Ba scores in Chelsea debut; Van Persie saves Man U


LONDON (AP) -- Demba Ba scored twice in his debut as Chelsea got off to a perfect start in its FA Cup defense with a 5-1 rout of Southampton in the third round, while Robin van Persie scored an injury-time tying goal for Manchester United to tie 2-2 at West Ham and earn a replay.

A day after completing his move from Newcastle, Ba took just 35 minutes Saturday to score at Southampton to tie the score 1-1 after Jay Rodriguez scored.

After two more Chelsea goals from Victor Moses and Branislav Ivanovic, Ba scored his second before Frank Lampard wrapped up the rout.

"It is always important for a striker to score goals but more than just the goals it is the contribution for the team," Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said.

Newcastle struggled without Ba, however, and was the only English Premier League team to be ousted by lower-league opposition, falling 2-0 at second-tier club Brighton.

At West Ham, Joe Cole set up two nearly identical goals for James Collins as the Hammers looked to knock off United. But Van Persie came on as a substitute to salvage a tie.

Manchester City had no trouble ousting Watford 3-0, while Aston Villa had to come from behind to oust another League Championship club, Ipswich, 2-1.

In a rematch of the 1987 final, Coventry was on the losing end this time as Tottenham won 3-0. American Clint Dempsey scored twice.

The biggest upsets came from fifth-tier nonleague teams defeating second-tier opposition. Macclesfield beat League Championship leader Cardiff 2-1, and Luton defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0.

Three Premier League clubs face replays after being tied by lower-league opposition. Wigan tied 1-1 with Bournemouth, Fulham had the same score against Blackpool, and Sunderland tied 2-2 with Bolton.

And there will also be a replay between Premier League rivals Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion after they tied 1-1 in front of just 8,984 fans at Loftus Road.

The lowest-ranked team left in the cup saw its campaign end as seventh-tier team Hasting went down 4-1 at Middlesbrough.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Levante beat 10-man Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at home on Saturday to close in on Spain's top four Champions League places, while Valencia also came from behind to win 2-1 at 10-man Granada and move into eighth place after its first back-to-back wins this season.

Levante's sixth victory in nine home games this season lifted it to within one point of fifth-place Real Betis and fourth-place Malaga.


ROME (AP) -- Ten-man Catania tied Torino 0-0 on Saturday as Serie A resumed play after its holiday break.

Midfielder Francesco Lodi was sent off in the 13th minute after reacting to physical contact by taking a swipe at an opponent. Catania was awarded a penalty but forward Gonzalo Bergessio hit the crossbar.

Catania coach Rolando Maran was also ejected for arguing in the 84th.

Still, Catania moved into a tie with Parma for eighth place, one point behind AC Milan, which faces Siena on Sunday.


ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Stelios Vasileiou's two goals gave Levadiakos a 2-1 victory at Panathinaikos in the Greek league Saturday.

Former powerhouse Panathinaikos, last year's runner-up, is going through a financial and corporate management crisis and is having its worst season ever in the league. It sits ninth, 19 points behind league leader Olympiakos.