Luis Alberto

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

La Liga & Serie A: Bale leads Real to seven-goal outburst and more

Leave a comment

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

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Madrid 7-1 Deportivo La Coruna

Now, this is more like it from the defending European champions. Zinedine Zidane’s side went behind on Sunday when Adrian put the visitors in front, however, Real Madrid woke up and scored seven unanswered goals at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale was the star on the day with a brilliant curler that kicked off the first of his two goals (below). After Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to go down inside the penalty area, Bale carried on and put the ball onto his left foot before sliding his shot in off the inside of the far post.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo picked up a brace of his own on the day, both of which came off of headers for the Portuguese international. The veteran goalscorer also got bloodied on the day, but that didn’t stop him from adding to his impressive goal total.

Real Betis 0-5 Barcelona

A slow start to the match was aided by a Barcelona team that came out for blood in the second stanza. Ivan Rakitic and braces from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi paced the road side in the second half, keeping their unbeaten La Liga record in tacked.

Although Rakitic was the first to find his name on the scoresheet, it was his assist to Suarez that later on that proved to be a thing of excellence from both parties.

The first half was mildly uneventful for the Blaugrana, however, the Catalonians suffered another injury blow as Thomas Vermaelen left the match after pulling up in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring pull.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 2-2 Leganes
Real Sociedad 1-2 Celta Vigo


Lazio 5-1 Chievo Verona

Lazio moved into third place in Serie A after a convincing victory at the Stadio Olimpico. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s double for the hosts helped propel them to the win, after Luis Alberto kicked off the scoring in the 23rd minute.

Chievo found a brief response two minutes later, but from there it was all Lazio as they closed to within 11 points of league leaders Napoli.

Cagliari 1-2 AC Milan

Franck Kessié scored twice in six minutes to pull Milan back into the match on the day, and that was exactly what they needed to secure three points at the Sardegna Arena. AC Milan sits seventh in Italy’s top flight through 21 matches, 23 points behind Napoli.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Inter Milan 1-1 Roma
Udinese 1-1 SPAL
Sassuolo 1-1 Torino
Sampdoria 3-1 Fiorentina
Bologna 3-0 Benevento
Hellas Verona 0-3 Crotone
Atalanta 0-1 Napoli

Serie A: Icardi, Perisic keep Inter Milan perfect; AC Milan trounced

Matteo Bazzi/ANSA via AP
Leave a comment

ROME (AP) The dynamic duo of Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic are proving unstoppable in Serie A and Inter Milan is quickly moving on from last season’s failures and upheaval.

Icardi scored his fifth goal in three matches and Perisic added another as Inter beat Serie B champion Spal 2-0 Sunday to extend its perfect start in the Italian league.

Each of Inter’s eight goals this season have involved either Icardi or Perisic, with goals or assists.

Video replays were used to set up Icardi’s first-half penalty and Perisic sealed the result three minutes from time.

Inter drew level on points with six-time defending champion Juventus, which defeated Chievo Verona 3-0 on Saturday.

Later, Napoli also had a chance to extend its perfect start at Bologna.

Big-spending AC Milan dropped its first points in a 4-1 loss at Lazio, which got a hat trick from Ciro Immobile.

Including Roberto Mancini’s surprise resignation two weeks before the season began, Inter struggled through four managerial changes in the 2016-17 campaign and finished seventh to miss out on European competition.

But order appears to have been restored with the appointment of former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti in June.

“There are three big points, especially since Inter struggled against the smaller clubs last season,” said assistant coach Marco Domenichini, who handled the post-match interviews because Spalletti lost his voice during the game.

“It’s great to have nine points but we’ve still got to improve, especially in terms of ball control,” Domenichini added.

Leonardo Semplici, the coach of Ferrara-based Spal, believes Inter will challenge Juventus and Napoli.

“They’ve got a really good and experienced manager. They’re going to battle until the end for the title,” Semplici said.

At the San Siro, Inter was in control from the start and Icardi used a quick touch to set up Joao Mario at the edge of the area when the Portuguese international was tripped by a defender.

The referee immediately pulled out a yellow card for the defender, Francesco Vicari, and then a five-minute delay ensued as the referee sought video assistance to determine if the foul occurred inside or outside the area.

