Friedel comes up big late as Blackburn, Arsenal tie

February 17, 2007

LONDON -- U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel made three big saves in the last 6 minutes and Blackburn held Arsenal to a scoreless draw in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, when Reading drew Manchester United 1-1.

Chelsea cruised into the quarterfinals with a 4-0 victory over League Championship club Norwich, and Watford, last in the English Premier League, edged another second-tier club, beating Ipswich 1-0.

Middlesbrough tied 2-2 at home against championship club West Bromwich Albion, which twice rallied at the Riverside stadium.

Friedel kept out shots from Tomas Rosicky, Thierry Henry and Justin Hoyte to set up a rematch at Blackburn on Feb. 28.

Blackburn was ecstatic with the result after losing its previous match at Emirates Stadium 6-2 in December.

"The last time we came here we took six," Friedel said. "We wanted to impose ourselves defensively. We were not at our best against Leverkusen and I was really pleased to see the lads play like that today.

"It wasn't true Blackburn Rovers -- we have been far more attacking -- but we had to tighten up at the back and we did that today."

Man United went ahead with the final kick of the first half, Michael Carrick's 25-yard shot. Reading, which started many of its reserves, leveled in the 67th on Brynjar Gunnarsson's header.

Spain
MADRID -- David Beckham was ejected in injury time and Real Madrid drew Real Betis 0-0, continuing its poor form at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the Spanish league.

Beckham, making his 150th appearance for Madrid, felled Betis substitute Isidoro Gomez with a wild tackle from behind on the edge of Betis' penalty area -- after receiving a challenge in which Beckham claimed a penalty.

Beckham, who joins the Los Angeles Galaxy in August, was playing his first home game for nearly two months after his recent recall by coach Fabio Capello.

"I think the referee was too hasty in sending Beckham off," Capello said. "I've just seen it again on TV and it doesn't seem a foul which was serious enough to get a red card. Referees -- let's leave it like this -- don't help us at the Bernabeu."

Madrid has won only five of 11 games at its stadium this season, scoring 12 goals for the worst total in its history.

Madrid stayed in third place, four points behind leader FC Barcelona, which visits Valencia on Sunday.

Barcelona has 46 points and Sevilla 43. Madrid is next with 42 points, three more than Valencia and Atletico.

In Saturday's late game, Zaragoza beat Villarreal 1-0.

Italy
MILAN -- Ronaldo scored twice and set up another goal to help AC Milan beat Siena 4-3 in the Serie A.

The Brazil forward opened with a header in the 15th minute and tapped in his second goal with 9 minutes to play. He set up partner Ricardo Oliveira in the 28th.

Massimo Ambrosini scored Milan's winner in the 90th, a minute after Massimo Maccarone equalized for Siena.

Simone Vergassola and Maccarone also leveled the scores in the 19th and 30th.

City rival Inter Milan beat Cagliari 1-0 for the Nerazzurri's 16th straight Serie A victory, and extend its lead atop the division to 14 points, after 10-man Empoli hung on to beat second-place AS Roma 1-0.

Inter has 63 points, followed by Roma with 49, and Palermo with 42. Palermo plays Chievo Verona on Sunday.

Germany
BERLIN -- Diego Klimowicz equalized in the 89th minute to give VfL Wolfsburg a 2-2 draw against Bundesliga leader Schalke, which missed a chance to set a club record with seven straight wins.

Schalke wasted an early 2-0 lead from two Kevin Kuranyi goals, as Klimowicz answered twice with headers.

Bayern Munich lost to Alemannia Aachen 1-0 and Werder Bremen was defeated by Hamburger SV 2-0.

With 12 rounds left, Schalke is first with 49 points. Stuttgart has 44, Bremen is third with 42, and Bayern has 37.

France
PARIS -- Marcio Santos Alvaro scored one goal and created another in Sochaux's 2-0 win over Le Mans in the French league.

Sochaux has 39 points from 25 rounds and is a point ahead of fifth-place Toulouse, which secured a 1-0 win at Lorient with a penalty from Paulo Cesar.

Lyon, which tops the standings with 57 points, won 2-1 at Lille on Friday. Lens, which is 14 points behind Lyon in second, plays Monaco on Sunday.

Scotland
GLASGOW -- Shunsuke Nakamura set up one goal and scored another to give Celtic a 2-1 win at Aberdeen that moved it to within four victories of retaining its Scottish league title.

The Japan midfielder provided the pass that sent Craig Beattie clear to score in the 9th minute and then, in the 20th, hit a free kick.

It was Celtic's 22nd league victory of the season and coach Gordon Strachan's team will keep the title if it wins four of its remaining 10 matches.

Netherlands
AMSTERDAM -- Peru striker Jefferson Farfan scored his 15th goal of the season to help PSV Eindhoven beat Heracles Almelo 2-0 in the Dutch first division.

PSV leads the standings with 60 points, six ahead of Ajax, which hosts Excelsior Rotterdam on Sunday.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press