Monday, August 27, 2012

Madrid's troubles continue, while Serie A and Bundesliga get going

Madrid's stuttering start continues with defeat

Real Madrid's disappointing start to the season continued as they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Getafe despite leading at half-time.

Jose Mourinho's side had won their last seven league meetings against their local rivals and appeared set for another triumph when Gonzalo Higuain put them ahead in the 27th minute.

However, Getafe hit back in the second half to stun their star-studded opponents with goals from Juan Valera and Abdelaziz Barrada.

That completed a forgettable first week to the new campaign for Mourinho, who's expensively-assembled team started their title defence with a 1-1 home draw against Valencia last weekend before losing 3-2 to arch rivals Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa on Thursday.

There were no such worries for the Catalans, thanks to Lionel Messi who scored twice in the last 15 minutes as his side survived a scare against 10-man Osasuna to continue their winning start to the new season with a 2-1 victory.

Osasuna won the corresponding fixture last season 3-2 and it looked like another upset was on the cards when Joseba Llorente volleyed the home side in front in the 17th minute on Sunday.

Striker Nino then had a great chance to double Osasuna's lead in the 70th minute, but he hit the post when clean through and 10 minutes later Barca were ahead and on their way to three points.

Messi, as has often been the case, was the spark behind the comeback, and he drew the teams level in the 75th minute when he stabbed home Alexis Sanchez's pass to finish off a move he himself had started with a trademark darting run.

Osasuna were aggrieved that goal was allowed to stand after Alexis had appeared to be offside when he received the ball earlier in the move, and the home side's veteran midfielder Patxi Punal was handed his marching orders for taking his protests too far.

Barca quickly made the most of their man advantage as, in the 80th minute, summer signing Jordi Alba picked out Messi near the edge of the area and the Argentina superstar rolled a low shot into the far corner for the match-winner.

Meanwhile, Sevilla came from behind with 10 men to claim a valuable point from a 1-1 draw in the first Andalusian derby of the season at Granada.

The visitors had goalkeeper Diego Lopez sent off just after the half-hour mark when he upended Antonio Floro Flores inside the area and, despite his replacement Andres Palop saving Guillherme Siqueira's penalty, Mikel Rico rattled in the rebound to give Granada the lead.

However, Alvaro Negredo headed home a minute before the break to bring Sevilla level and Michel's side defended relatively comfortably in the second half until a late flurry from the hosts saw Darwin Marchis head two golden opportunities over and Floro Flores hit the crossbar.

Elsewhere, former Tottenham man Helder Postiga left it late to earn Real Zaragoza victory over 10-man Espanyol.

In a bad-tempered encounter which saw eight players booked, Alvaro Vazquez lit the touchpaper by firing hosts Espanyol ahead with a powerful finish just before half-time.

Juan Albin received his marching orders for a second booking after the interval and Antonio Apono levelled from the penalty spot.

A constant menace in the second half, Portuguese striker Postiga chipped away at Espanyol's resolve and got his reward two minutes from time to earn Real a 2-1 win and their first points of the season.

Brazilian Leo scored his first senior goal for Rayo Vallecano as they continued their 100 per cent start to the season with a 2-1 win at Real Betis.

The visitors went ahead within two minutes as Piti tapped in, but Betis responded immediately and Jorge Molina headed in his third goal of the campaign moments later.

Despite withstanding an early Betis onslaught at the beginning of the second period, Rayo looked the more co-ordinated team throughout and deservedly got the winner on the hour mark when Lass Bangoura teed up Leo to rifle low past Fabricio in the Betis goal.

Marseille lay down early marker

Marseille powered to the Ligue 1 summit as they maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a 1-0 win over reigning champions Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson.

Andre-Pierre Gignac struck the winning goal in the 77th minute, capitalising on an error in the Montpellier backline, as OM moved two points clear at the top of the table with three wins from three under new boss Elie Baup.

Defeat for Montpellier leaves them inside the relegation zone and still searching for their first win three matches into the defence of their title.

Big-spending Paris St Germain remained frustrated in pursuit of their first victory as they were held to their third draw in as many games - a goalless stalemate at home to Bordeaux, who dropped points for the first time this season.

Earlier in the weekend, Valenciennes and Toulouse had joined Lyon at the top of the fledgling Ligue 1 standings overnight after respective victories over Ajaccio and Nancy.

VA picked up their first home win of the season with a 3-0 triumph over Ajaccio at the Stade du Hainaut.

Strikes from Mamadou Samassa and Loris Nery, and a David Oberhauser own goal, were enough to see off the challenge of the visitors, who had Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi sent off in the first half for a two-footed challenge.

