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La Liga: Messi scores 350, Barca stay perfect; Atleti get 1st win

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Alaves 0-2 Barcelona

MADRID (AP) Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick but rebounded by scoring his record 350th goal in the Spanish league in Barcelona’s 2-0 win at Alaves on Saturday.

Messi also scored the second in leading the club to its second consecutive victory to start the league.

Barcelona was still without Ousmane Dembele, who was announced as Neymar’s replacement on Friday, and it also couldn’t count on the injured Luis Suarez.

With Messi as its lone star, Barcelona struggled in the beginning at Mendizorroza Stadium, but it gradually took control and cruised to victory following Messi’s pair of second-half goals.

Messi missed the penalty when his mid-height shot into the left corner was saved by the fingertips of Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.

Alaves, who surprised last season as a promoted club by finishing ninth in the league and reaching the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, opened with a 1-0 loss at Leganes.

Brazil midfielder Paulinho, signed by Barcelona for $47 million in the offseason, came into the match as a substitute late in the second half to make his official club debut.

Messi scored the milestone goal in La Liga more than 12 years after his first, when he was only 17.

He has 66 more than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, his closest challenger in the all-time list.

Messi opened the scoring in the second half after receiving a pass from Jordi Alba inside the area and firing a left-footed shot into the corner. The second came after a blunder by the Alaves defense about 10 minutes later, again with a left-footer from inside the box.


Two goals in the first five minutes put Atletico Madrid on track for a comfortable 5-1 win at Las Palmas. It was the first league win for Atletico, which opened with a 2-2 draw at promoted Girona.

It was the second consecutive loss for Las Palmas.

Ten-man Levante rallied from two goals down to earn a 2-2 home draw against Deportivo La Coruna.

Deportivo was ahead 2-0 after the first half hour, but Levante pulled closer before halftime and equalized following a controversial penalty kick call in the 83rd at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium.

Ivan “Ivi” Lopez converted the penalty to keep the hosts unbeaten.

Midfielder Jose Luis Morales was sent off with a second yellow card in the 76th.

Girona beat Malaga 1-0 for its first win in the Spanish league. Girona was on its way to victory in its opener against Atletico Madrid but relinquished a 2-0 lead despite playing with an extra man.

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Espanyol vs. Leganes — 12:15 p.m. ET
Eibar vs. Athletic Bilbao — 12:15 p.m. ET
Getafe vs. Sevilla — 2 :15 p.m. ET
Real Madrid vs. Valencia — 4:15 p.m. ET

Leon Bailey stars but Bayer Leverkusen held 4-4 by Hannover

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BERLIN (AP) Jamaica striker Leon Bailey scored twice after coming on as a substitute but Bayer Leverkusen failed to hang on as Hannover grabbed a 4-4 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to move fourth ]

Bailey, who came on at the break, needed only two minutes to equalize after Hannover had gone 3-2 ahead, and he scored again 20 minutes later to put Leverkusen 4-3 in front.

But the 20-year-old missed another chance to complete a hat trick and Julian Korb scored late for Hannover to draw.

“I had a third chance, and I just know if I had taken that chance it would have been over for them. It’s just unlucky. But that’s football,” said Bailey. “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Both teams traded goals on an afternoon to forget for the goalkeepers.

“It was worth the entrance price for the spectators,” Korb said.

Julian Brandt fired Leverkusen into an early lead with a brilliant volley but Ihlas Bebou replied straight away with a header for Hannover.

Niclas Fuellkrug put the home side ahead with a penalty, only for Admir Mehmedi to equalize four minutes later for Leverkusen.

Hannover went ahead again after Fuellkrug set up Felix Klaus with his heel before the break, when Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich reacted with two substitutions.

One of them was Bailey, who raced forward to reach Kai Havertz’s through ball and kept his cool to beat Hannover `keeper Philipp Tschauner.

Bailey claimed his sixth goal of the season after the game’s longest stretch without a goal when Mehmedi played him through on a counterattack after a Hannover corner.

But there was further drama to come as Bebou eluded three Leverkusen defenders to set up Korb for Hannover’s equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Leipzig, level on points with Leverkusen, had the chance to go second again with a win at home against Hertha Berlin later Sunday.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool dominates, selling Coutinho discussed

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start off today’s show by discussing Man United’s win at The Hawthorns as Lukaku scores for the second straight match with Juan Mata impressing with his link up play. The guys also look at Alan Pardew’s influence on the Baggies. Liverpool net four in a dominating victory over Bournemouth and with Mo Salah continuing to dominate, the Robbies ask: can Liverpool now afford to sell Coutinho? And finally, the guys discuss Bournemouth’s recent struggles.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Report: PSV likely to land Man City, USMNT’s Palmer-Brown on loan

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A number of well-known American players have completed moves to Europe over the years, and a former Sporting KC defender is about to embark on his own journey abroad.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to go fourth ]

U.S. youth national team centerback Erik Palmer-Brown is headed to Premier League side Manchester City, who currently leads the English top flight, after signing a pre-contract with the club back in September.

It is now believed though that the young player will go on loan once he arrives with the English side.

Metro is reporting is that Palmer-Brown is likely to complete a move to Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven on loan.

Palmer-Brown helped the U.S. Under-20 national team reach the quarterfinals at this year’s U-20 World Cup in South Korea, after previously representing several other U.S. youth national teams.

La Liga & Serie A: Barca routs Deportivo, AC Milan routed

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo

Although Lionel Messi’s stardom was rewarded prior to the match at the Camp Nou with the European Golden Shoe, the Argentine forward couldn’t crack the scoresheet one the game kicked off. That didn’t matter though, as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each bagged braces on the day to keep Barcelona six points clear of Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Messi, who had a penalty kick attempt saved in the second half, came close on several occasions, but couldn’t find the scoring touch for the Blaugrana.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Girona 1-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 0-1 Villareal
Las Palmas 2-2 Espanyol


Hellas Verona 3-0 AC Milan

If AC Milan’s season wasn’t bad enough prior to Sunday, today’s performance at the Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi could have only made the club’s outlook much, much worse. Hellas captured its third league win of the season, however, the team remains in 19th in Serie A despite picking up three points. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri fell to eight in Italy’s top flight, after Genaro Gattuso’s men were completely outplayed on the road. To make matters worse for the struggling side, Suso earned a straight red card in the dying minutes, leaving Milan to fend with 10 men.

Bologna 0-3 Juventus

At the top of Serie A, things are getting very intriguing as the season nears its halfway point. Juventus did its part to keep pressure on league leaders Napoli, but four teams currently sit within four points of one another at the league’s summit, making for a testy title race. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic each scored before halftime, giving the Bianconeri a comfortable lead before the break. Meanwhile, ex-PSG man Blaise Matuidi capped off the game’s scoring in the 64th minute.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Atalanta 3-3 Lazio
Benevento 1-2 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Crotone 1-0 Chievo Verona