cross in the 33rd and Mikel Arteta added a goal in the 85th, sending Man City to its first home loss of the season.

Chelsea won 5-0 at last-place Portsmouth, going ahead in the 32nd minute when Pompey goalkeeper David James came out for a routine clearance and missed the ball, allowing Didier Drogba to tap in.

Drogba added his 24th league goal of the season, Florent Malouda also scored twice and Drogba set up Frank Lampard's header in stoppage time.

Portsmouth's Ricardo Rocha was carried off with a suspected fractured cheekbone following a clash with Malouda.

Barca in sole lead

MADRID (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bojan Krkic scored as Barcelona beat Osasuna 2-0 to provisionally go three points clear at the top of the Spanish League Wednesday.

The Sweden striker stretched to tap Maxwell's cross in from close range in the 72nd minute, his first goal in open play since Feb. 14.

Krkic, who replaced Ibrahimovic for the last 20 minutes, met Andres Iniesta's cross in the 88th to make sure of the win.

Barcelona has 71 points, with Real Madrid on 68 ahead of its visit to Getafe on Thursday.

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