Moussa Sissoko's early strike lifted TFC to a 1-0 win over Nancy. Nancy had their chances to cancel out Sissoko's 10th-minute strike in an open encounter, but saw their hopes hit by the 48th-minute dismissal of Andre Luiz as Toulouse held on to register back-to-back wins.

The pair moved on to seven points from three games alongside Lyon, who drew 1-1 at Evian.

Elsewhere, Yann M'Vila showed why several of Europe's top clubs want to sign him with a stunning late winner as Rennes ended the unbeaten start of Bastia and kick-started their own season by beating the 10-man visitors 3-2 in a dramatic match.

Rennes, who came into the game on the back of two defeats, led through Romain Alessandrini's 21st-minute opener but were soon pegged back by Francois Marque.

The hosts led again through Jonathan Pitroipa five minutes before half-time, only for Sylvain Marchal to level again in the 74th minute, even after Bastia had had Araujo Ilan sent off.

But when M'Vila fired in an outstanding third from long range, Bastia were finally defeated.

Welcome back, Samp

Sampdoria made a winning return to Serie A with a shock 1-0 victory at AC Milan as Andrea Costa scored the only goal of the game in the 58th minute and, although the Rossoneri hit the woodwork twice, their fans made their feelings clear at the final whistle.

Another of the newboys, Pescara, were given a less-than-friendly introduction to life in the top flight as they were beaten 3-0 by Inter Milan.

The Delfini, second-tier champions last season, were always going to be up against it at the Stadio Adriatico and so it proved as Wesley Sneijder got Inter up and running with 17 minutes gone.

Diego Milito then caught them cold with a second two minutes later before Phillipe Coutinho wrapped things up for Andrea Stramaccioni's men.

Meanwhile, Lazio also opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory at Atalanta, courtesy of Anderson Hernanes' 18th-minute goal.

Napoli's bid to improve on last term's top-five finish got off to a flying start with a 3-0 victory in Palermo. Marek Hamsik, Christian Maggio and Edinson Cavani all scored for the Partenopei.

And Zdenek Zemen's return to Serie A as coach of Roma was not a winning one as his men played out a 2-2 draw with Catania.

Giovanni Marchese and Alejandro Gomez twice put the visitors in front but the Giallorossi responded with goals from Pablo Osvaldo and Nico Lopez.

Siena, who are trying to overturn a six-point deduction for their part in a match-fixing scandal, could only manage a goalless draw against newly promoted Torino.

Business as usual for the big two

Bayern Munich made a perfect start to the Bundesliga season with a convincing 3-0 win at local rivals and top-flight newcomers Greuther Furth.

Thomas Muller put the Bavarians in front just before half-time, with Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben - via a deflection - on target in the second half for Jupp Heynckes' men.

Furth rarely threatened Manuel Neuer's goal as they were given the toughest of introductions to life among Germany's elite.

Claudio Pizarro and Bastian Schweinsteiger both missed chances to make it a greater margin of victory for Bayern, who nevertheless took all three points to follow the example of defending champions Borussia Dortmund, who started the season with a 1-0 home win over Werder Bremen.

Mario Gotze scored an 81st-minute winner after coming on as a late substitute, after Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie had cancelled out Marco Reus opener in the 11th minute.

Hanno Balitsch scored the only goal as Nurnberg secured their first win over Hamburg in 20 years. He netted in the 68th minute to seal a 1-0 victory, lashing home from close range after Per Nilsson's header had hit the bar.

Hamburg nearly grabbed a point but Marcell Jansen's header one minute into second-half stoppage time went off the crossbar. Robert Mak had the final chance at the other end but his shot went just wide right from 20 yards out.

Juan Arango's set-pieces held the key as Borussia Monchengladbach began with a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim. The Venezuela midfielder delivered the free-kick from which Mike Hanke headed the first-half opener and then curled in the winner direct from another with 11 minutes remaining.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to defeat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on their return to the top-flight.

Stefan Kiessling gave Leverkusen the lead after half an hour but Frankfurt were unfortunate not to find an equaliser before the break.

Stefan Aigner levelled in the 57th minute before Martin Lanig headed in a winner in the 82nd minute giving Armin Veh's side a winning start after one season in the second tier.

Bas Dost scored a last-gasp goal on his Wolfsburg debut to seal a narrow 1-0 victory at Stuttgart, who missed a penalty. Vedad Ibisevic spurned the chance to put Stuttgart in front in the 87th minute when his spot-kick was saved by Diego Benaglio, and less than three minutes later, Dost clinched victory for the Wolves, who managed only three wins on their travels all of last season.


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