Catch up on all the football action from the weekend across Europe’s top five leagues
PREMIER LEAGUE: Kelechi Iheanacho on target in Leicester loss, City beaten by Leeds, Liverpool and Chelsea win as top-four battle intensifies & more.
BRAMALL LANE: Sheffield Utd 0 – 3 Arsenal
Gabriel Martinelli scored in his first start since January as Arsenal ended a run of four games without a win with victory over the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United.
Arsenal ended a four-game winless run with an emphatic result at strugglers Sheffield United, ahead of their crunch mid-week assignment in the Europa League.
The game marked a return to goal mouth action for 19-year-old Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli, who bagged the game’s second for his first goal in over a year.
Martinelli scored either side of Alexander Lacazette’s brace as the Gunners wrapped up an impressive evening to move up to 9th on the table with 45 points, above Leeds and Aston Villa. It was also a first clean sheet in 15 games for Bernd Leno.
The only negative for Mikel Arteta’s side came when Bukayo Saka limped off in the second half with what looked like a thigh problem, leaving his chances of featuring against Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final encounter on Thursday in doubt.
Another loss leaves Sheffield United languishing at the foot of the table, a whopping 18 points from safety. They travel to Wolves next and a loss will all but confirm their drop to the Championship.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM: Spurs 1 – 3 Man. Utd
Tottenham’s top four hopes have been left hanging in the balance after Manchester United came from behind to win comfortably in London.
Spurs needed to win to remain within touching distance of a Champions League finish, but defeat at home, in a notoriously toothless display, has seen them slump to a team they defeated 6 – 2 away from home in October.
United were controversially denied a goal after the video assistant referee ruled Scott McTominay to have fouled Son Heung-Min with his trailing arm in the build up to Edinson Cavani’s goal, before Son got in the act himself and put the hosts ahead before half time, leaving United with plenty to ponder as center referee Chris Kavanagh blew for half time.
The restart saw a more lively United out of the tunnel as they pressed for an equalizer.
Brazilian midfielder Fred rebounded Hugo Lloris’ save from Cavani’s shot to draw United level in the 57th minute, before Cavani deservedly put his team ahead for the first time in this game, with a well taken header from substitute Mason Greenwood’s cross in the 79th minute.
Greenwood put the game to rest with what appeared to be the last kick of the game after firing a thunderbolt past Lloris as United came away 3 – 1 victors.
LONDON OLYMPIC STADIUM: West Ham 3 – 2 Leicester
Nigeria international Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice as Leicester tried to mount a comeback, but it’s West Ham who have claimed three massive points after another Jesse Lingard-inspired performance.
The Manchester United loanee continued his brilliant form with a first half brace as West Ham grabbed a crucial win over third placed Leicester to strengthen their bid to achieve a top-four finish this season.
The 28-year-old’s brace sent West Ham into the break with a two-goal cushion, before Jarrod Bowen opened a three-goal advantage for the Hammers just three minutes after the restart.
Leicester tried to mount a late comeback and pulled one back in the 70th minute through Nigeria international Kelechi Iheanacho, but it was too little too late as West Ham held on to win maximum points despite the Nigerian grabbing a second in injury time.
James Maddison, Hamza Choudhury and Ayoze Perez were not in action for the Foxes, after the trio were dropped for breaching Covid-19 protocols.
TURF MOOR: Burnley 1 – 2 Newcastle
Earlier on Sunday, Allan Saint-Maximin inspired Newcastle to a 2 – 1 second half comeback win at Burnley.
The Frenchman came on for Callum Wilson in the 57th minute and provided the assist for Jacob Murphy’s equaliser just two minutes later to cancel out Matej Vydra’s first half opener, before firing a left footed strike past Nick Pope to snatch all three points for the Magpies who are now six points clear of the drop.
ANFIELD: Liverpool 2 – 1 A. Villa
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a sublime stoppage time winner as Liverpool ended a six-game winless home streak with victory against Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.
Ollie Watkins, who bagged a hat-trick in Villa’s 7-2 win in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, opened scoring for the visitors in the first half.
Another controversial VAR decision ruled Diogo Jota fractionally offside in the buildup to Roberto Firmino’s goal.
Liverpool continued to dominate in the second half and got the equalizer through Mohamed Salah in the 57th minute – his 28th of the season in all competitions and Liverpool’s first goal from open play at Anfield since the start of 2021.
With the game tilting towards a draw, up stepped local lad Alexander-Arnold with a sublime 20-yard stoppage time curler from the edge of the box, past Emiliano Martinez to keep Liverpool within touching distance of the top four.
Up next for the Reds is a second leg Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday.
SELHURST PARK: C. Palace 1 – 4 Chelsea
Kai Havertz delivered a fine performance as Chelsea made amends for last weekend’s 5-2 home drubbing by West Brom.
The former Bayer Leverkusen forward broke the deadlock in the 8th minute before assisting Christian Pulisic two minutes later to double the advantage.
