x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

European round-up: Barton makes bow as Marseille close in on PSG

Andres Iniesta stole the show as Barcelona continued their unbeaten start to the season, while AC Milan recored a vital victory over Juventus to keep the Italian title race alive.

Joey Barton makes his debut for Marseille.
Joey Barton makes his debut for Marseille.

FRANCE

Marseille moved level on points with Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain thanks to a 1-0 victory over 10-man Lille at Stade Velodrome.

All the key action took place in the space of two minutes around the interval as Lille's Florent Balmont saw red in first-half stoppage time before Jordan Ayew netted the only goal a minute after the restart.

OM move onto 26 points, level with PSG but second to the capital club on goal difference. Lille are ninth as their inconsistent campaign continues.

Marseille welcomed controversial midfielder Joey Barton into their line-up for the first time in Ligue 1 following the expiry of his 12-game domestic ban.

Bordeaux missed the chance to move top as Remy Cabella's goal midway through the second half gave struggling champions Montpellier a 1-0 victory.

The hosts started the game level with Sochaux, who occupied the third relegation spot, but Cabella's goal was just reward for their second-half display and gave them only a fourth win in 14 games, lifting them five places to 12th.

Lyon's annual capitulation at the Stadium Municipal saw Wissam Ben Yedder bag a brace as Toulouse climbed up to seventh in Ligue 1 with a 3-0 win.

Ben Yedder's double and Etienne Capoue's last-minute strike goal made it 11 goals conceded without reply from Lyon's last seven trips to the south-west, as Remi Garde's men missed the opportunity to dislodge Paris St Germain from the top of the table.

Lyon, who remain in third place, had begun the game search of a first win on the road since the opening day of the season but they failed in that mission.

 

SPAIN

Andres Iniesta was the star of the show as Barcelona continued their unbeaten start to the Primera Division season with a 4-0 victory at Levante.

Iniesta laid off assists for a quick-fire double from Lionel Messi's - his 81st and 82nd goals of 2012 - early in the second half before powering home a goal of his own just before the hour mark.

Cesc Fabregas was then the beneficiary of Iniesta's hard work, hitting the fourth six minutes later as Barcelona maintained their three-point lead at the top of La Liga with their 11th win in 12 matches.

Jose Barkero had the chance to pull a goal back for the hosts late on but saw his tame penalty saved by Victor Valdes.

The result was all the more notable as all 11 starting players at Barcelona were products of the club's La Masia academy.

"It's extraordinary, and all the more so for those of us who were trained at the Masia," midfielder Xavi said afterwards.

"It's more proof of the good work that has been done for many years.  [Former coach Louis] van Gaal said once that his dream was to see 11 academy players together on the pitch and today it became reality."

Atletico Madrid stayed on Barca's coat-tails and stretched their 100% record at the Vicente Calderón this season to 10 games with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over nine-man Sevilla.

The game was almost over as a contest after just 20 minutes when Koke was brought down by Federico Fazio inside the area and - after the Italian defender had seen a red card for a professional foul - Radamel Falcao hammered home his 14th goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Two goals in four minutes just before half-time sealed the points for Atleti as Emir Spahic turned Arda Turan's cross into his own net before Koke capped a fine individual display with a stunning volleyed finish from Diego Costa's lobbed pass.

Sevilla's miserable night was rounded off when Ivan Rakitic received a second yellow card for hacking down Tiago, leaving Miranda to tap home a fourth goal in stoppage time.

Getafe heaped more misery on Espanyol by inflicting a 2-0 defeat on the league's bottom team at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat.

Pedro Leon's early strike set the visitors on their way and Mane put the result beyond doubt with a second goal in stoppage time.

Deportivo La Coruna moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a vital point earned from a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

The hosts took a deserved lead before the break as Oscar de Marcos converted Markel Susaeta's cross in the 24th minute, but Abel Aguilar headed Depor level from Juan Carlos Valeron's driven ball just after half-time.

 

PORTUGAL

Porto went top of the Liga table with a 2-0 win away to Braga but only after both goals came in the closing minutes.

James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez both scored in added time, the second goal proving crucial as it took Porto above Benfica on goal difference.

The defeat left Braga nine points behind Porto and Benfica in third and only above Rio Ave on goal difference.

Rio Ave were 5-3 winners over 10-man Vittoria Setúbal as Joao Tomas hit a hat-trick for the visitors.

Joao Tomas scored after 11 and 39 minutes, the second a penalty, and Yonathan Del Valle after 32 and 41 to put the visitors in charge.

Albert Meyong scored his first goal on the stroke of half-time and again after 64 minutes to get Vitoria back in the game.

Joao Tomas completed his hat-trick after 79 minutes before Meyong completed his own treble with three minutes to go.

