By JUSTIN FERGUSON
In the first major weekend of European league action, most of the continent’s top teams took care of business as there were few eyebrow-raising results.
But this weekend, Europe saw its first two shocking results as Champions League-qualifying clubs fell in shocking fashion to newly promoted sides.
In England, last season’s Championship winners Cardiff City pulled off a stunning 3-2 home win over Manchester City. Forward Frazier Campbell was the hero for the Welsh side, heading two second-half goals off of corner kicks to earn the club’s first top-flight win in over 50 years.
After a scoreless first half, Man City’s Edin Dzeko put the visitors in front with a thunderous 52nd-minute strike off a lovely passing sequence. But Cardiff, who lost last week’s opener 2-0 to West Ham United, found an equalizer eight minutes later thanks to an Aron Gunnarsson rebound.
The Citizens pressed hard to regain the lead, but Cardiff held off their attack and grabbed two quick goals from set piece situations. In less than 10 minutes time, Frazier rose above the Man City defense to nod two goals past Joe Hart for the stunning lead. Man City substitute Alvaro Negredo pulled one back in stoppage time, but his miss in the dying seconds of the match secured all three famous points for the new EPL members.
But the first shocking result of the weekend was in Italy, where AC Milan dropped their season opener 2-1 at Hellas Verona. Milan have now failed to record a win for the third straight season under manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Like Cardiff, newly promoted Verona were victorious thanks to a pair of headed goals from one of their forwards. New Milan midfielder Andrea Poli put the visitors up early off a good pass from Mario Balotelli, but veteran goalscorer Luca Toni scored in the 30th and 53rd minutes. The lead earned by the 36-year-old Toni, who was making his debut for his 13th Italian club, was secured in the late stages by a few clutch saves from longtime goalkkeper Rafael.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
On Saturday, Arsenal carried over their positive performance from midweek win over Fenerbahce with a 3-1 victory at Fulham. Olivier Giroud opened up the scoring with another early goal for the Gunners, and Lukas Podolski followed up with a brace. New Fulham signing Darren Bent pulled one back for the hosts in the 77th minute, but it would be all the offense the Cottagers would get against an Arsenal side determined to get its first EPL win of the season.
For the first time in Premier League history, a pair of teams have opened the season with two 1-0 wins. After Liverpool grabbed three road points over Aston Villa by way of a first-half Daniel Sturridge goal on Saturday, Tottenham Hotspur repeated the scoreline in their Sunday win over Swansea City. But unlike Liverpool, Tottenham’s two goals in this season have been scored by the same player, new forward Roberto Soldado, and they both have been penalty kicks. This pair of six-point clubs are now at the top of the table with Chelsea, who play Manchester United on Monday.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Arsenal 3, Fulham 1
Everton 0, West Bromwich Albion 0
Hull City 1, Norwich City 0
Newcastle United 0, West Ham United 0
Southampton 1, Sunderland 1
Stoke City 2, Crystal Palace 1
Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 0
Cardiff City 3, Manchester City 2
Tottenham Hotspur 1, Swansea City 0
It was not as easy as their opening La Liga win, but Barcelona were able to make it two victories in two league matches under new manager Gerardo Martino on Sunday. The defending champions won 1-0 at Malaga, who have now fallen by that margin in back-to-back matches. Adriano put the visitors in front just before halftime with a stunning long-range strike, and while their opponents dominated possession and chances on goal, Malaga came agonizingly close to an equalizer several times in the second half.