The third goal came in the 30th minute when French center back Kurt Zouma rose highest to head in Mason Mount’s delivery from a free-kick.
The home side improved in the second half and responded through Christian Benteke in the 63rd minute, but Pulisic got on the end of a cross by Reece James in the 78th minute for his second of the afternoon to take the game beyond Palace’s reach.
The win ensured Chelsea returned to the top four, two points above Liverpool and West Ham as the race for a Champions League finish intensifies.
Chelsea take on Porto in a second leg quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, leading 2 – 0 from the first leg played in Portugal.
ETIHAD STADIUM: Man. City 1 – 2 Leeds
Saturday’s biggest shocker came from the Etihad where Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United – with 10 men, made light work of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to claim an unlikely win.
Leeds were made to work extremely hard for this win, with captain Liam Cooper getting sent off at the stroke of halftime for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.
Stuart Dallas’ brace either side of Ferran Torres’ equalizer gave the visitors what will probably go down as their best result since returning to the top flight.
The result means City’s lead at the top can now be cut to eight points if second placed Manchester United win their games in hand; against Tottenham and Burnley.
Up next for Pep Guardiola’s side is a trip to Germany to face Borussia Dortmund, with the Cityzens holding a 2 – 1 advantage from the first leg played in England.
CRAVEN COTTAGE: Fulham 0 – 1 Wolves
Fulham’s survival hopes suffered another blow as Adama Traore drilled home a powerful late strike to ensure Wolves picked up maximum points at Cravens Cottage on Friday night.
Wolves controversially had a goal disallowed when the video assistant referee penalized Daniel Podence for his arm being fractionally offside in the build up to his assist for Willian Jose’s header, but they continued fighting and eventually got their rewards deep into stoppage time.
The result leaves Fulham a place and three points behind fellow strugglers Newcastle in 18th, having played two games more.
LA LIGA: Real Madrid complete El Classico double over Barcelona, Atletico Madrid reclaim top spot with underwhelming draw at Betis
ALFREDO DI STEFANO STADIUM: R. Madrid 2-1 Barça
First half strikes from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos ensured Real Madrid defeated archrivals Barcelona to move top of the standings in La Liga.
Benzema flicked in Lucas Vazquez’s pass at the near-post to open scoring in the 13th minute, before Toni Kroos doubled their advantage from a deflected free-kick before the half-hour mark as the champions took a 2-0 lead into half-time.
The restart saw a more purposeful Barcelona and on the hour mark, they halved the deficit through Oscar Mingueza.
But it was too little too late, and despite Ilaix Moriba’s shot hitting the crossbar and Casemiro getting sent off in the closing stages, it was Real Madrid who held on to make it a double over their rivals this season.
“I feel very happy. We started the game very well. It was a very complicated match overall, but it was a deserved victory.
“I think we could have scored a third goal, but it’s an important win. We did our job today.”Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane.
Real, with a better head-to-head record temporarily leapfrogged city rivals Atletico Madrid to claim top spot, before the mattress makers drew at Real Betis on Sunday to regain their spot at the summit of the La Liga standings.
BENITO VILLAMARÍN STADIUM: Real Betis 1 – 1 Atletico Madrid
Former Barcelona man Christian Tello scored in the 20th minute to cancel out Yannick Carrasco’s 5th minute opener as Diego Simeone’s side continue to flirt with surrendering their lead at the top of the La Liga table.
Diego Someone’s side have now only won only three of their past 11 games in all competitions.
SERIE A: Simy Nwankwo, Victor Osimhen on target, Ibrahimovic sent off in Milan win, Inter beat Cagliari to go 11 points clear of rivals
ALBERTO PICCO STADIUM: Spezia 3 – 2 Crotone
Giulio Maggiore and Martin Erlic scored two stoppage time goals as Spezia completed a memorable comeback against visiting Crotone in the Italian Serie A on Saturday.
Daniele Verde cancelled out on loan defender Koffi Djidji’s fine first half opener, before Nigeria international Simy Nwankwo’s 78th minute goal – his 16th of the season, put the visitors in the lead.
Crotone looked to have all but wrapped the game up but Maggiore and Relic struck in the 89th and 92nd minutes to stun their visitors.
Simy’s goal leaves him behind only Yakubu Aiyegbeni (17) as the Nigerian to have scored the most goals in a single season, since the turn of the century at a team participating in one of Europe’s top-five European leagues.
The loss leaves Crotone rooted bottom of the standings with 15 points, while Spezia on the other hand are looking more likely to avoid relegation after going ten points clear of the drop.
LUIGI FERRARIS STADIUM: Sampdoria 0 – 2 Napoli
Elsewhere, another Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen scored an 87th minute goal in Napoli’s 2 – 0 victory over Sampdoria on Sunday.
The Lagos born center forward has now scored thrice and provided one assist in his last six Serie A appearance, as he nears the sort of form that saw manager Genaro Gattuso so desperate to bring him to Naples from Lille last summer.
