x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

European football round-up: Napoli squander Serie A chance as Marseille close gap on PSG

Athletic Bilbao claimed their first win of the season in Spain, while Celtic blew a two-goal lead as they warmed up for their forthcoming match with Barcelona.

Marseille's Matthieu Valbuena vies with Samuel Bouhours during the match with Ajaccio
Marseille's Matthieu Valbuena vies with Samuel Bouhours during the match with Ajaccio


Aritz Aduriz's first-half brace ensured Athletic Bilbao ended their recent dismal run of form with their first away win of the season at fellow strugglers Granada.

Aduriz opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 13th minute and then doubled the visitors' lead in the 27th minute with a fantastic strike.

Although Youssef El Arabi pulled one back eight minutes after the interval, Bilbao held on to halt a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.

The win moves Marcelo Bielsa's side away from the drop zone.

Sevilla`s reliance on the goals of Alvara Negredo cost them tonight as they made all the running but were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to Levante.

The former Real Madrid forward had scored half of the their 12 league goals before the match with Levante, and with him unable to fire they had to settle for a point.

Ten-man Osasuna remained rooted to the foot of the table after Patrick Ebert's late goal handed Real Valladolid all three points at El Sadar.

Kike Sola had wasted a gilt-edged chance to put the hosts ahead with 18 minutes remaining but the game swung in the visitors' favour three minutes later when Ruben Gonzalez was sent off after collecting a second yellow card.

And Valladolid took full advantage as a rapid counter-attack from an Osasuna corner saw Ebert go through on goal and he took his time before chipping the ball beautifully over Andres Fernandez for his second goal in two games.

Diego Colotto's first goal for Espanyol handed the Catalans a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad - their first away win of the campaign.

It was Sociedad though who carried the greater threat for the first hour as Imanol Agirretxe was denied by a goal-line clearance by Sergio Garcia and Asier Illarramendi saw a spectacular 30-yard volley turned over by Cristian Alvarez.

However, the Basques were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal and were hit with a sucker punch 12 minutes from time as Colotto was on hand to tap home after Hector Moreno had kept the ball alive from Joan Verdu's corner.

The win moved Espanyol up to third from bottom, a point and a place behind Deportivo La Coruna.

Depor got their first win since the opening game of the season as Bruno Gama's fine individual goal was enough to see off Real Mallorca at the Riazor.

The Portuguese winger was a threat to the visitors' defence all afternoon and showed great skill to open up a shooting chance for himself before firing low past Dudu Aouate in the 30th minute.

Gama and Pizzi also hit the woodwork for the hosts in the second-half but despite a late flurry of long-range efforts from Mallorca they held on to move out of the relegation zone.



Marseille capitalised on Paris St Germain's defeat to move level on points with Carlo Ancelotti's men following a 2-0 victory at Ajaccio.

Andre Ayew opened the scoring nine minutes after the interval and his brother Jordan sealed victory in the closing stages to hand Ajaccio their first home defeat of the season.

PSG remain league leaders on goal difference but their shock home defeat to St Etienne yesterday has put Marseille in the driving seat as it is they who have a game in hand.

Lyon moved within a point of the two front-runners with a 5-2 triumph over Bastia in a madcap game at the Stade Gerland.

Maxime Gonalons and Alexandre Lacazette put Lyon in control but Wahbi Khazri and Jerome Rothen pulled Bastia level, the latter with a spot-kick after Dejan Lovren was sent off.

Lisandro Lopez restored Lyon's lead from 12 yards after Fethi Harek was dismissed and Jimmy Briand and Steed Malbranque scored in stoppage time, the latter from the spot, to give the score line a misleadingly one-sided look.

Toulouse failed to move level on points with PSG and Marseille after Yoan Gouffran's late strike gave Bordeaux a 1-0 win at Stade Chaban Delmas.

Le Tefece could have moved into second with victory in La Garonne derby but they were lacklustre throughout and Gouffran's close range strike three minutes from time sealed a deserved victory for Bordeaux.



Juventus and Inter Milan will breathe easier after Napoli missed the chance to put pressure on them at the top of Serie A.

Juve still lead the way on 28 points but suffered their first league defeat in 49 games last night, losing to Inter who are second and a point behind.

Napoli looked set to close the gap to three and two points respectively when they led Torino by a an Edinson Cavani goal to nil, but Salvatore Aronica's slip in injury time allowed Gianluca Sansone to level.

Another side to miss a trick today were Lazio, who lost their top-four place on the back of a 4-0 drubbing at in-form Catania.

Alejandro Gomez led the way as the home side earned their fourth win in six outings at home, opening the scoring before Francesco Lodi added a second from the spot.

Catania were out of sight after 28 minutes when Gomez netted from close range and the Argentinian teed up Pablo Barrientos to seal the rout after the interval.

The Roman club were overtaken by Fiorentina, who ensured Ivo Pulga was given a reminder of the harsh realities of life in Serie A as his successful start to life in charge of Cagliari was halted by a 4-1 loss.

Pulga is an icon in Sardinia as a result of his playing days and has done little to change that since taking the managerial reins from Massimo Ficcadenti last month, winning his first four games in charge.

