European football roundup: Man Utd beat Liverpool, Barcelona continue title march
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United prevail over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, Barcelona continue title tilt despite Lionel Messi’s absence while Juventus grab the initiative in the race for a seventh straight scudetto. Mint sums up all the action from last weekend of European football
In the marquee clash of the weekend in England, Liverpool travelled to Manchester United in the latest round of their fierce rivalry. The reverse fixture at Anfield had ended in a drab scoreless draw but the game at Old Trafford came to life in just the first quarter of an hour as Marcus Rashford did extremely well to get past Trent Alexander-Arnold to slot his strike past Loris Karius and put Jose Mourinho’s men 1-0 ahead. Ten minutes later, the United youth product grabbed a second to put the Red Devils firmly in command. An Eric Bailly own goal in the 66th minute saw the visitors claw back but there was no further delight for them as the hosts collected all three points and with it consolidated their grip on second place in the league standings.
There was personal milestone for Petr Cech as he saved a Troy Deeney penalty in a 3-0 win for Arsenal against Watford on way to his Premier League record 200th clean sheet. Tottenham Hotspur came from a goal down to beat Bournemouth 4-1 with the help of a Heung-Min Son brace. Fellow Londoners Chelsea triumphed 2-1 over Crystal Palace ahead of their Champions League encounter against Barcelona in the mid week.
The defeat for Roy Hodgson’s men sees them confined to the drop zone, while a 4-1 defeat for West Bromwich Albion at the hands of Leicester City keeps them rock-bottom. Leicester City’s first goal was a thing of absolute beauty as Jamie Vardy slotted an exquisite volley from a sublime lobbed pass by Riyad Mahrez to bring the scores level before the Foxes romped home in style. West Ham’s 3-0 thumping by Burnley at the London Stadium was marred by unsavoury scenes as disgruntled Hammers’ fans invaded the pitch, chanted expletives at the club’s management, and hurled coins at the owners.
The weekend in Catalonia began with the news of Lionel Messi missing the Barcelona clash against Malaga due to personal reasons. A few hours later it was revealed that there was no cause for worry as the Messi welcomed his third son, Ciro. On the pitch, the Argentine’s absence didn’t cause much problem to the Catalans as they collected a regulation 2-0 win at La Rosaleda courtesy of a strike each from Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. The second goal came from an Ousmane Dembele assist as he finally looked close to the player Barcelona shelled out over a €100 million for last summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo was on the scoresheet twice for Real Madrid to help them to a 2-1 win over Eibar in a tightly-fought encounter that the minnows almost secured a point from before being undone by an 84th minute winner from the Portuguese maestro. On Sunday, Atletico Madrid hammered Celta Vigo 3-0 to consolidate their grip on second place in the league table behind leaders Barcelona.
Meanwhile, top flight debutantes Girona continued their fairytale of a season with a 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna as they continue their hunt for a Europa League spot. Valencia overcame Sevilla by the same margin courtesy of a Rodrigo brace to put further distance between themselves and the Sevillistas in the hunt for a Champions League finish.
All the Serie A matches paid pre-kickoff tribute to Davide Astori following his sudden demise last week. In the first game of the round Roma followed up their 4-2 win over Napoli to edge Torino 3-0, and a 2-2 draw for Lazio, secured late with a goal of the season contender from Ciro Immobile, on Sunday meant that the Giallorossi are now three-point clear of their derby rivals in third.
Napoli were held to a 0-0 draw by Inter Milan at the San Siro, meaning they have collected a solitary point from their last two games, hurting their title chances. Meanwhile, Juventus overcame Udinese 2-0 courtesy of a Paulo Dybala double to lead the scudetto race by a point with a game in hand over the Neapolitans. Fiorentina won 1-0 against Benevento in their first match since losing Astori, while AC Milan clinched a late win over Genoa with the help of an Andre Silva strike to remain in the hunt for a top four finish. They are now just five points adrift of Inter and a further point behind Lazio who are fourth.
Bayern Munich continued their recent sequence of Hamburg hammerings with a 6-0 thrashing at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick despite missing a penalty. Franck Ribery was on the scoresheet twice and Arjen Robben grabbed the other as Hamburg look increasingly unlikely to secure their top flight status next season, lying second bottom and seven points adrift of relegation playoff.
There was nail-biting finish at the Westfallenstadion as Michy Batshuayi scored the winning goal in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 win in the dying moments of their match against Eintracht Frankfurt who appeared to have secured a point when they grabbed an equaliser in the 91st minute. Schalke won 1-0 against Mainz; Bayer Leverkusen were 2-0 winners over Borussia Monchengladbach, while RB Lepizig were held to a scoreless draw by Wolfsburg to keep the race for European positions enticing. Bayern have all but sealed the title but only six points separate second-placed Schalke from sixth-placed Leipzig with eight matched remaining in the league this season.
With Champions League out of their way, Paris Saint-Germain were back to their best in a 5-0 drubbing of Metz at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. Christian Nkuknku, who didn’t see a minute in the two Champions League fixtures against Real Madrid, scored twice while there was goal each for Thomas Meunier, Kylian Mbappe and Thiago Silva as PSG continued their unchallenged march to the league title.
Stevan Jovetic, Rony Lopes and Fabinho scored a goal each to help Monaco to a 3-1 win over Strasbourg to remain frontrunners in the race for runners-up in behind PSG. A Bertrand Traore strike separated Lyon from Caen for the former to occupy the fourth spot in the table. Metz, Lille, and Troyes make the bottom three.
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