Spain, Jan 14 (AP/UNB) — Lionel Messi took his all-time Spanish league scoring record to 400 goals on Sunday after contributing to a 3-0 win over Eibar to keep defending champion Barcelona comfortably at the top.
Messi scored Barcelona's second goal shortly after halftime to reach a milestone in the competition after 435 league matches. Former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo is second all-time in La Liga with 311 goals.
In all competitions, Barcelona says the 31-year-old Messi has scored an astonishing 575 goals in 658 appearances.
"He is from another galaxy," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "They are incredible numbers. But he does much more than score goals, he also does so much to generate scoring chances for others."
Barcelona's all-time top scorer got the landmark goal in the 53rd minute after Luis Suarez passed to him inside Eibar's area. The Argentine did the rest by opening an angle around a defender and driving in a low left-footed shot.
It was also Messi's league-leading 17th league goal and his 23rd goal overall this season.
"He should be proud," said Suarez, who scored Barcelona's other two goals. "Game after game he shows what a great player he is. I am happy for him and for the history that he is writing for this club."
Barcelona stayed five points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, which edged Levante 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Antoine Griezmann, as the league reached its midway point.
Real Madrid lost Karim Benzema to a right-hand injury in a 2-1 win at Real Betis to stay 10 points back in fourth place.
After 90-plus minutes of prowling the sideline, yelling at his players and stoking his fans, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone normally hurries off the pitch when the final whistle sounds.
But after the victory over Levante, Simeone took time to embrace each of his players — a show of appreciation for their efforts that kept Atletico in the title chase.
"I felt the need to hug them," Simeone said. "I congratulated them because they maintained the same level of play throughout the entire match."
Despite only scoring one goal, Simeone called it "one of, if not our best, performances of the season."
True to Simeone's defense-first approach, Atletico stifled a Levante attack that is among the best in the league.
Griezmann did the rest, scoring his team-leading ninth league goal of the season when he fired a spot kick over Levante goalkeeper Oier Olazabal in the 57th minute following a handball by defender Nikola Vukcevic.
Ceballos to the rescue
Dani Ceballos was greeted with jeers when he went on as a late Real Madrid substitute to face his former club, Real Betis.
But he silenced the crowd, and saved his current club from another setback, when he sent a free kick through a gap in the defensive wall to grab the win with two minutes remaining.
"I was eager to show what I can do," Ceballos said.
Luka Modric struck from distance to open the scoring for Madrid, only for Sergio Canales to equalize in the second half.
Sevilla lost 2-0 at Athletic Bilbao, ending its unbeaten run in nine rounds.
Bilbao forward Inaki Williams scored both goals for the hosts to help lift them out of the relegation zone.
Sevilla remained in third place, level on points with Madrid.
Sevilla had won 3-1 at Bilbao's San Mames Stadium in the Copa del Rey on Thursday. They will meet again on Wednesday in Seville in the return leg of their round-of-16 game.
Dhaka, Jan 13 (UNB) – Thirty players were picked up from Mymensingh Division to play in the proposed Sheikh Kamal U-20 National Football Championship scheduled for next April through a two-day selection process concluded on Sunday (Jan 13) at the Netrokona Adhunik Stadium.
A total of 30 players were finally selected for Mymensingh Division team among 60 participating booters, who appeared in the selection trail from four districts of Mymensingh Division, organized by Bangladesh District and Divisional Football Association (BDDFA) and sponsored by Saif Power Battery.
BDDFA secretary general Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin was the chief guest at the function and later distributed the “Yes Cards” among the selected players. Deputy Commissioner of Netrakona and president of Netrakona DFA Saif Khan Biplob also spoke on the occasion.
All the selected players will attend a 45-day training camp before the journey will kick-off in April next.
In his courtesy speech, Tarafder Md.Ruhul Amin urged all to contribute from their end for the development of the game in Bangladesh.
“Now-a-days the scenario of Bangladesh football is not very bright, BDDFA is working hard for the development of the game, I hope the main tournament will create the ‘stars of tomorrow’” he added.
The selected players are Ranjan, Shumon Barman, Zulkarnain, Rony, Mehedi, Gopal, Mahabud, Antor, Junaid, Rakib, Apel, Rajib Miah, Ashikur Rahman, Jewel Mia, Shamim Sarker, Hiron Miah, Rasel, Ekramul, Rocky Islam, Arpan, Jakir, Hemanta, Abdur Rashid. Mizanur,Hafiz. Ismail, Apu, Mamun, Ashik
Meanwhile, the proposed selection trial for Sylhet Division will be held on January 16-17 at Adhunik Stadium in Habiganj, Khulna Division on January 25-26 at Bir Shreshtha Nur Mohammad Stadium in Narail, Barisal Division on February 1-2 at Shaheed Abdur Rab Serniabad Stadium in Barisal, Dhaka Division on February 8-9 at Sheikh Jamal Stadium in Faridpur while Rajshahi Division on February 13-14 at Sankar Gobindha Chowdhury Stadium in Natore.
The players selection trial for Chattogram Division was held at MA Aziz Stadium on November 11-12 while the selection for Rangpur Division was made on November 23-24 at Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari.
Buenos Aires, Jan 13 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Argentine football legend Diego Maradona was recovering in hospital on Sunday after undergoing surgery to stem bleeding in his stomach.
The operation was scheduled earlier this month after doctors identified the problem during a routine medical check at the Olivos clinic on the outskirts of Argentina's capital Buenos Aires.
"Diego Maradona's surgical procedure is over," his lawyer Matias Morla said on Twitter. "Thank God everything went perfectly."
