October 23, 2021

Euro round-up: Messi hits goal 650 for Barcelona

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Lionel Messi scored his 650th goal for Barcelona while Antoine Griezmann struck the winner in a 2-1 home success over Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday, avenging a defeat by the Basque side in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Messi curled in a stunning free kick after 20 minutes for his milestone goal on the same day the club pledged to sue Spanish newspaper El Mundo for publishing the full details of the Argentine’s contract.

Ronald Koeman’s side recorded a fifth straight Liga win and moved above Real Madrid into second on goal difference with 40 points, 10 behind Atletico Madrid who have a game in hand.

Messi had missed a gilt-edged chance at the start when he fired straight at keeper Unai Simon and Barca spurned several more opportunities to increase their lead before halftime.

Athletic, who had won their previous five matches in all competitions in a flying start under new coach Marcelino, failed to get going but levelled in the 49th thanks to an own goal.

Jordi Alba tried to prevent Athletic’s Oscar de Marcos reaching a cross but instead prodded into the Barca net.

The hosts struggled to respond but finally restored their lead in the 74th when Griezmann, who had scored twice in the 3-2 Super Cup final defeat, arrived in the box to knock home a cross from defender Oscar Mingueza.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid‘s Luis Suarez fired in two goals as they thrashed Cadiz 4-2 away in an action-packed game on Sunday to march 10 points clear at the top of La Liga.

Suarez gave Atleti the lead in the 28th minute with a curling free-kick which was cancelled out by Cadiz forward Alvaro Negredo seven minutes later before Saul Niguez restored the visitors’ advantage moments before the break.

Cadiz had a strong penalty claim turned down on the stroke of half-time when Atletico’s Koke blocked the ball with his hand while on the ground but Atleti got a spot-kick just after the break which Suarez converted for his 14th goal of the season.

The Uruguayan has scored five times in his last three games and has an average of a goal for every league start he has made.

Negredo reduced the deficit with a scrappy strike in the 71st minute and Atleti were pegged back in their area for a long spell while their loanee Ivan Saponjic could have levelled moments later but saw his header tipped away by goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Atletico captain Koke then struck his first goal of the season in the 88th minute to complete the win and secure an eighth consecutive league victory for Diego Simeone’s side.

Ligue 1: Poch suffers first PSG defeat

Mauricio Pochettino suffered his first defeat as PSG manager at Lorient
Image: Mauricio Pochettino suffered his first defeat as PSG manager at Lorient

Paris Saint-Germain suffered their first defeat under new coach Mauricio Pochettino, losing 3-2 at lowly Lorient in added time as Lille moved top of the Ligue 1 standings with a 1-0 home victory against Dijon on Sunday.

Two penalties from Neymar put French champions PSG 2-1 ahead after Laurent Abergel’s opener.

The hosts equalised with 10 minutes remaining through Yoane Wissa and wrapped it up in stoppage time courtesy of a Terem Moffi goal.

Playing a couple of hours later, Lille grabbed the opportunity to go top when Yusuf Yazici’s first-half goal put them on 48 points from 22 games.

Olympique Lyonnais, who beat Girondins de Bordeaux 2-1 on Friday, are second on 46 points with third-placed PSG a further point adrift.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe show their frustration at their defenders
Image: Neymar and Kylian Mbappe show their frustration at their defenders

Serie A: Pressure eases on Gattuso

Atalanta's Luis Muriel leaves the field as Lazio players celebrate their victory
Image: Atalanta’s Luis Muriel leaves the field as Lazio players celebrate their victory

Lazio secured their fifth win in a row with a 3-1 victory at Atalanta in Serie A on Sunday which moved Simone Inzaghi’s side above their opponents into sixth in the standings.

Adam Marusic got the visitors off to a perfect start with a fine solo goal inside three minutes, before Joaquin Correa latched on to Ciro Immobile’s header and fired home in the 51st minute to put Lazio on course for a comfortable win.

Looking to make amends for their midweek Coppa Italia defeat by Atalanta in Bergamo, Lazio had chances to make it three before Mario Pasalic got the hosts back in the match with 11 minutes to go.

However, substitute Vedat Muriqi made sure of the win three minutes later as Lazio moved level on 37 points with fifth-placed AS Roma, who host Hellas Verona later on Sunday. Lazio were briefly fifth before Napoli beat Parma 2-0 to go fourth.

In a poor first period, Eljif Elmas’ solo effort in the 32nd minute broke the deadlock, with the midfielder beating three players before scoring.

Nervy Napoli spent the majority of the second half defending their lead before substitute Matteo Politano’s deflected strike in the 82nd minute made sure of the points, with every player going to Gattuso to celebrate.

Parma stay second-bottom with 13 points, two off the safety zone, and are without a win in their last 11 league games.

Elsewhere, Jeremie Boga’s 94th-minute equaliser earned Sassuolo a 1-1 draw at Cagliari, leaving Roberto De Zerbi’s early-season high-fliers down in eighth place without a win in five games in all competitions.

Genoa have found form of late and are up to 14th in the standings after two goals from striker Mattia Destro helped them beat Crotone 3-0 in Calabria.

In the early kick-off, Udinese captain Rodrigo de Paul scored and was sent off as they earned a 1-0 win at Spezia.

Bundesliga: Wolfsburg up to third

Wolfsburg top scorer Wout Weghorst scored their second goal
Image: Wolfsburg top scorer Wout Weghorst scored their second goal

VfL Wolfsburg cruised to a 3-0 home win over Freiburg on Sunday to move into third place in the Bundesliga with their third straight win.

The Wolves were clinical in the first half, scoring twice from three shots on target, with John Anthony Brooks firing in the opener after Freiburg failed to clear a corner in the 21st minute.

Wolfsburg top scorer Wout Weghorst scored their second goal six minutes before half-time with a clever shot past keeper Florian Mueller for his 13th goal of the campaign.

The Dutch striker, whose performances have triggered the interest of several top European clubs, hit the post early in the second half after Freiburg’s Baptiste Santamaria had also hit the woodwork with a header.

With the visitors pressing to cut the deficit Wolfsburg struck again in the 86th through Yannick Gerhard to kill off their hopes.

Unbeaten at home this season, Wolfsburg now have 35 points from 19 games, three behind RB Leipzig and 10 off leaders Bayern Munich.