x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

European football round-up: Barcelona move clear as Juventus lose unbeaten record

Inter Milan brought Juventus's 49-game unbeaten run in Serie A to a halt despite losing a goal in the first minute, while Real Madrid marked 100 wins for Jose Mourniho with a 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza.

Lionel Messi tries to score against Celta Vigo goalkeeper Javi Varas
Lionel Messi tries to score against Celta Vigo goalkeeper Javi Varas


Lionel Messi could not produce a goal to mark the birth of his first son but Barcelona still took the points with a straightforward 3-1 Primera Liga win over Celta Vigo.

Three goals in the space of five minutes sparked the match into life after the 20-minute mark as Adriano and David Villa scored either side of Mario Bermejo's strike for Celta.

Jordi Alba then wrapped up the win for the Catalan club just after the hour.

Barcelona moved three points clear at the top after Atletico Madrid's unbeaten start to the season was ended with a 2-0 defeat at Valencia.

Atletico had won eight matches on the trot in the league, but succumbed to Roberto Soldado's 21st-minute goal and a stoppage-time strike from Nelson Valdez at the Mestalla.

Real Madrid moved into third place and handed Jose Mourinho his 100th win in charge of the club with a 4-0 victory over Real Zaragoza.

Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria put the hosts in a commanding position with a goal apiece in a two-minute spell midway through the first half.

Madrid wrapped the scoring up in the final two minutes as Michael Essien and Luka Modric scored their first goals since swapping the Premier League for the Spanish capital.

Rayo Vallecano inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Malaga, who dropped to fourth, thanks to two goals from Piti.

The midfielder opened the scoring after 11 minutes but the visitors were pegged back four minutes into the second period by a Martin Demichelis header.

However, Rayo got the winner they deserved on the hour mark when Piti fired into the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season.



Inter Milan came back from a goal in the first minute to bring an end to Juventus' 49-game unbeaten run in Serie A with victory at the Juventus Stadium.

Arturo Vidal's goal after 19 seconds served only to inspire Inter, who turned the game around in the second half to move to within a point of Juve at the top of the table.

Diego Milito was on target twice for Andrea Stramaccioni's side, including an equaliser from the penalty spot, before Rodrigo Palacio sealed Inter's seventh win in a row in the last minute.

It was also a good night for Inter's city rivals AC Milan, who romped to a 5-1 win over Chievo at the San Siro.

Urby Emanuelson opened the scoring in the 16th minute, although the lead lasted only two minutes before Sergio Pellissier levelled.

Riccardo Montolivo and Bojan Krkic gave Milan a comfortable half-time lead before their top goalscorer Stephan El Shaarawy got his customary goal in the 75th minute.

Giampaolo Pazzini added a fifth to wrap up victory with the last kick of the game.



Benfica joined Porto at the top of the Liga table with a 3-0 win over Guimaraes.

Oscar Cardozo's double set the home side on their way, the Paraguay striker scoring after 37 minutes before converting a penalty three minutes after the interval.

Rodrigo Lima then put the game beyond Guimaraes with his 68th-minute goal, although the dismissal of Andre Gomes 11 minutes from time took some of the shine off the result.

The win sees Benfica move level on 20 points with the leaders.

Third-placed Braga are three points behind the pair following a 3-1 victory against Gil Vicente.

Ze Luis' 18th-minute opener for the home side was cancelled out by Kalidou Yero 10 minutes into the second half.

However, Alan restored Braga's lead from the penalty spot nine minutes later with Hugo Viana rounding off the scoring two minutes from time.



PSV Eindhoven went to the top of the Eredivisie with a 4-0 home victory over Heracles.

Dries Mertens gave the hosts a 19th-minute lead and Luciano Narsingh added a second goal in the 36th minute.

Kevin Strootman stretched the cushion to 3-0 after 74 minutes, shortly before Heracles had Kwame Quansah sent off, and substitute Tim Matavz grabbed the fourth goal in the 81st minute.

Ajax were the last undefeated team in the Dutch top flight, but that bare fact masked that their record showed only four wins from 10 games, the others all being drawn.

The Amsterdam giants remain sixth in the table, now nine points behind PSV, after a 2-0 loss at home against third-placed Vitesse, for whom Wilfried Bony scored in the 38th and 46th minutes.

FC Utrecht stand fourth in the table after a 5-1 win away to second-bottom Willem II.

Cedric van der Gun's 13th-minute opener for Utrecht was countered by an own goal from Jacob Mulenga, but the visitors took charge from the moment Mulenga scored at the right end in the 44th minute to restore their lead.

Substitute Alexander Gerndt netted in the 63rd and 75th minutes, before Mulenga netted for the third time on the night, his second for Utrecht, with six minutes remaining.



An own goal by Mamadou Sakho and a Pierre Emerick Aubameyang strike saw St Etienne inflict a first defeat of the season on Paris St Germain with the Ligue 1 leaders' misery compounded by the sending off of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sakho turned the ball into his own net 10 minutes into the second half before Ibrahimovic was given a straight red card for a challenge on goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.

St Etienne took advantage and two minutes later doubled their lead through Aubameyang. Guillaume Hoarau pulled one back with four minutes remaining but the hosts could not prevent their first loss of the season.

Valenciennes continued their free-scoring ways to move up to fourth in Ligue 1 with a convincing 3-1 victory over Sochaux.

