European football continues in full swing.
Lionel Messi, with three goals and seven assists in Ligue 1, looks to be settling well at Paris Saint-Germain in his second season, even as his former home Barcelona finds joy in the goals of new signing Robert Lewandowski.
In England, Gameweek 7 was postponed after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, while the action continued in other parts of Europe.
Here is what has been happening in the top five leagues of Europe.
Premier League goal of the fortnight
Against Leeds, Ivan Toney scored off a penalty as well as off a direct free kick. It was the 22nd time a player had done so in a Premier League game and the first since Willian for Chelsea against West Ham in July 2020.
The Englishman, scoring his second of three against Leeds, took the free kick in spectacular fashion from 20 yards out to double the lead for the Bees. His right-footed curler saw goalkeeper Illan Meslier barely move as the forward made the stadium explode in joy.
Brentford went on to register its biggest win over Leeds.
With his second Premier League hat-trick in 2022, Toney joined an elite club. Only two other players had achieved the feat – Cristiano Ronaldo and Erling Haaland.
Save of the fortnight
Jordan Pickford of Everton denied Liverpool what appeared to be two certain goals – by Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah – as the Merseyside derby ended goalless.
In the 43rd minute, a fingertip reflex save by the England international off Nunez saw the ball deflect and hit the bar, while a stoppage-time save off Salah saw him become Everton’s hero.
Pickford made eight saves in the match – the most by a goalkeeper in a Premier League fixture this season. They were the most saves he has ever made in a Premier League game while keeping a clean sheet.
Stamford Bridge is the new ‘Hogwarts’
Chelsea saw the second managerial change in the Premier League – Scott Parker of Bournemouth was the first – as Thomas Tuchel was sacked by the club after a 0-1 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League (UCL).
The German, who guided the Blues to their second-ever UCL and maiden FIFA Club World Cup, left the club with 60 wins, 24 losses and 16 draws in 100 games.
Graham Potter, the manager of Brighton and Hove Albion, took charge days later, signing a five-year contract with the club.
La Liga goal of the fortnight
Getafe was looking for its first win against Real Sociedad in over two-and-a-half years. But a missed penalty by Borja Mayoral saw the scores level at 0-0 until late in the first half when a handball by Real Sociedad’s Benat Turrientes gave Getafe a free kick close to the penalty box.
Enes Unal stepped up for it and shot a right-footed curler into the top left corner of the net, giving Getafe the lead and scoring his second goal of the season.
He assisted another to secure the win as well – the first for Getafe this season and the first against Real Sociedad since June 2020.
La Liga save of the fortnight
During the match between Cadiz and Barcelona, one of the fans in the stadium suffered a cardiac arrest and the game was halted for some time.
Ledesma, the Cadiz goalkeeper, was seen running to the stands with a medical kit and trying to help the medical team, which had already got to the patient.
While the patient was resuscitated and taken to a hospital, the goalkeeper earned praise in the stadium as well as on the internet around the world for his promptness in getting help to the spot on time.
Different club, same Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski, who won the Golden Boot (highest goal scorer) award in the Bundesliga seven times, continues to weave his magic in La Liga since making his move to Barcelona this season.
He leads the scoring charts with six goals in five league games, making him the fastest player to reach that figure in the competition in the 21st century.
In the Champions League as well, he started his Barca goal tally (for UCL) with a hat-trick, making him the only player to score UCL hat-tricks for three different teams.
Ligue 1 goal of the fortnight
Lionel Messi and Neymar have been a menacing pair since their days in Barcelona when their magic guided the club to its last Champions League in 2015.
Now in France, the two have continued their bromance, scoring the winner from a counter-attack against Brest to guide Paris Saint-Germain to the top of the league table.
In the 30th minute, Messi delivered a lobbed pass for Neymar as the Brazilian – with his second touch off his left foot – put the ball into the net.
The ‘Guardian Lens’ of Brice Samba
Ligue 1 saw some great saves in Gameweeks 5 and 6, but Brice Samba’s double save helped Racing club de Lens stay afloat in what ended as a 1-1 draw. His efforts kept the side unbeaten since a 0-1 loss to Strasbourg last season in April.
In the 53rd minute, Marshall Munetsi’s left-footed shot, aimed at the right-bottom corner, was stopped by Samba’s left hand first. The Congolese then jumped to punch the ball out of danger.
Bundesligagoal of the fortnight
Mainz travelled to Borussia Monchengladbach looking for its third win in a row and got Yan Sommer, the goalkeeper with the record of most saves in a match, a touch wall to beat.
However, a foul by Ko Itakura on Karim Onisiwo, which saw the former being sent off, gave Mainz a free kick.
Aaron Martin, who had not opened his goal tally this season so far, exploited the opportunity with a phenomenal left-footed strike, leaving Sommer almost unmoved as the ball curled into the top-left corner of the net. Mainz won the match with the lone goal.
Ronnow holds Bavarians to a draw
Danish goalkeeper Frederick Ronnow played extraordinarily against Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich to deny the club what seemed two certain points in the home fixture. Ronnow made a good save in the first half, stopping Leroy Sane’s shot, but the highlight of the contest came during injury time.
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Ronnow made a great right-handed save after an aerial ball from Dayot Upamecano was headed on target by Sadio Mane.
It was Bayern’s second draw in the league.
Bayern Munich prospers with youth development
Bayern Munich may have raised a few eyebrows after letting Robert Lewandowski – its second-highest goal scorer of all time – leave, but its youth prospects have had plenty to show this season so far.
Mathys Tel, the 17-year-old French forward, became the youngest player to score for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga when he opened the scoring against VfB Stuttgart.
Nineteen-year-old Jamal Musiala also scored a goal. It was the second time that two teenagers scored for Bayern in the same Bundesliga match. Uli Hoeness and Paul Breitner were the first to do so on May 15, 1971, in a 7-0-win against FC Cologne.
Serie A goal of the fortnight
AC Milan saw the rise of a new hero in the derby against Inter Milan when Rafael Leao scored two goals to take his team temporarily to the top of the table.
Leao became the first Portuguese player to score a goal in a Milan derby in all competitions. The highlight of the match was his second goal. After receiving the ball from Olivier Giroud, he beat three Inter Milan defenders and the goalkeeper to steer the ball into the net with his right foot.
Serie A save of the fortnight
AC Milan looks to have found the perfect replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma, who left for PSG last year. Mike Maignan put on a great performance in the derby against Inter, with two fantastic saves, denying three points to the rival.
In the 77th minute, a long-range strike from Hakan Calhanoglu was met with Maignan’s left-palm – it was a full-stretched save by the French goalkeeper. The save was undoubtedly the difference between Milan’s win and a draw.
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