European football round-up: September 1-2
La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga – key results from Europe’s top divisions
Real Madrid claimed their first victory of the season against a resilient Granada, whilst Tito Vilanova’s Barcelona continued their winning run with another three points against Valencia.
60,000 supporters at the Santiago Bernabeu saw Real Madrid put three goals past a resilient defence, but the score does not deliver the full story behind the match. Although boasting the likes of Jose Callejon, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso, supplemented by the £33 million Luka Modric in midfield, they were unable to unlock the Granada back line for large periods.
It took a brace from a despondent Ronaldo, who refused to celebrate the goals due to an internal dispute within the club, and another added by Higuain, to help earn a greatly desired victory for Real.
Barcelona played out a pressured affair against Valencia at the Nou Camp, with an accomplished finish from Adriano proving the difference between the La Liga sides. Whilst Lionel Messi provided his usual gifted performance, contributing with an assist for Adriano’s strike, it was new signing Alex Song who carries Vilanova’s plaudits after the game. Describing the Cameroonian international as an “intelligent player,” he continued to praise the offensive and defensive attributes that Song portrayed in his Catalan debut.
Other notable results saw Malaga and Real Mallorca resume their imposing starts to the season with successes against Real Zaragoza and Real Sociedad respectively.
Juventus’ substantial victory continues to stamp their authority on Serie A this season, whilst there were also triumphs for Roma, Lazio, Napoli and AC Milan.
A 4-1 victory against Udinese, who finished third last season, surely has sent shockwaves through rival Serie A contenders of the Bianconeri. Goals from Arturo Vidal, Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco (2) were met with very little reply from Udinese. It was a collectively unfortunate day for Juventus’ opponents as goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic was dismissed in the 12th minute. However, nothing should be taken away from the Old Lady’s performance here as they continue their ascendance back to the pinnacle of Italian football.
Out of the other major results, Roma’s performance was perhaps most impressive, with a 3-1 victory at the San Siro toppling Internazionale. Antonio Cassano’s goal was the only reply for Inter against strikes from Alessandro Florenzi, Marqinho and Pablo Osvaldo for Roma.
Giovinco was on top form for Juventus. (©GettyImages)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic led Paris Saint Germain to their first victory of the season as the Swedish powerhouse scored twice early on to help the unbeaten PSG to their first three points in Ligue 1 this season.
Ibrahimovic, who according to The Guardian is earning £778,000 a month at his new club, scored his second brace in the blue and red of PSG continuing his run of scoring every league goal this season for the mass-spending capital outfit.
It took him only 27 seconds to open the scoring at Lille this weekend and added another in the 21st minute. It was far from simple for Carlo Ancelotti’s side however, with Aurelien Chedjou scoring for Les Dogues in between Ibrahimovic’s brace.
Elsewhere, Marseille continued the season in excellent form as they maintained their 100% start to the season against Rennes, without the help of new signing Joey Barton, who did not feature in the Marseille squad. A 3-1 victory keeps OM two points clear of Lyon in second-place, who also claimed victory in an enthralling encounter against Valenciennes which ended 3-2 in favour of the seven-time French champions.
Bayern Munich were in unstoppable form against a poor Stuttgart side, as they rallied to a 6-1 victory over their opponents, who sit bottom of the table after not earning a point from their opening two games.
Munich’s new signing Javi Martinez, who broke the Bundesliga transfer record after signing a five-year-deal, would have been very impressed by his new club as he was introduced late on for his debut.
Bayern responded to Martin Harnik’s opener for Stuttgart with an extraordinary six goals within 19 minutes of play, with Thomas Muller (2), Toni Kroos, Luiz Gustavo, Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger all getting themselves on the scoresheet between the 32nd and 51st minute.
Victories were also earned by Eintracht Frankfiurt, Hannover 96 and Schalke as they try to keep tabs on Bayern’s blistering start to the 2012/13 season.