Atletico Madrid enjoyed the offensive success that Barcelona had in their opening league match, defeating city rivals Rayo Vallecano 5-0 at the Vicente Calderon. Raul Garcia opened and closed the scoring for the dominant hosts, who also got goals from Diego Costa, Arda Turan and Tiago. Despite owning more of the possession, Rayo only had one shot on goal in the entire match, a late Saul effort that was claimed by Thibaut Courtois.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Getafe 2, Almeria 2
Athletic Bilbao 2, Osasuna 0
Elche 1, Real Sociedad 1
Espanyol 3, Valencia 1
Villarreal 2, Real Valladolid 1
Atletico Madrid 5, Rayo Vallecano 0
Levante 0, Sevilla 0
Barcelona 1, Malaga 0
Celta Vigo 2, Real Betis 1
For the second week in a row, Borussia Dortmund dominated a home match from the opening whistle but emerged victorious by a single goal. Dortmund opened up the Bundesliga weekend on Friday with a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen, who had won their first two matches by the same margin. Forward Robert Lewandowski netted the match’s lone goal in the 55th minute, but the hosts left Signal Iduna Park wondering how only one of their 32 shots found the back of the net.
Rivals Bayern Munich overcame a slow start to record a solid 2-0 home victory over Nurnberg, but the three points came with some bad news—new midfielder Thiago suffered an ankle injury that will keep him out for seven weeks. The defending champions got second-half goals from veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben a few minutes after the injured Spaniard was subbed off in the 62nd minute for Thomas Muller. Thiago is expected to undergo surgery, which will make for a disappointing long-term loss for Bayern manager Pep Guardiola.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Borussia Dortmund 1, Werder Bremen 0
Bayer Leverkusen 4, Borussia Monchengladbach 2
Bayern Munich 2, Nurnberg 0
Hannover 2, Schalke 1
Mainz 2, Wolfsburg 0
Hoffenheim 3, Freiburg 3
Hertha Berlin 1, Hamburg 0
Eintracht Frankfurt 2, Eintracht Braunschweig 0
Augsburg 2, Stuttgart 1
Juventus started their quest for a three-peat with a tense 1-0 victory over Sampdoria, a side that beat them twice last season. New signing Carlos Tevez struck the winner shortly before the hour mark after receiving a perfect pass from teammate Paul Pogba. Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had little work to do for Juve, but his save of a quickfire Gaetano Berardi went a long way in preserving the revenge-fueled win.
While rivals Milan struggled in their road match against a newly promoted club, AS Roma were victorious in their trip to face a Serie A newcomer. Roma got quickfire goals in the second half from Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi to secure a 2-0 win over Livorno. American midfielder Michael Bradley went the full 90 minutes in the win for Roma, who were without new signing Kevin Strootman.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Hellas Verona 2, AC Milan 1
Juventus 1, Sampdoria 0
Inter Milan 2, Genoa 0
Cagliari 2, Atalanta 1
Lazio 2, Udinese 1
AS Roma 2, Livorno 0
Napoli 3, Bologna 0
Parma 0, Chievo Verona 0
Torino 2, Sassuolo 0
After two draws to open the new Ligue 1 season, defending champions Paris Saint-Germain got their first victory on Sunday, a 2-1 road result over Nantes. Former Napoli teammates Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi found the back of the net for the Parisians, who lost their early lead to an Alex own goal in the 53rd minute. Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was instrumental in PSG’s victory, making several clutch stops in the second half.
With AS Monaco playing out a scoreless draw with Toulouse on Friday, Marseille now stands alone at the top of the Ligue 1 table with a 3-0-0 record. OM needed a late goal from Andre-Pierre Gignac to defeat Valenciennes by a score of 1-0 on Saturday. Gignac has now scored a goal in each of Marseille’s three wins in this young French domestic campaign.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Monaco 0, Toulouse 0
Marseille 1, Valenciennes 0
Bordeaux 1, Bastia 0
Stade Rennes 2, Evian Thonon Gaillard 1
Guingamp 2, Lorient 0
Stade de Reims 1, Lyon 0
Montpellier 2, Sochaux 1
Lille 1, Saint Etienne 0
Ajaccio 0, Nice 0
Paris Saint-Germain 2, Nantes 1
What do you think of these results? Which was more surprising to you: Manchester City’s home loss to Cardiff City or AC Milan’s road loss to Hellas Verona? Impressed with Arsenal’s bounce-back win over Fulham? What other performances from this weekend’s action caught your eye?
Share your thoughts below.