Eventually, the penalty was awarded and Icardi calmly slotted his spot kick in the left side of the goal as the `keeper went the other way.

It was Icardi’s 77th goal in Serie A for Inter, placing him joint 10th on the club’s all-time list with Attilio Demaria.

After Inter’s Milan Skriniar hit the crossbar, Perisic volleyed in a cross from Danilo D’Ambrosio for his second score of the season to go along with his four assists.

Fresh off his goal for Italy in a 1-0 win over Israel in World Cup qualifying, Lazio striker Immobile was in full control at the Stadio Olimpico against remodeled Milan, which spent more than 200 million euros (nearly $250 million) in the transfer market.

Late in the first half, Immobile converted a penalty and then scored again with an acrobatic volley.

After the break, Immobile slotted inside the near post following an expert setup from Marco Parolo then provided the assist when Luis Alberto finished off a swift counterattack.

Riccardo Montolivo pulled one back for Milan in a match in which kickoff was delayed for an hour due to severe rain.

After scoring only one goal in its opening two matches – both losses – Fiorentina routed promoted Hellas Verona 5-0.

Giovanni Simeone, Cyril Thereau, Davide Astori, Jordan Veretout and Gil Dias scored for the Tuscan club, which has had to overcome the sale of nearly all of its most prized players.

Fiorentina sold Nikola Kalinic to Milan, Borja Valero and Matias Vecino to Inter Milan and Federico Bernardeschi to Juventus.

Verona had never lost by four or more goals at home in Serie A.

Also, Atalanta beat Sassuolo 2-1; Cagliari celebrated the opening of its new stadium, the Sardegna Arena, with a 1-0 victory over Crotone; and Udinese defeated Genoa 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men.

VIDEO: Immobile nets rapid hat trick as Lazio beat AC Milan

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ciro Immobile is in the form of his life.

The Italian international striker scored a 10-minute hat trick in Lazio’s 4-1 demolition of big-spending AC Milan on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome with the kick off delayed due to heavy rainfall in the Italian capital.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

This game took a while to get going but all four of Lazio’s goals came in an 11-minute spell around half time as Immobile started the scoring in the 38th minute and Luis Alberto ended it in the 49th minute.

Milan pulled a goal back through Roberto Montolivo but Vincenzo Montella, who spent $235 million on new players over the summer, could only look on in disbelief as his side succumbed to an incredible blitz.

Immobile (who scored 29 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions last season) has now scored six goals in four games for Lazio to start the 2017-18 campaign — he has 17 Serie A goals in 2017, with only Dries Mertens scoring more — as they momentarily moved into third place in the table.

Take a look at Immobile banging them in below.


Vidal strikes twice as Chile needs controversial PK to beat Bolivia

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chile was heavily favored to knock off Bolivia on Friday, but this Copa America Centenario hasn’t followed story lines.

The reigning champions did manage to knock off Bolivia, but it took every second on the clock and a questionable PK to lift Chile to a 2-1 win on Friday in Foxborough.

The win move Chile level on points with Argentina and Panama before the two square off later Friday. Bolivia remains last with zero points, but is technically alive.

[ MORE: USMNT-Paraguay preview ]

Vidal scored early in the second half, but Jhasmani Campos equalized with an amazing free kick around the hour mark. After eight minutes of stoppage time, Vidal converted a PK off an arm-blocked cross in the 18.

Chile outshot Bolivia handily in the match, carrying a 7-1 edge at halftime, 17-2 for the game and attempting 26 crosses to Bolivia’s three.

But it took a combination play between Vidal and Mauricio Pinilla to break through.

Forget the shot difference. With the numbers at 15-2, Bolivia put No. 2 in the goal on a stunning free kick from Jhasmani Campos.

There was a scary moment late, as Ronald Eguino took Eduardo Vargas‘ overhead kick attempt to the face. Not the ball, the actual kick.

That’s when referee Jair Marrufo called an extremely questionable handball on Bolivia in the eighth minute of stoppage time, allowing Chile a chance to win.

Luis Alberto Gutiérrez had his arm tucked behind his back but elbow pointed out when he turned and leapt to get in the way of a cross. The ball caught his upper arm, which the MLS veteran referee saw as the defender making himself bigger.

Vidal converted the chance, and it was 2-1.