Foued Kadir's 11th-minute strike was followed by a brace from Daniel Pujol that took Valenciennes to 23 goals for the season, and took them to within four points of the summit.

Sebastien Roudet registered for Sochaux but only after they had gone 3-0 down and the visitors remain rooted in the bottom three.

Lille sit seventh after stretching their unbeaten Ligue 1 run to four matches with a 2-0 victory at struggling Evian.

Nolan Roux and Florent Balmont were on target for the visitors.

A goal late in the first half from Mevlut Erding saw Rennes claim their fourth win of the season and leapfrog 10-man Reims to move up to eighth.

However, the visitors deserve some credit for conceding a solitary goal given they had to play for 76 minutes with 10 men following the sending off of Pape N'Diaye Soure for a nasty challenge on Jonathan Pitroipa.

Eric Bautheac scored an 81st-minute winner as Nice pulled away from Ligue 1's bottom three with only their second win of the season, beating Nancy 2-1.

Bautheac's corner had set up the opener for Mahamane Traore, but Salif Sane equalised on the stroke of half-time.

It appeared for a long time as though Nice were destined for their seventh draw in 11 league games this season but Bautheac had other ideas, turning home a cutback from Jeremy Pied.

An evenly-matched clash between Troyes and Montpellier ended with a fitting 1-1 draw at Stade de l'Aube.

The visiting side took the lead after 19 minutes when Younes Belhanda put the finishing touch to a fine passing move but second-bottom Troyes levelled four minutes before the break via Fabien Camus.



Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-0 victory at Hamburg.

The visitors took the lead five minutes before the interval through Bastian Schweinsteiger, with Thomas Muller doubling the advantage three minutes into the second half.

Toni Kroos then added a third in the 54th minute as Bayern hit back from last weekend's home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.

Sven Schipplock scored a stoppage-time winner as Hoffenheim edged out second-placed Schalke 3-2.

Kevin Volland gave Hoffenheim the lead in the 13th minute with Roman Neustadter equalising in the 37th minute.

Roberto Firmino's penalty after 67 minutes pushed Hoffenheim ahead once again before Atsuto Uchida levelled things up in the 82nd minute.

However, Schipplock scored a minute into injury time to seal the victory and leave Schalke seven points behind the leaders.

Borussia Dortmund also lost ground at the top as they were held to a goalless draw by Stuttgart.

Robert Lewandowski hit the woodwork for Dortmund and Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich made a string of saves, but the home side were unable to make the breakthrough.

Hannover returned to winning ways at the AWD-Arena with a 2-0 victory over Augsburg.

Mame Biram Diouf scored the opener in the 26th minute and Lars Stindl made the game safe five minutes from time as Hannover bounced back from the defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach which had ended a 22-match unbeaten home run.

Timo Gebhart scored the only goal in the 76th minute as Nurnberg beat Wolfsburg to end a six-match winless streak.

Wolfsburg took a step back after two straight victories under interim coach Lorenz Kostner, remaining lodged in the bottom three with eight points.

Freiburg came from a goal down to share a 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Igor de Camargo gave Gladbach the lead in the 49th minute but Daniel Caligiuri equalised from the spot in the 77th minute.



Leigh Griffiths scored twice as Hibernian climbed to the top of the Scottish Premier League with a 2-1 victory over 10-man St Mirren.

Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams twice made sharp saves, either side of Griffiths hitting the post, before a sumptuous strike from Kenny McLean put Saints ahead after 32 minutes.

Griffiths netted the equaliser after 37 minutes, scored his second after 65 minutes and Jim Goodwin was sent off for two bookable offences two minutes later as a fourth home win this term took Hibs top for 24 hours at least.

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cameron Bell spoiled a fine performance by being sent off as Inverness emerged 2-1 winners at Rugby Park to move second in the SPL.

Bell saved a penalty from Graeme Shinnie just before half-time when the visitors were leading through Andrew Shinnie's 22nd-minute strike.

Killie midfielder Liam Kelly levelled in the 56th minute with a wonderful drive from distance, but when the impressive Bell saw red for a foul on last man Ross Draper, it allowed Billy McKay to slam the penalty past substitute keeper Kyle Letheren.

Victory saw Inverness leapfrog Aberdeen on goal difference after Craig Brown's side went down 2-1 at Ross County.

A Mark Reynolds own goal from a Richard Brittain free kick gave County the lead 10 minutes from the break and a superb strike from Steven Ross early in the second half doubled the home side's advantage.

The Dons got one back when Niall McGinn knocked in his sixth goal in consecutive league games to break a 20-year record for the club with 14 minutes remaining.

But despite constant pressure from the visitors County held out for their first victory over the Dons in the SPL.

Jamie Murphy ended Motherwell's barren spell as Stuart McCall's team returned to winning ways with an emphatic 3-1 victory at St Johnstone.

Motherwell had gone four matches without a goal but it took less than 40 seconds for Murphy to find the net and he doubled the advantage with a solo effort before half-time.

Nicky Law added a third in the 73rd minute and the game was well and truly over by the time David Robertson netted for the hosts, who suffered their first league defeat since August.

Dundee finally ended their wait for a home win in the league with a 1-0 victory against Hearts.

Matt Lockwood's 20th-minute free kick was enough to separate the sides as Dundee got all three points on their own turf at the sixth time of asking.


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