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Sunday European Rewind: Leaky Inter lose again; Messi scores 3 in Barca rout; and more

RodrigoPalacioInterMilan1-Udinese2014 (Getty)


A bad habit for Inter Milan keeps getting worse.

The Nerazzurri failed to capitalize on a dominant first half in a 2-1 loss to Udinese on Sunday. It is their seventh game without a win in all competitions and leaves them seven points away from a Champions League spot in Serie A.

When Rodrigo Palacio’s errant back pass was picked up and dispatched by Udinese substitute Cyril Thereau in the 71st minute for the winner, it became the 13th goal Inter have conceded in the past seven winless games. Any efforts by boss Roberto Mancini to fix a leaky defense clearly are not taking effect.

Inter took the lead on the stroke of halftime through Mauro Icardi. Fredy Guarin danced around the Udinese defense before sending the Argentine through on goal to dispatch the ball in the near left post.

Bruno Fernandes equalized an hour into the game as Udinese ventured forward. Thomas Heurtaux provided the pass across the box for the young Portuguese striker as Fernandes bounced the ball up and hit the volley into the far corner.

Despite dominating possession, Inter faced 15 Udinese shots and couldn’t finish their own chances. Their opponents, however, did enough to stay in the race for the top four.

One team who had no trouble scoring, and little issues conceding, was Barcelona in a 5-1 rout of city rivals Espanyol. Lionel Messi both equalized and gave Barcelona the lead either side of halftime while a third goal gave him his third hat trick in five games.

Aston Villa recorded a second consecutive win in a 2-1 result against Leicester to climb to 11th in the Barclays Premier League In France, Marseille returned to the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win over Metz.

Here’s all the action from Sunday in Europe’s top leagues:


Inter should have been a head by two when Fernandes scored Udinese’s first goal in a 2-1 comeback win.

Mateo Kovacic was presented with a golden opportunity to give them the lead in the 22nd minute, but could only watch as his point-blank shot from six yards out cannoned off the cross bar. Later, Kovacic would have a chance to equalize as a curling left-foot volley spun just a few feet wide.

But the real issues for Inter are at the other end. Despite controlling the game, there were constant moments of discomfort when Udinese had their turn at goal. Fernandes even had time to elevate the ball for a well-struck volley.

Palacio’s poor back pass turned Udinese winner was an appropriate example of Inter shooting themselves in the foot as a European spot inches away from them.

They were unable to take advantage of a loss earlier in the day by neighbors AC Milan, who fell 1-0 at Genoa. A virtually unmarked Luca Antonelli headed in Diego Perotti’s corner kick in the 32nd minute.

Milan just edged possession and shots on the day, but they couldn’t find a way past Genoa keeper Matia Perin. He faced seven shots on goal to preserve the clean sheet and take Genoa to third place.

Lazio won 2-1 at Parma to take advantage of a 2-2 draw between Napoli and Empoli. They now sit in fifth, just a point off of Napoli and a Champions League place.

Here’s all the results from Serie A:

Napoli 2, Empoli 2

Atalanta 3, Cesena 2

Genoa 1, AC Milan 0

Parma 1, Lazio 2

Inter 1, Udinese 2


Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo must be playing a game of “anything you can do, I can do better.”

Barcelona’s star man followed up Ronaldo’s hat trick against Celta Vigo yesterday with three goals of his own in a 5-1 Catalan Derby win over Espanyol. Messi unlocked the defense with magical runs that inspired a comeback win to leave Barcelona within two points of Real Madrid.

There was a moment when it looked like Espanyol might do the unthinkable. Just 13 minutes in, striker Felipe Caicedo robbed Sergio Busquets in the Barcelona defensive third and Sergio Garcia took things from there. He tucked inside to his left before finishing near post for a shock 1-0 lead.

