Real Madrid takes over Camp Nou, Saints thwart the Toffees

The turning point came in the 62nd minute when Sergio Ramos was awarded a penalty by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after having his shirt tugged in the box.

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid scores off a penalty against Barcelona at Camp Nou. Real won 3-1.   -  Getty Images

Real Madrid’s title defence received a massive boost as Zinedine Zidane’s men cruised to a 3-1 triumph over Barcelona in Spanish football’s biggest fixture — El Clasico. Madrid came into the tie on the back of two morale-sapping losses against Cadiz in the league and Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League respectively.

But the Los Blancos summoned their unflagging winning spirit to take the top honours and climb to the second spot in the table with 13 points from six games. Real Sociedad leads Madrid by a point but has played an additional game. Barca, on the other hand, has managed just a solitary point from its last three league outings and finds itself at a shocking 12th position with a meagre seven points from five games.

READ | Real Madrid sinks Barcelona in 'El Clasico' with help of Ramos penalty

Both teams were on level terms at the interval. The turning point came in the 62nd minute when Sergio Ramos was awarded a penalty by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after having his shirt tugged in the box. Ramos coolly converted from the spot and Luka Modric struck the side’s third goal in added time to put the tie to bed.

Atletico Madrid, which is the only unbeaten team in La Liga, earned a 2-0 win over Real Betis and is fifth in the table. Atletico boasts the best defensive record this season, conceding only one goal in five matches.

Saints thwart the Toffees

Everton’s undefeated run in the Premier League came to a crashing halt as Southampton earned a 2-0 win at the St Mary’s Stadium. James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams struck for the home side as the Saints moved up to the fifth spot, while Everton remained on top owing to a favourable goal-difference over second-placed Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side rode on new signing Diogo Jota’s second-half header to beat Sheffield United and secure its first win in three matches. First choice goalkeeper Alisson returned for the Reds but the defence looked shaky without the injured Virgil van Dijk, who is set to undergo a knee surgery. The win extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run at home to 62 matches in the Premier League.

The debate on the functionality of VAR was re-ignited after Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta was grabbed from behind and brought down in the box by United captain Harry Maguire while vying for a header. VAR, though, dismissed any wrongdoing.   -  Reuters

 

Elsewhere, Manchester United and Chelsea shared the spoils in a goalless draw at Old Trafford, continuing United’s winless run at home this season. The debate on the functionality of VAR was re-ignited after Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta was grabbed from behind and brought down in the box by United captain Harry Maguire while vying for a header. VAR, though, dismissed any wrongdoing, much to Frank Lampard’s frustration.

“I thought it was a clear penalty. I couldn’t see it at the time from where I was standing and those ones are hard calls for the referee. It’s why we brought VAR into the game, but VAR was very quick to dismiss it. They should have taken time and advised the referee to look at the monitor. If he watches the monitor, he has to give the penalty, so it’s confusing. There’s a frustration because the rules seemed to be moving in the right direction,” he said after the game.

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Edinson Cavani made his much-awaited debut for United, but the limelight was solely on Chelsea ’keeper Edouard Mendy, who made a bunch of fine saves to earn a clean sheet.

Leicester City moved up to the fourth spot after Jamie Vardy’s header saw the Foxes earn their first win at Arsenal in 47 years.

Dortmund sinks Schalke in Ruhr Derby

Schalke 04’s Bundesliga woes continued as it suffered a 3-0 defeat to arch-rival Borussia Dortmund in the Ruhr Derby. Schalke, placed 17th in the 18-team league, has not won in its last 21 league games. Dortmund, which was kept at bay in the first half, came out all guns blazing in the second as Erling Haaland struck a brace and Mats Hummels added a third to take Dortmund to the third spot.

Bayern Munich produced a champion’s display as it hammed five goals past a hapless Eintracht Frankfurt. Robert Lewandowski was at his best as he struck a hat-trick and took his season’s tally to 10 goals in five Bundesliga matches. Bayern trails table-topper RB Leipzig by a sole point.

Lukaku shines for Inter

In Serie A, Romelu Lukaku continued his fine run as he scored his fifth league goal of the season to power Inter Milan to a 2-0 win over Genoa. The result was a particularly significant one for Antonio Conte’s side as it snapped a three-match winless streak and was the club’s first clean sheet of the season.

Romelu Lukaku (right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring Inter Milan’s first goal during in Serie A.   -  AFP

 

Meanwhile, Sassuolo kept its undefeated run intact after scoring twice in the last six minutes in a 3-3 draw with Torino. The side is third in the table, below Napoli on goal difference.

Defending champion Juventus drew for the second successive league game as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Verona. Juve, which is still missing the services of Cristiano Ronaldo — who is in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus — has won only two so far, including a 3-0 walkover against Napoli. With three draws in five games, the Andrea Pirlo-coached side is currently fifth with nine points.