By JUSTIN FERGUSON
For the first time since March, Spanish giants Barcelona are on a losing streak.
Five days after their road Champions League loss to Ajax, the first defeat since Gerardo Martino took over the managerial post at Camp Nou, Barcelona were defeated 1-0 Sunday in their first trip to Athletic Bilbao’s new San Mames Stadium.
After more than an hour of even action that resulted in few chances on either goal, Bilbao’s defensive pressure paid off when a turnover inside Barcelona’s half opened up a chance down the right wing. Bilbao winger Susaeta hit a low cross into the box, and teammate Iker Muniain was there to hit a first-time shot past Barcelona goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto. First-place Barcelona, who were missing several key players due to injury, could not find a response after Muniain’s 70th-minute winner, and Bilbao were soon celebrating their sixth win in eight matches at their new home.
In England, another top team missing some offensive firepower was handed a shocking road loss. Without leading scorer Daniel Sturridge, who could miss up to two months with an injury he suffered during training on Friday, Liverpool were stunned 3-1 by newly promoted Hull City on Sunday. Although Jake Livermore’s first-half goal for the host Tigers was canceled out by an excellent Steven Gerrard free kick, Hull scored twice in the final 20 minutes to put away Liverpool and move up to 10th place in the English Premier League table.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
Chelsea took full advantage of Liverpool’s loss at Hull City on Sunday with a 3-1 comeback victory against Southampton. Saints forward Jay Rodriguez scored just 13 seconds into the two sides’ meeting at Stamford Bridge, but center backs Gary Cahill and John Terry combined to give Chelsea the lead in the span of seven second-half minutes. Chelsea forward Demba Ba, who had not scored in an EPL match all season, secured all three points and second place for the Blues with a goal in the 90th minute.
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United played out a fiercely competitive 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Kyle Walker scored on an 18th-minute free kick to put the hosts up, but the English defender gifted an equalizer to fellow countryman Wayne Rooney 14 minutes later. Although Spurs, who regained the lead shortly after halftime thanks to an incredible goal from midfielder Sandro, had multiple appeals for penalties throughout the match, Manchester United were awarded a spot kick that Rooney converted three minutes after Sandro’s goal.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0
Arsenal 3, Cardiff City 0
Everton 4, Stoke City 0
Norwich City 1, Crystal Palace 0
West Ham United 3, Fulham 0
Newcastle United 2, West Bromwich Albion 1
Tottenham Hotspur 2, Manchester United 2
Hull City 3, Liverpool 1
Chelsea 3, Southampton 1
Manchester City 3, Swansea City 0
Thanks to Bilbao’s win against Barcelona, second-place Atletico Madrid are now level with the defending champions on points in the La Liga table. Atletico overcame a tough Elche squad on Saturday with a 2-0 road win that extended their league unbeaten run to six matches. Koke’s scored a controversial 63rd-minute goal after Diego Costa knocked a defender out of his way, and Costa put the match away 11 minutes later thanks to a fine pass from second-half substitute Adrian.
Third-place Real Madrid also benefited from Barcelona’s loss as Los Blancos pulled to three points behind their two main rivals after their 4-0 victory against Real Valladolid. While star winger Cristiano Ronaldo was sidelined with an injury, Real’s newest big-money signing netted his first hat trick with the Spanish club. Welsh winger Gareth Bale scored with his head, his right foot and his left foot in the victory, giving him eight goals in the last seven matches with his new team.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Getafe 1, Levante 0
Villarreal 1, Malaga 1
Atletico Madrid 2, Elche 0
Celta Vigo 3, Almeria 1
Real Madrid 4, Real Valladolid 0
Real Sociedad 2, Espanyol 1
Real Betis 2, Rayo Vallecano 2
Sevilla 2, Granada 1
Valencia 3, Osasuna 0
Athletic Bilbao 1, Barcelona 0
There was no shakeup in the top part of the Bundesliga table this weekend as each of the league’s top five teams were victorious. League-leading Bayern Munich defeated last-place Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 at the Allianz Arena thanks to a brace in the opening half-hour from Arjen Robben. Bayern cruised to their sixth consecutive league victory while controlling 78 percent of the match’s possession and out-shooting their lowly opponents 18-8 in front of their home fans.