It took Barcelona the whole half to break down an Espanyol set up for the counter attack, but they did just inside stoppage time. Xavi set up Messi at the top of the box, as the Argentine took a perfect touch and curled the low strike just inside the left post. Messi scored the game winner just five minutes after halftime, nut-megging a defender before unleashing a right-footed strike past Espanyol’s Francisco Casilla.

From there, it was all Barcelona. Gerard Pique headed in a corner before Pedro scored their fourth on 77 minutes. He was also involved in Messi’s third, providing the pass for a one-time finish.

David Moyes’ unbeaten start at Real Sociedad manager came to an abrupt end in a 4-0 loss to Villareal. An own goal by Enaut Zubikarai got things started in the 64th minute before three goals in the final 17 minutes took Villareal to sixth.

Here’s all the La Liga results from Sunday:

Rayo Vallecano 0, Sevilla 1

Barcelona 5, Espanyol 1

Villareal 4, Real Sociedad 0

Granada 1, Valencia 1


American goalkeeper Brad Guzan might be thanking his teammates after a 2-1 comeback win for Aston Villa over Leicester City.

Guzan could, perhaps, be held culpable for the opening goal that put the Foxes up. Riyad Marhrez’s low shot seemed to take a deflection on its way through to goal, and Guzan could only palm it a few yards away where Leonardo Ulloa dispatched the rebound.

Villa got the goals back through two defenders. Ciaran Clark headed in a free kick from Ashley Westwood to level things within five minutes. Then, striker Christian Benteke found Alan Hutton wide open just right of goal, where the Scotsman had time to control and gauge his options before finishing near post.

Even if he weren’t responsible for the opening goal, Guzan made up for it later. Just a few minutes before Hutton’s goal, the American produced an acrobatic save to keep out David Nugent’s well-struck volley. Leicester are now winless in 10 matches and bottom of the Premier League.

West Ham are up to third place after a 3-1 win over Swansea in the early game. Andy Carroll scored twice before Diafra Sakho’s thunderous volley on 87 minutes.

That goal came against substitute goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, however, as Lukasz Fabianski was sent off in the 69th minute. Fabianski had raced out to try and beat Sakho to the ball, but the Hammers’ striker got their first and was nearly brought down. He continued to hit the post with a shot, but referee Chris Foy called the play back and produced red for denying a goal scoring opportunity.

Here’s all the EPL results from Sunday:

West Ham United 3, Swansea City 1

Aston Villa 2, Leicester City 1


It’s a question of who will slip up first at the top of the table.

Marseille won 3-1 at home against Metz on Sunday to take back the top spot from PSG. Andre-Pierre Gingnac opened the scoring before veteran Florent Malouda equalized for Metz just after halftime.

Andre Ayew provided the winner and Dmitri Payet scored another in the 90th minute to solidify the win. Since a 2-0 loss to PSG in November, Marseille have not lost in four league games. PSG have yet to lose a game this season but have five more draws and two less defeats than the league leaders.

Lyon kept up with the pair in a 3-2 win over Evian. They twice came back before Alexandre Lacazette’s converted penalty in the 90th minute gave them all three points and put them five behind Marseille.

Here’s all the results from Ligue 1:

Evian 2, Lyon 3

Lens 1, Lille 1

Reims 2, Guingamp 3

Marseille 3, Metz 1


Eintracht Frankfurt stayed in the race for Europe while condemning Werder Bremen to at least a week in the relegation zone in a 5-2 win.

The league’s leading scorer Alexander Meier scored goals nine and 10 in Frankfurt’s win, their third on the bounce since a loss to Bayern Munich in early November. Bremen sit 17th on 13 points in a tight relegation battle.

Now out of the bottom three is Hamburg after a 2-1 win over midtable Mainz. A goal from Cleber and Rafael van der Vaart’s penalty took them up to 13th.

Here’s all the Bundesliga results from Sunday:

Hamburg 2, Mainz 1

Eintracht Frankfurt 5, Werder Bremen 2


What do you think of these results? Which games stand out to you? Do you see Roberto Mancini turning around Inter’s fortunes?

Share your thoughts below.

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