Reports in Argentine media said the condition was not serious and that the bleeding was caused by a hernia.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli forward has suffered a series of health problems since ending his playing career in 1997.
In 2004, he was hospitalized with severe heart and respiratory problems related to a long battle with drug addiction. He has also undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse.
United Arab Emirates, Jan 13 (AP/UNB) — Iran and Iraq advanced to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup on Saturday with a game to spare.
Three-time champion Iran beat Vietnam 2-0 and secured its spot in the round of 16 when 2015 semifinalist Iraq beat Yemen 3-0 in another Group D game.
Another three-time champion, Saudi Arabia, moved closer to gaining its spot in the next round after beating Lebanon 2-0 in Group E.
With two wins each, Iran and Iraq meet in Dubai on Wednesday to decide the group winner.
Saudi Arabia meets Qatar on Thursday to close the group stage in a highly charged game amid the political tensions between the two nations.
The top two teams in each group and the four best third-placed teams advance to the round of 16.
It was a record ninth successive victory for Iran in Asian Cup group matches. Asia's top-ranked team has dominated possession and looked comfortable in its opening two games, scoring seven goals without conceding.
Iran's Sardar Azmoun took care of the goals against Vietnam, scoring in each half.
Saman Ghoddos crossed for the forward to put Iran ahead with a close-range header before halftime. Azmoun added his second in the 69th with a left-footed strike from the middle of the box for his third goal at the tournament.
Vietnam lost a second straight match after falling to Iraq 3-2.
Iran is led by former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, who is chasing a major title with Iran after eight years in charge.
In Sharjah, Mohanad Ali Kadhim and Bashar Resan Bonyan scored with low shots from outside of the area early in the first half to give Iraq a comfortable advantage against Yemen. Substitute Alaa Abbas sealed it in second-half injury time.
Yemen and Vietnam are pointless and will fight for third place in Al Ain on Wednesday.
In Dubai, Fahad Al Muwallad opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game and Hussain Almoqahwi doubled the lead in the 67th.
With two wins from two, Saudi Arabia leads Group E with six points and could advance with a game in hand if North Korea fails to beat Qatar on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia won its opening two games at the Asian Cup for the first time since 1996, when it last won the title.
After two defeats, Lebanon faces a must win against North Korea to have a chance to make it to the next round.
London, Jan 13(AP/UNB) — Trailing 1-0 in a dreary London derby, what Arsenal manager Unai Emery needed was a creative spark to inspire a comeback at West Ham.
Mesut Ozil, perhaps? The playmaker wasn't in the starting lineup, but he wasn't on the bench either. And he was not injured.
Arsenal's highest-paid player — reputedly earning 350,000 pounds a week — wasn't in Emery's tactical plans so didn't make the trip across London to the Olympic stadium.
"I decided the idea of the players that I think are the best for this match," Emery said. "Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could've won or lost."
But Arsenal lost — for the third time in six English Premier League matches — after Declan Rice's first goal for West Ham three minutes into the second half earned the victory.
"We tried for the reaction after the goal, but could not be efficient to create a goal," Emery said. "We need more, to recover our play."
Recovering league positions is proving harder. Fifth-place Arsenal fell six points behind Chelsea, which extended its grip on the fourth and final Champions League place after laboring to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle.
Wining the Europa League — something Emery achieved three times at Sevilla — might be Arsenal's only route back into the Champions League. In Emery's first season in charge, Arsenal is only two points better off after 22 games than in Arsene Wenger's final campaign.
Without a Premier League title since 2004, Arsenal looks far from being a contender anytime soon.
Liverpool, though, is well placed to end its 29-year league drought. After the leader's unbeaten start was ended by Manchester City and then it was knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liverpool beat Brighton 1-0 thanks to Mohamed Salah. The African player of the year netted a penalty four minutes into the second half after being brought down by Pascal Gross.
It put Liverpool seven points ahead of City ahead of the champion playing Wolves on Monday.
"It was not the best performance of the season in a few departments but from a maturity point of view, I would say it is the most mature performance in the season," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. "We are not the Harlem Globetrotters. We have to deliver results."
After being linked with a departure from Stamford Bridge, Willian insisted his "future is at Chelsea" after curling a winner into the top corner of the Newcastle goal in the 57th minute.
Chelsea should have completed the job far sooner against a struggling team after Pedro Rodriguez netted the opener in the ninth minute. But Ciaran Clark equalized in the 40th minute after leaping to reach Matt Ritchie's corner and heading past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
"It was difficult to kill the match," Willian said. "We have to be more clinical, but we have the quality to do it."
Newcastle dropped into the relegation zone, a point from safety.
On the rise
Southampton is out of the bottom three after winning at Leicester 2-1. James Ward-Prowse's penalty and Shane Long's first goal in nine months earned Southampton a fourth win of the season — three of them coming in the month since Ralph Hasenhuettl replaced fired coach Mark Hughes.
Tom Cleverley scored from a volley as Watford came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and rise to seventh place.
Last-place Huddersfield was initially awarded a penalty at Cardiff after Florent Hadergjonaj fell in the box. But it was overturned after protests by Cardiff players and the game ended 0-0.
Fulham remains three points ahead of Huddersfield in next-to-last place. The London club led at Burnley through Andre Schuerrle's second-minute strike before conceding two own-goals in three minutes to hand Burnley a 2-1 victory. Jeff Hendrick's strike went in off Joe Bryan and his cross was inadvertently headed in by Denis Odoi to lift Burnley three points clear of the relegation zone.
Third-place Tottenham on Sunday hosts a Manchester United side enjoying a five-game winning streak in all competitions since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho.
Bournemouth is at Everton.