BREAKING NEWS: RB Leipzig secure signing of Olmo from Dinamo Zagreb

By Sports Desk January 25, 2020

Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig have completed the signing of Dinamo Zagreb playmaker Dani Olmo on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

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  • Barca eyeing Copa del Rey glory as Koeman's men chase down Atletico in LaLiga Barca eyeing Copa del Rey glory as Koeman's men chase down Atletico in LaLiga

    Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman said his team are trying to win the Copa del Rey as they attempt to overhaul LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid.

    Barca came from behind to beat second-tier side Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in Wednesday's last-16 showdown in the Copa del Rey.

    Fran Garcia gave Vallecano a 63rd-minute lead before Lionel Messi equalised six minutes later and Frenkie de Jong completed Barca's comeback 10 minutes from time midweek.

    It has been a challenging season for Barca amid doubts over Messi's future, the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and a struggle for form as the Spanish giants sit third and 10 points behind Atletico, while they also lost the Supercopa de Espana final.

    But Koeman and Barca remain focused on the goal of silverware, with the Catalan club set to face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16.

    "I am very happy," Koeman said post-match after reaching the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. "From the beginning we played a good game. In the first part we forgave them on several occasions, in the last pass, there were plays in which there could be penalties.

    "Yes, we had problems in the first half. In the second one, especially with the score against, I think we've showed our personality, scoring quality goals, we came back in the game. At the end you always suffer with such a tight result with just one goal difference. Overall, the team played very well.

    "We know these are complicated games, it does not matter the category of the opponent. They played a great game, they complicated us. But, in the first half we forgave them, we should've scored one or two goals."

    "Our goal is to go game by game, try to win every game in order to try to move up in the table," Koeman added. "Cut the gap we have now [in the league], play in the Champions League.

    "We want to win the Copa [del Rey]. I think this is the mentality our team has shown in all competitions and try to get the most out of it. It is important, we are Barca, but there are no easy games.

    "We know how the Copa games are, it doesn't depend on the category of your opponent. You have to work a lot and play well. The field was not very good to play our game. Despite the state of the field, we played a very good game. Also, the team had the right mentality to overcome this play-off."

  • Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Barcelona: Messi and De Jong seal Copa del Rey progress Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Barcelona: Messi and De Jong seal Copa del Rey progress

    Barcelona booked their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals as goals from Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong sealed a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday. 

    Ronald Koeman's side had looked set to follow Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in losing to lower-league opposition when Fran Garcia gave Segunda Division side Rayo the lead shortly after the hour-mark. 

    As is so often the case, though, Messi pulled Barca level soon after with a close-range finish. 

    That set the stage for the impressive De Jong to secure Barca's progression 10 minutes from time.

    The first clear sight of goal did not come until the 20th minute, De Jong looping an effort from six yards onto Stole Dimitrievski's crossbar.

    The visitors somehow failed to take the lead 10 minutes before the interval when Dimitrievski initially pawed away Trincao's strike before Riqui Puig's follow-up was diverted onto the crossbar by Ivan Martos.

    Antoine Griezmann and De Jong had further chances, but Barca were ultimately unable to make their superiority count at the break.

    Messi clipped the top of the crossbar with a free-kick three minutes after the restart before the Argentina international blazed over after being played clean through soon after.

    Barca were made to rue those misses in the 63rd minute when Fran Garcia turned home from almost on the line after Neto had parried Alvaro Garcia's cross into his path.

    Messi restored parity six minutes later, however, sliding in from six yards after being teed up by Griezmann.

    De Jong ensured there would be no need for extra time to settle the result, stroking home from a similar position to Messi from Jordi Alba's cross.

  • Juventus 4-0 SPAL: Frabotta stunner helps tee up Derby d'Italia semi-final Juventus 4-0 SPAL: Frabotta stunner helps tee up Derby d'Italia semi-final

    Gianluca Frabotta scored his first senior goal as Juventus eased into a Coppa Italia semi-final tie against Inter with a comfortable 4-0 win over second-tier SPAL at Allianz Stadium.

    Alvaro Morata scored his first penalty for Juve since February 2016 to put last season's runners up, without the rested Cristiano Ronaldo, ahead in the opening stages.

    Frabotta's strike was the highlight, however – his wonderful finish handing Andrea Pirlo's team complete control.

    Aaron Ramsey squandered two good chances to add to Juve's lead, though it was an error in the SPAL defence which enabled Dejan Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa to wrap things up.

    Frabotta lashed a low effort across the face of goal as Juve hunted an early opener, and it duly came in the 16th minute.

    Adrien Rabiot was booked for simulation after he went down under Francesco Vicari's challenge, yet the referee changed his decision after consulting VAR, and Morata sent Etrit Berisha the wrong way from 12 yards.

    Morata turned provider eight minutes later, with Kulusevski stinging Berisha's palms, before Ramsey hit the side netting.

    Berisha was picking the ball out of his net again a minute later, though – Frabotta thumping in a brilliant first-time strike from the edge of the area.

    SPAL veteran Sergio Floccari had an immediate chance to haul one back, but sliced wide of the left-hand upright.

    Frabotta almost turned provider with a wicked cross early in the second half, though Ramsey failed to turn it home.

    Ramsey found his route to goal blocked by Berisha prior to the hour, while Kulusevski – who had teed up Frabotta's goal at the end of an impressive run – continued to run SPAL ragged.

    Kulusevski had the goal his performance deserved with 12 minutes remaining, the forward coolly slotting home after Morata had pounced on Nenad Tomovic's mistake.

    And substitute Chiesa added further gloss in the final minute of stoppage time when he rounded Berisha to tuck in.

    What does it mean? Derby d'Italia coming up

    Juve failed to perform when Inter came to town on January 17, but now have a chance to bite back over two legs, which will take place next month.

    Between them, Juve and Inter have won the Coppa Italia 20 times, albeit the Bianconeri have the majority share in that particular aspect, having triumphed on 13 occasions.

    Frabotta fires one in

    Left-back Frabotta has been a regular under Pirlo this term, with Wednesday's game his 14th appearance of the season in all competitions, and the 21-year-old took his first senior goal in supremely confident fashion.

    It capped a fine individual display as he became the youngest Italian player to score for Juve since Moise Kean in April 2016.

    Bernardeschi injury blow

    Federico Bernardeschi is still awaiting his first goal of the campaign, with the Italy international having made just six starts in total.

    However, his wait might be set to go on, with the former Fiorentina attacker succumbing to a knock and going off at half-time, having failed to register a single attempt or create a chance.

    What's next?

    An away trip to Sampdoria is Juve's next Serie A fixture, on Saturday, while SPAL host Monza in Serie B.

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