To make matters worse the home side had Justinho sent off late on.

Academica and Gil Vicente shared the points in a 2-2 draw.

Flavio Ferreira and Arnaldo Edinho scored for Academica, the Gil Vicente goals coming from Francisco Pio and Carolino Claudio.

Substitute Mateus scored the only goal as Nacional won 1-0 at home to Estoril.

 

ITALY

Juventus missed the chance to move seven points clear at the top of Serie A with a 1-0 defeat at AC Milan.

A Robinho penalty in the 31st minute decided the game in the Rossoneri's favour as Juve were beaten for only the second time this season.

Torino and Fiorentina shared four goals in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico.

Alessio Cerci put the home side in front in the 40th minute and Gonzalo Rodriguez responded from the penalty spot in the 74th minute.

Valter Birsa's first goal for Torino restored their lead two minutes later, but Mounir El Hamdaoui struck five minutes from time to snatch a point for the Viola.

Goals were in somewhat shorter supply elsewhere, with just three in the remaining four games.

Andrea Poli's goal sealed a 1-0 win that both moved Sampdoria further clear of the relegation zone and condemned Bologna to a seventh defeat in eight away games.

Poli netted two thirds of the way through the contest as Bologna paid dearly for an early red card to defender Archimede Morleo, who was dismissed just five minutes into the game for a professional foul on Mauro Icardi.

There was also a red card in the game between Atalanta and Genoa, but the Rossoblu held on for a 1-0 away win courtesy of Andrea Bertolacci's goal that ended a run of six straight Serie A defeats.

Emiliano Moretti was sent off late on after being shown a second yellow card for an elbow on Maxi Moralez, but the visitors held on to climb out of the bottom three.

Chievo's Mamadou Samassa was also sent off at the death as his side drew 0-0 at home to Siena, a point for the visitors meaning Pescara dropped to the bottom of the table on goal difference after losing 1-0 at home to Roma.

New manager Cristiano Bergodi got a sense of the task he faces at Pescara after Mattia Perin's fifth-minute goal proved enough for all three points.

 

GERMANY

Freiburg took the honours in the Baden-Wurttemberg derby against Stuttgart with a 3-0 win at the Dreisamstadion this afternoon.

Jan Rosenthal gave the hosts the lead in the first half before Pavel Krmas and Max Kruse added two more goals for Christian Streich's men, who moved up to sixth on the back of their fourth game in a row without defeat.

Augsburg were denied their second win of the season as Borussia Monchengladbach left it late to snatch a 1-1 draw in Bavaria.

Sascha Molders put Augsburg in front in the fifth minute and Markus Weinzierl's men seemed to be on course for victory without risking too much, the hosts even going close to adding a second thanks to the enterprising Koo Ja-cheol.

But just when they were preparing to pop the corks in celebration, Patrick Herrmann levelled for Lucien Favre's side.

Hoffenheim's plight worsened as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Bayer Leverkusen to remain in the bottom three.

Lars Bender put Leverkusen in front and Daniel Ramos Carvajal made it two before the break.

Hoffenheim responded in the second half as Fabian Johnson brought them back into the game - but they were unable to find an equaliser.

 

HOLLAND

Vitesse Arnhem moved within two points of Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven thanks to a 2-1 victory at the Philips Stadion.

All looked to be going to plan for the hosts when Timothy Derijck put them ahead after five minutes, but Jonathan Reis equalised 10 minutes later and then set up the winner for Wilfried Bony 16 minutes from time.

The result ensured Vitesse - whose last away game was a 2-0 win at Ajax - finished the weekend in third spot, level on points with second-placed FC Twente.

Twente lost ground in the title race as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw against PEC Zwolle in Enschede.

Dusan Tadic put Steve McClaren's side ahead from the penalty spot three minutes into the second half, only for Denni Avdic to get PEC back on level terms seven minutes later.

Joey van der Berg then looked to have won it for the visitors when he struck two minutes from the end, but there was still time for Luc Castaignos to salvage a point for Twente.

Champions Ajax enjoyed a 2-1 away win at Roda JC, but had to come from behind in order to return to winning ways following their humbling 4-1 Champions League loss against Borussia Dortmund in midweek.

Guus Hupperts had given the third-bottom hosts the lead in the 14th minute but two goals in the final 10 minutes - from Christian Eriksen and substitute Lasse Schöne - turned the game on its head for Frank de Boer's side.

Feyenoord remained level on points with Ajax after their 2-0 success at AZ Alkmaar, secured courtesy of second-half strikes from 17-year-old midfielder Tonny Vilhena and Ruben Schaken.

AZ had Dirk Marcellis sent off between the goals for a late challenge on Jean-Paul Boetius.

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