European Roundup: Osasuna Strike Late To Deny Barcelona, Empoli Upset Napoli

 European Roundup: Osasuna Strike Late To Deny Barcelona, Empoli Upset Napoli


The Barcelona coach, Xavi Hernández, has warned his team are stuck in a “negative spiral” after they let three points slip from their grasp in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna.

Deprived of seven key players through injury, Xavi was forced to turn to his youngsters and it looked to have paid off as the visitors took an early lead. Seventeen-year-old Gavi found Nico González with a precise through-ball that left the 19-year-old to fire past the keeper.

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Osasuna hit straight back with a header from defender David García, but Barça retook the lead on the counter when another teenager, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, volleyed home from Ousmane Dembélé’s cross. Barcelona had broken away while Osasuna’s players were protesting that Sergio Busquets had handled the ball.

Barça held on until the 86th minute, when Chimy Ávila’s low shot from outside the box deflected in off Samuel Umtiti’s right foot. It was a bitter blow, but Xavi’s side had struggled to control the game or create chances in Pamplona.

“We are in a negative spiral and we need to find a way to break it,” Xavi said after the game. “This draw is not enough. When we scored the second goal we should have taken control but we didn’t and that made us suffer.”

Elsewhere in La Liga, Real Betis climbed to third with a 4-0 home win over Real Sociedad, with wing-back Álex Moreno scoring twice for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Villarreal followed up their midweek Champions League triumph with a 2-0 home win over Rayo Vallecano, Gerard Moreno’s penalty securing victory.

Internazionale climbed to the top of Serie A in style as Lautaro Martínez’s double helped them thrash Cagliari 4-0 at the San Siro.

The champions dominated from start to finish to earn their fifth league win in a row, with Martínez getting the scoring up and running with a header in the 29th minute. Martínez could have doubled Inter’s lead before half-time, but saw a tame penalty saved.

The hosts did not have to wait long for a second though as Alexis Sánchez volleyed in five minutes after the break. Hakan Calhanoglu soon added a third. Martínez completed the scoring in the 68th minute with a delicate finish after bringing Nicolò Barella’s inch-perfect long pass under control.

Napoli slipped to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Empoli, their third loss from their last five league games. Eljif Elmas’ shot caught the top of the crossbar in the first half, but the visitors went in front through Patrick Cutrone’s header in the 70th minute.

Luciano Spalletti’s side threw everything at Empoli late on – the hosts finished the match having had 30 shots at goal – but without injured striker Victor Osimhen, and a host of other key players, they could not muster an equaliser and fall to fourth in the table.

André-Frank Zambo Anguissa reacts at the final whistle as Napoli slumped to a home defeat. Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Atalanta moved above them into third after winning 2-1 at Verona to bolster their title credentials. Giovanni Simeone’s 12th league goal of the season put the hosts in front, but Aleksey Miranchuk’s close-range finish and Teun Koopmeiners’ deflected strike turned the game around.

Elsewhere, Sassuolo struck twice in quick succession in the second half to beat Lazio 2-1 at home. Goals from Domenico Berardi and Giacomo Raspadori sealed the hosts’ comeback after Mattia Zaccagni had put Lazio ahead. Antonio Sanabria opened the scoring for Torino as they beat Bologna 2-1 at home.

Paris Saint-Germain continued their march towards the Ligue 1 title after a Kylian Mbappé double earned them a clinical 2-0 home victory against Monaco.

Mbappé opened the scoring with a penalty and sealed the win with a precise strike in the opening half. The result takes them 13 points clear at the top of the table.

Marseille are up to second in Ligue 1 after earning a 2-0 win at Strasbourg. Bamba Dieng’s spectacular bicycle kick broke the deadlock just after the hour mark before Duje Caleta-Car headed the second for Jorge Sampaoli’s side. Rennes are third after a 2-1 home defeat to Nice, who are one point behind in fourth after goals from Kasper Dolberg and Youcef Atal earned victory.

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In Germany, Bayer Leverkusen took a two-goal lead at Eintracht Frankfurt through Patrik Schick’s double, but were rocked by the hosts’ incredible comeback to win 5-2. Lucas Tuta and Jesper Lindstrom quickly got Eintracht on terms, before Evan N’Dicka stabbed home from close range. Fine finishes from Kristjan Jakic and Djibril Sow completed the rout.

Bottom club Greuther Fürth earned their first league win of the season as they edged out Union Berlin 1-0. Havard Nielsen’s winner ended a run of 12 straight league defeats, but the promoted side are still 13 points from safety with just four points.

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