European Football review: A week of penalties and injuries

Kevin de Bruyne missed from the spot for Manchester City in a draw with Liverpool, while Carlos Soler netted three in Valencia’s 4-1 defeat of Real Madrid.

Manchester City drew level with Liverpool with a moment of brilliance from Gabriel Jesus.   -  Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City’s Mr Dependable, shockingly missed a penalty as his team drew 1-1 with reigning champion Liverpool at the Etihad. The result saw the Reds sit in third spot with 17 points from eight matches, five clear of City, which has a game in hand.

Liverpool went ahead when Mohamed Salah struck from the spot inside the opening quarter of play, while City drew level with a moment of brilliance from Gabriel Jesus. The home side had a chance to take the lead three minutes before the interval when De Bruyne won a penalty, but the Belgian playmaker scuffed his shot from the spot, and neither side managed to find the net in the second half.

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Liverpool, marred by injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho in recent games, suffered another setback as Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to be sidelined for a month owing to a calf injury.

Leicester City stormed to the top of the Premier League table as it rode on Jamie Vardy’s eighth goal of the campaign to beat Wolverhampton Wolves 1-0 at home. Tottenham Hotspur picked up its third win on the trot with a 1-0 defeat of West Bromwich Albion to trail Leicester by a point. Spurs captain Harry Kane, who scored his 200th goal for the side in a Europa League win over Ludogorets, achieved yet another milestone as he scored his 150th Premier League goal for the club.

Elsewhere, Manchester United cruised to an emphatic 3-1 victory over high-flying Everton, while Chelsea earned a 4-1 win against Sheffield United. Arsenal suffered its third loss in four league games after a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa.

Leroy Sane (right) added a third goal for Bayern Munich with 10 minutes left to play and Erling Haaland pegged one back for Borussia Dortmund, but it made no difference to the result — 3-2 win for the Bundesliga champion.   -  AFP

 

Bundesliga

Bayern Munich maintained its position at the top of the Bundesliga table with a 3-2 comeback win over arch-rival Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker. The victory will serve as a massive boost to Bayern’s title defence and was Bayern’s fourth win in as many games against Dortmund since Hansi Flick took over.

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Dortmund took the lead through Marco Reus in the 45th minute, but David Alaba found the equaliser for Bayern four minutes into first-half stoppage time and Robert Lewandowski scored in the 48th minute to complete the turnaround. Dortmund, after conceding only two goals in its first six games of the season, conceded just as many in five minutes on either side of the break. Leroy Sane added a third with 10 minutes left to play and Erling Haaland pegged one back for Dortmund, but it made no difference to the result. However, Bayern was dealt a blow as Joshua Kimmich suffered a knee injury during the game and subsequently underwent surgery, ruling him out of action until January.

In second place, RB Leipzig trails Bayern by two points, while Dortmund is a further point behind.

La Liga

Real Madrid’s La Liga title defence suffered a massive jolt as it suffered a second loss in four league games, this time losing 4-1 away to Valencia. Carlos Soler was the star of the match as he bagged a rather hat-trick — one where all three goals came from penalties.

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Penalties were the talk of La Liga as table-topper Real Sociedad was awarded two during its win over Granada in a game week that saw a total of 12 spot-kicks being given. Sociedad beat a Granada side that was forced to make nine changes from its last league clash after its squad was ravaged by the coronavirus. Granada had its request to postpone the game rejected as the league’s regulations state that a match can be postponed only if a side fields less than five players from its first team. Granada managed to field seven and was forced to play five players under the age of 20.

Lionel Messi came off the bench to inspire Barcelona to a 5-2 home win over Real Betis, snapping the Blaugrana’s four-game winless streak. It was a bittersweet win for Barça as 18-year-old sensation Ansu Fati picked up a knee injury that will keep him off the pitch for four months. Atlético Madrid maintained its unbeaten start to the season with a 4-0 thumping of Cádiz as João Félix struck a brace and set up another goal, while new signing Luis Suárez also got on the scoresheet. The result saw third-placed Atlético take its tally to 17 points from seven games, having played two games fewer than Villarreal and Sociedad, which leads the standings on 20 points after nine games. Villarreal is second with 18 points.

Zlatan Ibrahimović missed a penalty but made amends with a stoppage-time equaliser to guide AC Milan to a 2-2 draw with Verona.   -  Getty Images

 

Serie A

Lazio super-sub Felipe Caicedo netted a stoppage-time goal for the second league game in a row as he earned his side a last-gasp draw against Juventus. Caicedo’s 94th-minute goal was his third in as many games, following a 98th-minute winner against Torino and a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League.

Zlatan Ibrahimović missed a penalty but made amends with a stoppage-time equaliser to guide AC Milan to a 2-2 draw with Verona. The win extends Milan’s unbeaten streak in the league and the side has 17 points from seven games, while Sassuolo is second with 15. Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagged a hat-trick as AS Roma beat Genoa 3-1, while Napoli eked out a 1-0 win over Bologna. Inter Milan and Atalanta played out a 1-1 draw.