But La Viola put a stop to that in resounding fashion today, with goals from Gonzalo, Stevan Jovetic, Luca Toni and Juan Cuadrado putting them into fourth place. Federico Casarini had equalised for Cagliari, who left the Stadio Artemio Franchi with their bubble well and truly burst.

There was relief for Pescara as they picked up their first win in a month, beating Parma 2-0 at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Elvis Abbruscato's first goal of the season and a late second from Vladimir Weiss was enough for coach Giovanni Stroppa, allowing the home side to ease the pressure on him with just a second home success of the season.

Quality was in short supply in Siena but the hosts worried little about that as they kept Genoa entrenched in a relegation battle.

The basement side won 1-0 thanks to Massimo Paci's strike, leaving Luigi Del Neri without a win in charge of the Rossoblu, who occupy the first spot away from safety and are now just three points clear of their conquerors.

All the pressure Del Neri will be feeling will be shared by Sampdoria coach Ciro Ferrara, whose players suffered a sixth successive loss, losing 2-1 at home to Atalanta.

Giacomo Bonaventura gave the visitors the lead in the second minute, but Enzo Maresca levelled for the Blucerchiati early in the second half.

Giuseppe De Luca put the Bergamese side in front again in the 76th minute and they withstood a late rally from Samp to take all three points at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Bologna remain in the bottom three after sharing two goals in a home draw with Udinese, with Italy internationals Alessandro Diamanti and Antonio Di Natale trading second-half strikes.

Roma reacted to recent criticism after suffering back-to-back defeats with a clinical 4-1 win over Parma at the Stadio Olimpico.

Francesco Totti put the Giallorossi ahead in the 11th minute and further goals from Pablo Osvaldo, Erik Lamela and Mattia Destro sealed a comfortable three points.

Josip Ilicic grabbed a consolation after Destro was sent off, but the win was never in any doubt and could have been even greater as Roma continued to push forward.



Bayer Leverkusen got the better of Rhineland neighbours Fortuna Düsseldorf by the odd goal in five at the BayArena to move up to fourth in the Bundesliga table.

Sidney Sam, Andre Schurrle and Gonzalo Castro got the goals for the home side with Nando Rafael and Adam Bodzek on target for the visitors, who made life hard for Leverkusen.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 65th minute, with the score at 2-1, when substitute Simon Rolfes was sent off just two minutes after replacing Sam.

But Castro extended their lead and Bodzek's 86th-minute strike was in vain.

Werder Bremen moved above Mainz in the table with a 2-1 win in an entertaining game at the Weser Stadion.

Aaron Hunt scored both goals for Thomas Schaaf's men, the second coming late in the game to render Adam Szalai's earlier equaliser worthless for Thomas Tuchel's side.

Bremen have now picked up seven points in their last three games while Mainz lost for the first time since September 25.



Beira Mar emerged from their basement battle with Nacional with a morale-boosting 4-2 win that lifts them off the foot of the table.

They headed to Madeira bottom of the table and two points behind their hosts, but returned home a point ahead of them.

Javier Balboa opened the scoring 12 minutes in and when Ruben Ribeiro doubled their lead before the break, they looked safe.

Cordeirio then looked to have given Nacional a chance from the spot (52), but Jaime`s goal restored Beira`s two-goal cushion.

But back came Nacional, with Cordeiro scoring again, before Beira sealed things through Vincent Sasso, despite Jaime`s 73rd-minute sending off.

Estoril secured their second win of the season thanks to a late show at Academica.

Marco Silva`s side left the Estadio Cidade de Coimbra 2-0 victors, but it had not looked like being the case until Bruno scored with six minutes left.

Academica then had Bruno China sent off, with Carneiro making the numerical advantage count (90), before the home side lost another man when Edinho was dismissed.

There was another away win in Moreirense as Rio Ave left Minho with a 1-0 win, given to them by well-travelled former Portugal striker Joao Tomas' 58th-minute goal.

Life continues to be a struggle for Sporting, who were beaten 2-1 at Vitoria Setúbal.

Franky Vercauteren`s men are just two points off the bottom of the table after going down at the Estadio do Bonfim.

Pedro Santos put the home side ahead and, although Jeffren equalised, they went back in front through Albert Ze Meyong and held on despite Bruno Lourenco`s dismissal.

They day`s other game could not provide such drama, with Pacos Ferreira drawing 0-0 with Olhanense.



Dundee United came from two behind in dramatic fashion to grab an unlikely share of the points against sloppy Celtic at Tannadice.

Neil Lennon's side were leading through goals from Miku and Tony Watt, before United substitute Gary Mackay-Steven scored what looked like a consolation goal in the last minute of regulation time.  and looked certain to take the points back to Glasgow.

But Celtic defender Efe Ambrose, on for the injured Thomas Rogne, to put a Barry Douglas cross past his own goalkeeper Fraser Forster in injury time to hand Peter Houston's men a 2-2 draw.

Celtic went back top of the SPL table but it was not the end to the game manager Neil Lennon was looking for ahead of Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Barcelona at Celtic Park.