x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

European football round-up: Messi helps Barcelona avoid Mallorca hiccup

A brace from new father Lionel Messi ensured victory for Barcelona over a battling Mallorca, while Inter Milan's winning streak was brought to an abrupt end by Atalanta.

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Mallorca
Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Mallorca


Two goals by Lionel Messi inspired leaders Barcelona to a 4-2 victory at Mallorca after the hosts had threatened to derail their visitors' bid for a 10th win in this season's Primera Liga.

Barcelona were cruising at 3-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Xavi, Messi and Cristian Tello.

However, Mallorca scored twice in four second-half minutes through Michael Pereira and a Victor Casadesus penalty but Messi struck to bring the hosts' comeback to a halt.

Atletico Madrid moved back to within three points of Barcelona after easing to a 2-0 victory over Getafe.

Adrian Lopez opened the scoring with his first league goal of the season midway through the first half, with Atletico doubling their lead two minutes before half-time as Arda Turan was allowed to run through on goal and slot coolly past Miguel Angel Moya, despite having controlled the ball with his hand.

Valencia claimed their first away point in five league games with a 1-1 draw at Valladolid.

Aly Cissokho had headed the visitors into the lead after just 15 minutes but the French defender went from hero to villain in the second half when he brought down Omar Ramos to concede a penalty and was shown a red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Victor Perez confidently converted the spot-kick to extend Valladolid's unbeaten run to four games.

First-half goals from Oscar de Marcos and Markel Susaeta were enough to hand Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 win over Sevilla as the hosts withstood a late flurry to take all three points.

De Marcos put the hosts ahead at San Mames with a neat sidefooted finish from Jon Aurtenetxe's cross in the 27th minute and Susaeta made it two with the last attack of the half as Andres Palop could only help his powerful drive into the net.

However, a grandstand finish was ensured when Athletic were reduced to 10 men as Ander Herrera was shown a second yellow card 14 minutes from time, and two minutes later Alvaro Negredo reduced the arrears from the penalty spot.

Young substitute Alvaro Morata earned Real Madrid a near-farcical 2-1 win over Levante at a waterlogged Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.

Cristiano Ronaldo fired Real into a first-half lead but Angel Rodriguez, on as a substitute early in the second half, equalised in the 62nd minute.

Xabi Alonso missed a penalty but then delivered the free kick for Morata, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes after replacing Mesut Ozil, to head the winner.

The match was contested in almost unplayable conditions, with the ball barely bouncing or rolling on the sodden surface.



Liga pacesetters Porto and Benfica extended their lead with victories as third-placed Braga were beaten.

Second-half goals from James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho gave Porto a 2-1 win over Academica, who pulled one back through Wilson Eduardo in the 79th minute.

Benfica were 1-0 winners at Rio Ave, Rodrigo Lima with the goal in first-half stoppage time.

Under-performing Sporting Lisbon finally raised their game to dent Braga's challenge with a 1-0 win thanks to Ricky van Wolfswinkel's fourth-minute goal.

Goals from Jefferson and Luis Leal earned Estoril a 2-0 win over Moreirense while Olhanense beat Beira Mar 1-0 thanks to Liban Abdi's 30th-minute strike.

The latter game saw both sides finish with 10 men after Beira Mar's Cedric Collet and Olhanense's Andre Micael were sent off.



Paris St Germain remain top of Ligue 1 on goal difference from Marseille after they managed to secure a draw at Montpellier despite having to play with 10 men for 80 minutes.

Mamadou Sakho was given a straight red card for pulling down Gaetan Charbonnier as last man after just 10 minutes.

However, it was PSG who went ahead nine minutes before half-time through Maxwell.

Reigning champions Montpellier levelled through Remy Cabella 13 minutes after half-time before they too were reduced to 10 men when Younes Belhanda was sent off for his second yellow card with 26 minutes left.

Marseille were held to a draw as Fabrice Abriel's late volley rescued a point for Nice after they twice fell behind at the Stade Velodrome.

The Ligue 1 leaders went into the match a point above Paris St Germain and took the lead just before the break through Andre Ayew.

Dario Cvitanich levelled the scores six minutes after the restart and although Mathieu Valbuena, who missed a first half spot-kick, put Marseille back in front Abriel was on hand two minutes from time to deny his former club victory.

Sloan Privat denied Lyon the chance to go top of the table after his second-half goal earned Sochaux a valuable 1-1 draw.

Maxime Gonalons' goal halfway through the first half put Les Gones on course for the summit.

But they remain a point back after the hosts rallied and Privat's cool finish saw Les Lionceaux match 17th-placed Evian on 11 points in their bid to escape the drop.

Bordeaux capped a potentially season-defining week with a thumping win at mid-table Lorient.

Francis Gillot's team ended a six-game winless run with a late win over high-flying Toulouse last weekend before strengthening their Europa League tilt in midweek with a 1-0 success over Maritimo.

Tonight victory came far more emphatically as first-half strikes from Jussie and Ludovic Obraniak set them on their way before Henri Saivet and Yoan Gouffran added the gloss after the break.

It meant Bordeaux, for all their problems at the start of the season, leapt up to sixth in the table just two points behind the leading pair.



Inter Milan's seven-game winning streak has been ended by Atalanta, who picked up their fourth win from their last five games with a 3-2 triumph at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.

Giacomo Bonaventura gave Atalanta an early lead which lasted until 11 minutes into the second half when Fredy Guarin equalised.

