By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After Barcelona blew a two-goal lead in the final minutes of regular time in their Saturday match against Sevilla, all signs pointed toward a new leader in La Liga.
But, in the final seconds of stoppage time, a last-gasp Lionel Messi pass took a deflection and landed at the feet of fellow forward Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean fired the ball past goalkeeper Beto to send the Camp Nou fans happy and give still-perfect Barcelona a thrilling 3-2 victory.
The defending Spanish league champions were cruising their way to a win over Sevilla thanks to goals from Dani Alves and Messi. But Sevilla stormed back, grabbing an 80th-minute goal from Ivan Rakitic and a stunning 90th-minute volley from Coke Andjuar.
However, Messi would help rescue all three points with a fine individual effort. The superstar forward sliced through the Sevilla defense with his skills and a rare burst of strength. His pullback pass to Sanchez was clipped by Beto, and Alexis was there to fire home the dramatic 94th-minute winner.
Meanwhile in England, Chelsea’s goalscoring woes at Goodison Park came back with a vengeance on Saturday as Everton defeated the visiting Blues 1-0. Before their 2-1 win at Everton last season, Chelsea had only scored once in four visits to the blue side of Liverpool. New striker Samuel Eto’o and the rest of Jose Mourinho’s men were unable to match birthday boy Steven Naismith’s headed goal in first half stoppage time.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
It did not take former Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Özil too long to make an impact for his new club. The newest member of Arsenal assisted Olivier Giroud’s opener in just his 11th minute of action as a Gunner, but the German’s fine debut performance was overshadowed by Aaron Ramsey’s second-half brace in the North London club’s 3-1 win at Sunderland. The loss was extra painful for the winless Black Cats, who had a Jozy Altidore equalizer disallowed in the 70th minute of the match.
After back-to-back goalless performances under new manager David Moyes, Manchester United gained some momentum heading into their Champions League group stage opener with a 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace. Robin van Persie converted a penalty in first half stoppage time, and Wayne Rooney fired in an 81st-minute free kick to seal all three points for Man United. Newly promoted Palace, who were coming off their first league win of the season, did not record a single shot on David De Gea’s goal in the entire match.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Manchester United 2, Crystal Palace 0
Newcastle United 2, Aston Villa 1
Fulham 1, West Bromwich Albion 1
Hull City 1, Cardiff City 1
Stoke City 0, Manchester City 0
Arsenal 3, Sunderland 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Norwich City 0
Everton 1, Chelsea 0
Southampton 0, West Ham United 0
Despite goals from world-record signing Gareth Bale and the newly re-signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid dropped their first points of the season in a 2-2 draw with fellow undefeated side Villarreal. The newly promoted hosts struck first on Saturday through Cani, but the debuting Bale answered with a 38th-minute sliding goal. Ronaldo got a favorable deflection to find its way into the back of the net in the 64th minute, but Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos would have the last laugh with a well-struck rebound six minutes later.
While Barcelona and Real Madrid commanded the headlines in Spain, Atletico Madrid stayed level with the defending champions in their 4-2 win over Almeria. David Villa and Diego Costa gave the second-place club a 2-0 first half lead, and a quickfire double from Tiago and Koke secured the Atletico home victory. Los Colchoneros are now level with Barcelona at 4-0-0 and a +10 goal differential in La Liga play.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Atletico Madrid 4, Almeria 2
Levante 0, Real Sociedad 0
Barcelona 3, Sevilla 2
Villarreal 2, Real Madrid 2
Espanyol 1, Granada 0
Getafe 2, Osasuna 1
Malaga 5, Rayo Vallecano 0
Real Betis 3, Valencia 1
First-place Borussia Dortmund continued their perfect start to the Bundesliga season with a 6-2 thrashing of Hamburg, a side that beat them twice in their previous league campaign. Dortmund raced out to a 2-0 lead before Zhi Gin Lam and Heiko Westermann put Hamburg right back in it. But after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notched his second goal of the match, the floodgates opened up for Dortmund as Robert Lewandowski scored on both sides of a Marco Reus chip.
Defending champions Bayern Munich stayed in second place with a 2-0 win against a hard-fighting Hannover 96 squad Saturday. Hannover traded punches with favored Bayern through the first half, but Mario Mandzukic’s 51st-minute goal signaled the beginning of the end for a side that were routed by Bayern in both league meetings last season. Franck Ribery continued his goalscoring form for both club and country 13 minutes later, following up an effort from teammate Arjen Robben.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Bayer Leverkusen 3, Wolfsburg 1
Bayern Munich 2, Hannover 0
Augsburg 2, Freiburg 1
Schalke 1, Mainz 0
Eintracht Frankfurt 3, Werder Bremen 0
Borussia Dortmund 6, Hamburg 2
Hoffenheim 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 1
Eintracht Braunschweig 1, Nurnberg 1
The first Derby d’Italia match of the 2013-14 season ended in a 1-1 draw Saturday as both Inter Milan and Juventus found the back of the net midway through the second half. After back-to-back shutouts to start the season, Inter looked like the more threatening side, and Mauro Icardi gave them the lead in the 73rd minute. But it took less than two minutes for Juventus star Arturo Vidal to equalize for the defending champions, and Juventus left San Siro with a precious road point.
Back in Juventus’s hometown of Turin, AC Milan rescued a 2-2 draw with Torino on a last-minute Mario Balotelli penalty kick. Two second-half goals from Torino put the hosts close to their first win over Milan in 12 years, but Sulley Muntari’s 87th-minute goal gave the visitors a glimmer of hope. Andrea Poli then drew a penalty deep into stoppage time, and Balotelli coolly converted on the final kick of the dramatic match.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Inter Milan 1, Juventus 1
Napoli 2, Atalanta 0
Torino 2, AC Milan 2
Fiorentina 1, Cagliari 1
Hellas Verona 2, Sassuolo 0
Lazio 3, Chievo Verona 0
Livorno 2, Catania 0
Udinese 1, Bologna 1
Genoa 3, Sampdoria 0
Newly promoted AS Monaco are still at the top of the Ligue 1 table after the fifth weekend of action in France. Claudio Ranieri’s squad made it four wins in five matches in Sunday’s 1-0 home victory against Lorient. The club’s monster summer signing, former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, scored the match’s only goal from the penalty spot in the sixth minute. The Colombian now has scored one goal in each of Monaco’s four wins in this young season.
Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain now sit in third place after kicking off the French weekend with a 2-0 win at Bordeaux. Blaise Matuidi and Lucas Moura scored for the Parisians, who travel to face Olympiakos later this week in Champions League action. PSG have now won three straight Ligue 1 matches after opening the season with two draws—a slow start to their title defense.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Paris Saint-Germain 2, Bordeaux 0
Toulouse 1, Marseille 1
Evian Thonon Gaillard 3, Ajaccio 2
Guingamp 1, Bastia 1
Montpellier 0, Stade de Reims 0
Nantes 1, Sochaux 0
Saint Etienne 3, Valenciennes 1
AS Monaco 1, Lorient 0
Nice 2, Lille 0
Lyon 0, Stade Rennes 0
What do you think of this weekend’s European league action? Impressed with Barcelona’s perfect start to the season? Surprised Chelsea were unable to find the back of the net at Everton? Which other performances caught your eye this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.