Second-place Bayer Leverkusen successfully rebounded from their rough 5-0 midweek loss to Manchester United with a 3-0 home victory against relegation-zoned Nurnberg. Heung Min-Son opened and closed the scoring for Bayer, who also got a goal in the 47th minute from leading scorer Stefan Kießling. Nurnberg were able to fire 16 shots in the loss, but the 17th-place club left the BayArena still winless after its 14th match of the Bundesliga campaign.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Wolfsburg 1, Hamburg 1
Bayer Leverkusen 3, Nurnberg 0
Bayern Munich 2, Eintracht Braunschweig 0
Hertha Berlin 0, Augsburg 0
Borussia Dortmund 3, Mainz 1
Hoffenheim 4, Werder Bremen 4
Schalke 3, Stuttgart 0
Hannover 2, Eintracht Frankfurt 0
Borussia Monchengladbach 1, Freiburg 0
First-place Juventus extended their Serie A lead to three points with their dramatic 1-0 home victory against Udinese on Sunday. Although Juve shot the ball 27 times in the match, they were not able to beat Udinese goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic until second-half stoppage time, when Fernando Llorente headed in Stephen Lichtsteiner’s 91st-minute cross. Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was also in great form Sunday, helping his club post its sixth consecutive clean sheet in league play.
Former league leaders AS Roma were held to their fourth straight draw Sunday, but Michael Bradley and the capital club were fortunate to leave Atalanta with the 1-1 decision. Davide Brivio’s 51st-minute free kick gave the hosts the lead, but Roma were able to finally find an equalizer in the 90th minute. Winger Adem Ljajic found Kevin Strootman in the dying moments of the match, and the Dutch midfielder made the breakthrough on Atalanta’s stingy defense with a well-placed shot.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Parma 1, Bologna 1
Genoa 1, Torino 1
AC Milan 3, Catania 1
Atalanta 1, AS Roma 1
Cagliari 2, Sassuolo 2
Chievo Verona 3, Livorno 0
Inter Milan 1, Sampdoria 1
Juventus 1, Udinese 0
First-place Paris Saint-Germain extended their unbeaten run to 36 matches Sunday with a commanding 4-0 home victory against struggling Lyon, who only had one shot on goal against the defending champions. Edinson Cavani opened the scoring in the 36th minute with his 10th goal of the season, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled the lead just before halftime with a successful penalty try. Defender Thiago Silva netted his first goal of the season at the hour mark while Ibrahimovic closed the rout with another penalty in the 83rd minute.
Despite playing the final 38 minutes with only 10 men, second-place Lille kept up their outstanding shutout streak with a 1-0 road win against Valenciennes. Forward Ronny, who came on as a halftime substitute, scored in less than a minute of action to give Lille their only goal of the match. Although Franck Beria was handed his second yellow card minutes later, Lille posted their 10th consecutive clean sheet thanks to solid defense and a couple of good saves from Vincent Enyeama.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Marseille 2, Montpellier 0
Saint Etienne 4, Stade de Reims 0
AS Monaco 2, Stade Rennes 0
Guingamp 1, Nantes 0
Lorient 3, Nice 0
Toulouse 5, Sochaux 1
Lille 1, Valenciennes 0
Bordeaux 4, Ajaccio 0
Bastia 2, Evian Thonon Gaillard 0
Paris Saint-Germain 4, Lyon 0
What do you think of this weekend’s European league action? Shocked at Barcelona’s back-to-back losses? See Liverpool bouncing back without Sturridge? Impressed with Bale’s first Real Madrid hat trick? Which other results caught your eye this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.
Just goes to show how much Messi means to Barça. Taken for granted sometimes