Interesting results were recorded across the top five European football leagues over the weekend and this review takes readers on a trip across them all.
Matchday Four in the English Premier League saw reigning European champions Liverpool record an important 3-0 win away to Burnley to continue their flawless start to this season. The Clarets were unfortunate to go behind in the first half from a Chris Wood own goal before Sadio Mane doubled the lead four minutes later.
With ten minutes left, Roberto Firmino went from provider to scorer when he latched on a pass to score a blaster that secured all three points for the Merseyside team and maintain their lead atop the log. The talking point however was Mane after being subbed off, showing his frustration at teammate Mohamed Salah for not passing the ball to him earlier. Both Africans are the heart of the Liverpool attack, scoring 22 league goals each last season to finish joint top-scorers.
Manchester City were also comfortable winners at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. The Sky Blues hit the ground running when Kevin de Bruyne scored after just two minutes to commence the onslaught on the visitors. Sergio Aguero then scored two scorching shots to put the Citizens three goals up. Bernardo Silva rounded off the rout with 11 minutes left to give City a relaxed 4-0 win.
Not the result we wanted.
As always, thanks to our travelling fans for your magnificent support. #MUFC #SOUMUN pic.twitter.com/FgQMq0Z9fN
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 31, 2019
Regrettably, Chelsea and Manchester United could only share points with Sheffield United (2-2) and Southampton (1-1) respectively. Two first half goals from Tammy Abraham were cancelled out by a Callum Robinson strike and a late own goal from Kurt Zouma at Stamford Bridge. New Red Devils’ sensation, Daniel James, also saw his third goal in four games levelled by Jannik Vestergaard at St. Mary’s.
The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also ended in a 2-2 stalemate. The Gunners recovered from two Spurs goals scored by Christian Eriksen and a Harry Kane spot kick to level scores through strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
In the Spanish La Liga, a depleted Barcelona team could only muster a 2-2 draw at lowly Osasuna. An audacious volley from Roberto Torres put the home team ahead in the seventh minute, but La Masia sensation-of-the-moment, Ansu Fati, leapt the highest to equalise via a header after just five minutes of his introduction at the restart. It was his first competitive goal in the top-flight. Although midfielder Arthur Melo made it two for his first competitive goal in Blaugrana colours also, it was Torres who had the last say in the game with a penalty kick that ensured the points were shared.
? ? ? Ansu Fati, the youngest Barça goalscorer in #LaLigaSantander ???? pic.twitter.com/KmCxSvpPSH
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 31, 2019
Atletico Madrid also escaped dropping points as they came back from two goals down to win 3-2 against Eibar at the Wanda Metropolitano. Joao Felix and Vitolo restored parity for Los Colchoneros and Ghanaian Thomas Partey’s last-gap winner secured all three points and remain on top of table with a maximum nine points from three games.
Gareth Bale was the unsung hero for Real Madrid as he secured a 2-2 draw for the Spanish capital club after equalizing twice against Samuel Chukwueze’s Villarreal. It ended on a sour note for the Welshman as he got sent off for two bookable offenses.
It was sheer joy for Bayern Munich as they ran out 6-1 winners at home to Mainz in the German Bundesliga on Saturday. Trailing the better part of the first half to a Jean-Paul Boetius early strike, the Bavarians fought hard to level the scores through French defender Benjamin Pavard. Another defender, David Alaba, put Bayern in front in the extra minutes of the first half. From then on, it was smooth sailing for the German giants. New signing Ivan Perisic, Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies all found the net in the second half. Bayern are in hot pursuit of RB Leipzig, who have a 100% record of wins as they won 3-1 away to Borussia Monchengladbach a day before.
The story was, however, the opposite for Borussia Dortmund, who fell to a shocking 3-1 loss away to Anthony Ujah’s Union Berlin, who are in their first ever season at the top flight. Paco Alcacer’s leveller in the German capital could not prevent Marius Bulter from grabbing his second goal of the match, and Sebastian Andersson sealed the win with 15 minutes left at the Stadium by the Old Forester’s House.
In the Italian Serie A, Juventus survived a late ambush from Napoli to rescue the chestnut from the fire with a 4-3 win in a gutsy duel. Brazilian defender Danilo scored the opening goal with his first touch twenty-nine seconds after replacing the injured Mattia de Sciglio. Gonzalo Higuain promptly made it two three minutes later and Cristiano Ronaldo made it 3-0 just after the hour mark, and the Old Lady went to sleep afterwards.
Napoli then took up the gauntlet when they started a scoring spree of their own. Konstantinos Manolas made it 3-1 within four minutes of Ronaldo’s goal, and new Mexican signing Hirving Lozano made the score respectable with a second goal. Giovanni Di Lorenzo equalized with nine minutes left, and Partenopei could have gotten a point for their spirited efforts had they not been undone by a very late own goal from Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
Elsewhere, the Derby della Capitale saw Lazio and Roma go up against each other on Sunday. The match ended 1-1 with Aleksandar Kolarov putting the visitors ahead from the spot in the first half, only for Luis Alberto to equalize just before the hour mark.
In the French Ligue 1, champions, Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at Metz with a penalty from Angel Di Maria and an additional strike from Cameroonian Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Another massive clash saw Lyon and Bordeaux share points in a 1-1 draw at the Groupama Stadium.
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