La Liga & Serie A roundup: Celta Vigo go top; Juve sit 14th

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A roundup of all the weekend’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

Villarreal 1-2 Celta Vigo

Before last week, Villarreal hadn’t lost a league game all season and looked poised to run away with the La Liga title race (not really). Then they lost away to Levante — OK, fair enough. This week, it’s a home loss to new league leaders Celta Vigo(!!!) that sees El Submarino Amarillo tumble from the top spot, all the way down to fourth. Goals scored by Fabian Orellana and Denis Suarez had the two sides headed toward a 1-1, but Nolito scored the winner in the 90th minute to push Os Celticos level on points with Real Madrid and Barcelona, ahead on tiebreakers.

Real Sociedad 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann, who dominated La Liga in his first season for Atleti (22 goals) last year, is off to another fine start, as the Frenchman bagged his fourth goal of the still-young season to give Los Rojiblancos a 9th-minute lead. Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco provided the insurance goal very late on (91st minute) to seal all three points and keep Atleti (16 points) fifth in the league, two points off the three co-leaders at the top.

Elsewhere in La Liga action

Barcelona 5-2 Rayo Vallecano — MORE
Real Madrid 3-0 Levante — MORE
Eibar 1-1 Sevilla
Valencia 3-0 Malaga
Real Betis 1-3 Espanyol
Getafe 4-0 Las Palmas
Deportivo La Coruna 2-2 Athletic Bilbao


Napoli 2-1 Fiorentina

Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Napoli either side of Nikola Kalinic’s 73rd-minute equalizer to drop the Viola, current leaders in Serie A, three points closer to the chasing pack. The victory boosts Napoli (15 points) all the way up to fifth, three points off Fiorentina.

Roma 3-1 Empoli

Roma hammered Empoli to capitalize on Fiorentina’s defeat and move to within a single point of the league lead. Miralem Pjanic, Daniele De Rossi and Mohamed Salah provided the goals for Rudi Garcia’s side (17 points) to make it three wins in three league games. No side in Serie A has scored more goals than Roma’s 20 through eight games.

Inter Milan 0-0 Juventus

Juve currently sit 14th in the league, with nine points from eight games, nine points off the pace of Fiorentina.

Elsewhere in Serie A action

Torino 1-1 AC Milan
Bologna 0-1 Palermo
Atalanta 3-0 Capri
Frosinone 2-0 Sampdoria
Genoa 3-2 Chievo
Hellas Verona 1-1 Udinese
Sassuolo 2-1 Lazio

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

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English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

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AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.

Europa League preview: Rating every second leg

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Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are one of many teams with their UEFA Europa League fates realistically in the balance come Thursday’s second legs of the Round of 32.

[ MORE: Sevilla 0-1 Man Utd | Mourinho reacts ]

Aside from a sextet of big teams posting blowouts, there’s still hope for the Round of 16 and a step closer to an automatic berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.

Basically done

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon 3-1 Astana — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal 3-0 Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET
Milan 3-0 Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga 0-3 Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET

In four of these cases, the heavy favorites emerged with multiple goal leads and at least three away goals.

Actually done

CSKA Moscow beat Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on Wednesday to win 1-0 on aggregate.

Unlikely, but big club lurks

RB Leipzig 3-1 Napoli — 1 p.m. ET
Villarreal 1-3 Lyon — 1 p.m. ET

In the case of Napoli, their 3-1 home loss to Leipzig was stunning but it’s impossible to rule out a club with such firepower. Villarreal trails by two to Lyon, but is home and dangerous.

Advantage one side, but anyone’s guess

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-2 Nice — 11 a.m. ET
Lazio 0-1 FCSB — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 0-1 Celtic — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Atalanta 2-3 Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET

Salzburg’s two away goals in a draw feels like a one-goal lead, and the one-goal matches are especially interesting. In the case of Atalanta, 1-0 to the Serie A side could undo Michy Batshuayi‘s first leg heroics for BVB.

Wide open

Plzen 1-1 Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET

Yes, nil-nil will get it done for the hosts, but there wasn’t a 0-0 in the entire group of first legs.