x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Barca bounce back in Madrid

Barcelona put the shock loss at home to promoted club Hercules last week firmly behind them as they ground out a 2-1 win away to Atletico Madrid last night.

Atletico Madrid's Jose Antonio Reyes evades the tackle of Barcelona's Carles Puyol.
Atletico Madrid's Jose Antonio Reyes evades the tackle of Barcelona's Carles Puyol.

Goals from Lionel Messi, the Argentine forward, and Gerard Pique, the Spanish defender, were enough to give Pep Guardiola's side their first win of the season at Vicente Calderon. Raul Garcia scored Atletico's effort on 25 minutes. Tomas Ujfalusi, Atletico's Czech defender, was sent off in injury time for a foul on Messi, who was carried off on a stretcher.

The win helped Barcelona stay in touch with rivals Real Madrid, but both both clubs still trail a new-look Valencia side, who overcame Hercules 2-1 away from home. Two goals from Samuel Eto'o sent Rafa Benitez's Inter Milan back towards the summit of Italy's Serie A, second only on goal difference to Cesena, after a 2-1 win away at Palermo. Josil Ilicic's opener had put Palermo in front, but Eto'o struck twice in eight minutes.

There was concern for Inter after the match, however, with Javier Zanetti, their captain, complaining of chest pains after the game. After a check at the Villa Sofia hospital, Zanetti left and returned to Milan with his teammates. "I got hit with the ball in my abdomen but I couldn't stop playing despite the pain - we were winning," Zanetti told Inter's TV channel. "When I got back to the changing room my chest felt blocked. I want to assure everyone I'm fine."

Inter share top spot in Serie A with Cesena, who beat Lecce 1-0, despite playing much of the game with 10 men, thanks to an Erjon Bogdani goal. Juventus, meanwhile, got their first victory of the season in impressive style, winning 4-0 away to Udinese. "What counts is the result today, and we must continue," said Fabio Quagliarella, who scored one of the goals against his former club. Roma's stuttering start to the campaign continued as they threw away a two-goal lead at home to Bologna to draw 2-2.

In Germany's Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund heaped more misery on Schalke with a 3-1 derby win in Gelsenkirchen, leaving their big-spending rivals rock bottom and still without a point. * Compiled by John Trotter, with agencies