Soccer

Suarez nets four as Barca cruises

AP

Spain

Luis Suarez continued his goal splurge by scoring four times to help Barcelona stay atop the Spanish league on Saturday, while Real Madrid needed a stellar performance from Gareth Bale to remain in the title hunt.

Suarez scored his eighth goal in four days to fuel a 6-0 rout of Sporting Gijon, following another four-goal outing in an 8-0 destruction of Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday. The Spanish league said Suarez is the first player to ever score four goals in back-to-back matches.

While Bale managed only half as many, his two goals were critical to lead a 3-2 fightback at Rayo Vallecano in a match Madrid entered without Cristiano Ronaldo and finished without Karim Benzema due to leg injuries.

Barcelona stayed level on points with Atletico Madrid, which ground out another no-nonsense win, 1-0 over Malaga, following the sending off of coach Diego Simeone at halftime.

Madrid remained a point behind in third place with three rounds left. Barcelona holds tiebreakers against both challengers and will get more rest while Atletico and Madrid appear in the Champions League semifinals.

With back-to-back wins by a combined score of 14-0, Barcelona has reestablished its command of a competition it looked set to win easily before a stunning run of four rounds without a win threw the race open.

“We have turned around a very negative dynamic,” Barcelona manager Luis Enrique said. “Of the three title candidates, we are in the best position, but we have no margin for error.”

Suarez’s goals at Camp Nou, which all came in the second half and twice from the penalty spot, took him to the top of the league scorers’ list with 34, moving past Ronaldo’s 31.

“I had never done this, not even in practice,” Suarez said. “I am not obsessed with scoring goals, but they are more than welcomed if they help the team toward its goal of the league title.”

United moves into final

London AP

Anthony Martial darted through the Everton defense, slotted in Manchester United’s winner and continued his run past the Wembley Stadium stewards before launching himself into the crowd.

It was a flash of pure elation after being so cool under pressure to score in the third minute of stoppage time to send United into its first F.A. Cup final in nine years with a 2-1 victory over Everton.

Martial’s match-winning moment demonstrated why United was willing to commit up to €80 million ($90 million) last year on acquiring a largely unproven teenager who is now 20 and a France international forward.

“When you see the joy in the eyes of the players, that is fantastic to see but also for the fans,” United manager Louis van Gaal said.

In the Premier League matches crosstown rival Manchester City, a point ahead of United in fourth place, beat Stoke 4-0.

Newcastle remained in the relegation zone despite coming from behind to draw 2-2 at Liverpool.

Deposed champion Chelsea cruised to a 4-1 victory at Bournemouth, which has already secured a second season in the Premier League.

Dusan Tadic scored twice in a 4-2 victory for seventh-place Southampton, between headers from Shane Long and Sadio Mane.

PSG defeats Lille

Paris AP

Angel Di Maria scored with his side down to 10 men as Paris Saint-Germain beat Lille 2-1 to win the French League Cup on Saturday and remain on course to defend its domestic treble.

French champion PSG can repeat the treble by beating bitter rival Marseille in the French Cup final on May 21.

“Even down to 10 players my players want to win. Maybe the team that dealt better with the pressure won,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. “We can still have a great season. I hope my players keep their concentration in the weeks to come.”