By ADAM TROXTELL
Barcelona’s troubles looked a whole lot smaller by Sunday evening.
After a week of transfer bans and reports of unrest in the dressing room, the Catalans eased some of the mounting pressure by beating Atletico Madrid, 3-1. Barcelona now sits one point behind Primera Division leaders Real Madrid and in sole possession of second place.
In a feisty encounter, Barcelona found time to dominate possession while putting seven shots on the Atletico goal. Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi each scored goals to secure the sorely-needed victory.
Manchester United’s run of 11 games without a loss came to an end. Southampton took all three points from Old Trafford for the first time since 1988 with a 1-0 victory that jumped the Saints ahead of Manchester United for third place in the Premier League.
In Italy, Roma and Lazio played a dramatic 2-2 tie in the Derby della Capitale, with Francesco Totti delivering both goals for Roma.
Here’s a recap of all the action from Europe on Sunday:
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION
Another beneficiary of Barcelona’s win was Sevilla, which recorded a 2-0 victory at Almeria.
Sevilla is now within striking distance of third-placed Atletico Madrid with a game in hand. An otherwise even contest was disrupted by five minutes of madness for Almeria.
Vicente Iborra struck in the 58th minute off an assist from Carlos Bacca. Soon the lead was doubled through substitute Coke.
Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao was shocked by relegation candidates Elche in a 2-1 loss. Granada and Real Sociedad traded penalty kicks in a 1-1 draw.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Louis van Gaal said he thought the better team lost in Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to Southampton.
Both teams registered seven shots, though the Red Devils held the edge in possession. None of Manchester United’s shots were on target though. Southampton recorded just one shot and made it count.
Six minutes after entering the game, Dusan Tadic played the ball through to Graziano Pelle down the right. Pelle’s shot rattled the base of the post and Tadic was there to clean up for the game winner in the 69th minute.
Man United had their chances, including a few Juan Mata shots that sailed hopelessly wide. A suspected ankle injury to Robin Van Persie – who will undergo scans to determine its severity – only made things worse for the home team.
Southampton has clearly overcome its pre-holiday troubles with four wins in the last five games.
In the mix with the Saints and Man United in the UEFA Champions League place battle is Arsenal, which posted a 3-0 victory against Stoke. Laurent Koscielny headed in the opener with just six minutes gone, and from there it was all Gunners.
Alexis Sanchez provided the cross for that goal before scoring the next two. Sanchez now has 12 goals for the season.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Francesco Totti will be remembered for two things in the coming days: a goal and a bit of photography.
The Roma legend arrived at the back post for the equalizing goal in a 2-2 draw against fierce rivals Lazio. He celebrated by producing a smart phone and taking a selfie with the Roma faithful in the background.
It was Totti’s second goal of an afternoon that began with Lazio dominance. Felipe Anderson had a flying start to the game, taking the ball from Radja Nainggolan before providing a neatly lofted ball to Stefano Mauri, who volleyed home on 25 minutes.
They reversed roles later when Mauri’s back-heel set up a well-placed 20 yard drive from Felipe Anderson for a 2-0 Lazio lead at the half-hour mark. Roma flipped the switch after halftime, however, to dominate possession and record four shots on target.
Totti’s goals were his 10th and 11th against Lazio, the most by a single player in Roma history.
It might still be considered points dropped for Roma, however, as Juventus held on to beat Napoli, 3-1, in the late game.
The Serie A champions opened the scoring with a stupendous volley from Paul Pogba in the 29th minute. Miguel Brittos got one back for Napoli in the second half when he turned in Dries Mertens’ cross.
Martin Caceres put Juve back ahead in similar fashion just five minutes later. A long-range effort by Arturo Vidal capped a Juventus counter-attack and sealed the game with minutes to go.
Here’s all the results from Italy:
Inter Milan 3, Genoa 1
Atalanta 1, Chievo 1
Cagliari 2, Cesena 1
Fiorentina 4, Palermo 3
Hellas Verona 3, Parma 1
Roma 2, Lazio 2
Sampdoria 1, Empoli 0
Napoli 1, Juventus 3
FRENCH LIGUE 1
All of the goals in Ligue 1 on Sunday came at the Stade Gerland.
Lyon topped Toulouse 3-0 and now sit on top of the league, one point ahead of Marseille and four points clear of defending champions PSG. Alexandre Lacazette struck in the 14th and 27th minutes for Lyon in a dominant display.
Nabil Fekir scored Lyon’s third just four minutes into the second half.
American Alejandro Bedoya saw 90 minutes of action for Nantes, but no one could make a difference in the 0-0 draw. Monaco and Bordeaux also finished goalless.