Iniesta sizzles; United back on top
Iniesta sizzles; United back on top
Bayern Munich went nine points clear in the Bundesliga while Serie A table-toppers Juventus slipped up with a 1-0 defeat at AC Milan and Paris St. Germain went top of Ligue 1 following a shining performance by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Champions Real Madrid slipped further off the pace when they were upset 1-0 at Real Betis on Saturday, a third defeat of the campaign for Jose Mourinho’s stuttering side.
Leaders Barcelona and second-placed Atletico Madrid took full advantage of Real’s stumble on Sunday, Barca winning 4-0 at Levante and Atletico thumping visiting Sevilla by the same scoreline at the Calderon.
Andres Iniesta was the star of unbeaten Barca’s victory in Valencia after the Spain playmaker created two goals for Lionel Messi and one for Cesc Fabregas and netted a brilliant effort of his own in a sparkling performance.
With 13 matches played, Barca have 37 points, Atletico 34 and Real 26. Malaga are fourth on 22 after they thrashed Valencia 4-0 on Saturday, level with fifth-placed Betis and two ahead of Levante in sixth.
Manchester United returned to the top of the Premier League standings with a 3-1 home win over Queens Park Rangers as champions Manchester City were held to a 0-0 draw at Chelsea in Rafa Benitez’s first game in charge of the London club.
United fell a goal behind to bottom club QPR, watched by their new manager Harry Redknapp, but sealed a trademark comeback victory with three goals in eight second-half minutes from Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher and Javier Hernandez.
Spaniard Benitez received a hostile reception from the Chelsea fans after replacing Roberto Di Matteo as manager and his players struggled for inspiration at a rainy Stamford Bridge against well-organized City.
Leaders Juventus suffered a second defeat in quick succession when they were beaten 1-0 by AC Milan after a controversial Robinho penalty.
Juve lead with 32 points from 14 matches with Inter Milan four points behind in second before their trip to Parma on Monday.
Third-placed Fiorentina left it late to grab a point in a 2-2 draw at Torino as Mounir El Hamdaoui came off the bench to score an equalizer six minutes from time.
Bayern Munich opened up a nine-point lead with a 5-0 demolition of Hanover 96 with forward Mario Gomez on target in his first league match this season.
Gomez, who underwent ankle surgery in August, netted 26 seconds after coming on as Bayern made it 11 wins from 13 games.
Champions Borussia Dortmund made it three wins in a row with a 2-1 victory at Mainz 05 to leapfrog into second place on 25 with Schalke 04 dropping to third after a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from a two-game suspension with a bang as he scored two and set up as many to send Paris St. Germain top of the Ligue 1 table with a 4-0 demolition of Troyes on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic has now scored 12 goals from 11 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG, who lead second-placed Olympique Marseille on goal difference after the Provence side beat 10-man Lille 1-0 on Sunday.
Marseille will play a game in hand on Wednesday at fourth-placed Olympique Lyon, who missed out on top spot on Sunday when they were humbled 3-0 at Toulouse. Girondins Bordeaux also missed out on the chance to go top as they lost 1-0 at champions Montpellier on Sunday. St. Etienne are third after they beat Valenciennes 1-0 on Friday.
Vitesse Arnhem came from behind to beat leaders PSV Eindhoven 2-1 with top scorer Wilfried Bony scoring his 15th goal of the season.
Third-placed Vitesse closed to within two points of PSV who have 33 points after 14 matches.
Luc Castaignos’ stoppage-time header salvaged a 2-2 draw for second-placed Twente against PEC Zwolle. Steve McClaren’s side are level on points with Vitesse.
Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord registered wins at Roda JC Kerkrade and AZ Alkmaar respectively to stay in touch with the top on 27 points.
Champions Porto fought out a 2-0 win at third-placed Braga with late goals from Colombian duo James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez to stay top of the Portuguese Premier League, level on 26 points with Benfica.
The Lisbon club eased past Olhanense 2-0 at home thanks to a first-half penalty from Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo and a textbook header from captain Luisao in the second half.
The world's eyes are on Mohamed Salah as hopeful Egypt take on Russia
- Egypt are counting on the return of Mohamed Salah on Tuesday as they face Russia
- The Liverpool wizard missed his team’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Friday
SAINT PETERSBURG: Egypt are counting on the return of Mohamed Salah on Tuesday as they try to salvage their World Cup against a Russian side who know a win could seal a place in the last 16.
Liverpool wizard Salah missed his team’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Friday as he struggles to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained during last month’s Champions League Final.
Salah’s shoulder has continued to cause him problems in Russia, and at the weekend he needed the help of three team-mates to put a shirt on during a training session in Grozny.
Egypt’s Argentine coach Hector Cuper said on Monday Salah was fit to play but will undergo a test before kick-off in Saint Petersburg.
“I hope he will be fit to play, I’m sure he will be able to play. He is a central piece in our team,” Cuper said.
If Egypt lose, it will likely end their competitive involvement in their first World Cup since 1990, so 96 million Egyptians are willing him to be on the pitch.
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was bullish that his team can rein in the explosive striker, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool.
“We know how to play against him,” he said. “We are ready to stop Salah and we will.”
Russia got their World Cup off to the perfect start on Thursday with a 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia, but are under no illusions that the seven-time African champions pose a far tougher test — providing Salah plays.
“Egypt’s game with Salah is different from the one they play without him,” forward Alexei Miranchuk said.