German Denis restored Atalanta's lead instantly before adding a third from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.

Rodrigo Palacio brought Inter back into the game in the 84th minute and Atalanta were reduced to 10 men when Facundo Parra was dismissed in stoppage time, but the Bergamese side held on to the points to move up to sixth in the table.

Lazio inflicted a third straight 'Derby della Capitale' defeat on Roma as Stefano Mauri's goal edged a 3-2 victory as both sides were reduced to 10 men.

Erik Lamela temporarily lifted the Giallorossi above their fiercest rivals in the league table, opening the scoring with a confident header at the Stadio Olimpico.

But Vladimir Petkovic's Lazio soon seized control and Antonio Candreva and Miroslav Klose turned the tables on Roma before half-time.

Daniele De Rossi was sent off for punching Mauri in first-half stoppage time and his victim sealed the win after the restart.

But the Lazio captain was eventually sent off for handball, allowing Miralem Pjanic to reduce the deficit from a bizarre free kick.

AC Milan's mini-revival came to an abrupt end as Fiorentina beat Massimiliano Allegri's hapless side 3-1 at the San Siro.

Alexandre Pato failed to peg La Viola back before the break as he missed a penalty following Alberto Aquilani's opener.

Borja Valero gave Fiorentina a two-goal lead but substitute Giampaolo Pazzini hit back to give Milan hope, only for Mounir El Hamdaoui to make the visitors' points safe at the death.

Napoli remain in the hunt for the Scudetto after rallying to a 4-2 win at Genoa.

Walter Mazzarri's side came from behind twice before finding two late goals to clinch all three points at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Ciro Immobile put Genoa in front but former Grifone defender Giandomenico Mesto levelled early in the second half.

Andrea Bertolacci restored Genoa's lead almost immediately before Edinson Cavani brought Napoli level again with just over 10 minutes to go.

Marek Hamsik put Napoli in front for the first time in the last minute, before Insigne completed the win with the last kick of the game.

Palermo found a new hero after 18-year-old striker Paulo Dybala scored his first two goals in Italy to down Sampdoria 2-0 at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.

Gabriele Angella's 91st-minute strike earned a 2-2 draw for Udinese, two minutes after Alberto Paloschi's spot-kick looked to have won it for hosts Chievo.

Elsewhere, Danilo D'Ambrosio scored the only goal of the game as Torino saw off lowly Bologna 1-0, while Parma shared a goalless draw with basement boys Siena.



Bayer Leverkusen missed the chance to move into the Champions League places in the Bundesliga following a shock 3-1 defeat at lowly Wolfsburg.

Diego set the Wolves on their way with two goals in the first 16 minutes before Bas Dost settled matters just after the hour.

A tired-looking Leverkusen improved in the second half, grabbing a late consolation through Stefan Kiessling, but they lost for the first time in nearly two months.

Wolfsburg picked up their first home win of the season but remained in the relegation zone.

Nine-man Greuther Fürth were made to pay for their ill-discipline as they lost 4-2 at home to Borussia Monchengladbach.

The second-from-bottom hosts led through Bernd Nehrig's 10th-minute penalty but Thomas Kleine saw red just moments later.

While Oscar Wendt equalised on 22 minutes Greuther actually went into half-time ahead thanks to Edgar Prib (43).

Monchengladbach roared ahead shortly after the break through Martin Stranzl (51) and Patrick Hermann (57) and when Milorad Pekovic also saw red in stoppage time, Thorben Marx completed the scoring from the penalty spot.

Hannover were also 4-2 winners as they came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit against Stuttgart.

Christian Gentner's strike and a Vedad Ibisevic penalty seemingly had Stuttgart in full control but Mirko Slomka's men turned things around in the second 45 minutes.

Artur Sobiech (56) brought them back into the game before Jan Schlaudraff levelled from the spot on 64 minutes.

Two goals in five minutes from Mohammed Abdellaoue, one coming from the penalty spot, then sealed the win for the Reds over their Europa League rivals.



PSV moved to the top of the Eredivisie table after a thumping 5-1 triumph over Heerenveen.

Daniel de Ridder gave the visitors a shock fifth-minute lead before Luciano Narsingh levelled things up midway through the first half.

Dick Advocaat's outfit ran riot in the second period as Dries Mertens and Giorgino Wijnaldum found the target before a late brace by Tim Matavz sealed the win.

FC Twente dropped to second after they were held to a goalless draw by third placed Vitesse Arnhem at the GelreDome.

Ajax had no such problems as they hit four at PEC Zwolle.

Centre-half Toby Alderweireld put the visitors ahead in the 12th minute before Viktor Fischer doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark.

Fischer was on hand three minutes after the restart to put Fran de Boer's charges three goals to the good before Siem de Jong, fresh from a brace in their 2-2 midweek Champions League draw at Manchester City made the game safe 14 minutes from time.

Zwolle struck late through Denni Avdic and Jesper Drost, but remain one place off the bottom.

Feyenoord are up to fifth after they were 5-2 victors over struggling Roda JC.

Graziano Pelle gave Ronald Koeman's side the perfect start as he netted after just a minute.

Sanharib Malki equalised 11 minutes later, but Pelle then Lex Immers after 35 minutes put the home side in control.

Bart Biemans gave his side hope five minutes before the interval, but the second half belonged to Feyenoord who eased to the three points thanks to Jordy Clasie and Daryl Janmaat.


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