“Osimhen is the star of this day, but he is the same failure in this championship due to the problems he had.
“You can see immediately, he is a special player.”Sky Sport Italia pundit, Alessandro Bonan
ENNIO TARDINI STADIUM: Parma 1 – 3 AC Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s red card for saying something to the referee overshadowed AC Milan’s impressive win at Parma, as they continued their bid to stage an unlikely comeback to reclaim top spot from city rivals Inter Milan.
Ibrahimovic assisted Rebic for the game’s opening goal and played a part in the second, which was converted by Ivory Coast international Frank Kessie, before being sent for an early shower on the hour mark.
Parma halved the deficit six minutes later through Riccardo Gagliolo to set up a nervy finish, but the Rossoneri held their nerves to score one more in injury time to take the game beyond reach.
“Zlatan told me that he argued with the referee and it lasted some time.
“He assured me that he did not disrespect him and above all he did not offend.”Milan coach Stefano Pioli, via Sky Sport Italia.
Inter can reestablish an 11-point lead at the top of the standings if they beat Cagliari today.
SAN SIRO: Inter Milan 1 – 0 Cagliari
Matteo Damian scored the game’s only goal in the second half as Inter Milan made it eleven wins from the last eleven games with a narrow home victory over relegation threatened Cagliari.
Morocco international Achraf Hakimi’s pass was tapped in from close range by the Italian full back as the home team rallied past a stubborn Cagliari side.
The win means Antonio Conte’s side stretch their lead at the top of the Series A standings to 11 points as they tightened their grip on a first Scudetto since the famous treble winning 2009/10 season.
BUNDESLIGA: Leipzig cut Bayern lead lo five points, Bellingham nets first league goal in Dortmund comeback
ALLIANZ ARENA: Bayern 1 – 1 Union Berlin
Marcus Ingvartsen grabbed a late equalizer for Union Berlin in their away draw against reigning champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
With Leipzig winning 4 – 1 at Werder Bremen, Bayern’s lead at the top has now been cut to five points, six games before the end of the season.
Former England youth international of Nigerian descent Jamal Musiala, thought he had won it for Bayern, who started the game with a relatively inexperienced line up when he casually applied a brilliant finishing touch to a brilliant run in the 68th minute, only for Ingvartsen to smash in at Manuel Neuer’s back post in injury time to earn Union an unlikely away draw.
Bayern were missing nine first team regulars in total; including top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski, but they will be hoping to welcome some of them back ahead of their crucial Champions league quarter-final return leg at Paris Saint-Germain.
Ahead of Tuesday’s return leg at the Park De Princes, Hansi Flick’s side trail their French opponents after losing the first leg 3 – 2.
MERCEDES-BENZ ARENA: Stuttgart 2 – 3 BVB
Marco Reus’ goal either side of teenagers Ansgar Knauff and Jude Bellingham, who both opened their Bundesliga goalscoring accounts, saw Borussia Dortmund complete a hard fought comeback to win narrowly at Stuttgart.
Stuttgart got the game’s opening goal through Sasa Kalajdzic in the 17th minute, before 17-year-old England international Bellingham pulled Dortmund level after the restart.
Team captain Marco Reus put Dortmund ahead in the 52nd minute, but the home team were not going to let it slip off slightly as they grabbed a 78th minute equalizer through Daniel Didavi.
19-year-old Knauff scored with ten minutes remaining to snatch a vital three points for the black and yellows, ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City at the Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund trail city 2 – 1 after losing the first leg played in England last week Tuesday.
- Bayern Munich 1 – 1 Union Berlin
- Stuttgart 2 – 3 Dortmund
- Frankfurt 4 – 3 Wolfsburg
- Hertha Berlin 2 – 2 Monchengladbach
- Werder Bremen 1 – 4 RB Leipzig
LIGUE 1: PSG win to keep pressure on leaders Lille
MEINAU STADIUM: Strasbourg 1 – 4 PSG
Kylian Mbappe continued his explosive goal scoring form this season with one of the goals as Paris Saint-Germain won away at Strasbourg to keep the pressure on leaders Lille.
The Frenchman broke the deadlock in the 16th minutes with a low shot through Matz Sels’ legs, before Pablo Sarabia (27’) and Moise Kean (45’) opened a three-goal advantage for PSG before half-time.
Dion Moise Sahi (63’) pulled one back for the hosts, but Leandro Paredes scored with 11 minutes remaining to ensure Mauricio Pochettino’s side won by a three-goal advantage.
Lille remain three points clear of PSG at the top of the table after winning 2-0 at Metz on Friday.
PSG host reigning World and European champions Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday holding a 3-2 lead from the first leg in Germany.
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Mubarak Mohammed Zakari He prefers to be known not as just a Sports Journalist; but as a "modern broadcaster" because of his ability to create content for visual, audio and print media. He co-hosts a football podcast with a growing audience from 17 countries across the globe.