La Liga & Serie A roundup: Barcelona, Madrid clubs win; AC Milan continue to free fall

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

Elche 0-6 Barcelona

Lionel Messi and Neymar each scored a pair of goals on Saturday as the Blaugrana routed 10-man Elche on the back of five second-half goals. Gerard Pique opened the scoring after 35 minutes, but Luis Enrique’s men went into halftime up just 1-0.

Messi scored his first, a penalty kick, 10 minutes after the break Elche’s Faycal Fajr was shown his second yellow card of the day two minutes later. Neymar notched his brace with goals two minutes apart in the 69th and 71st minutes before Messi (88th minute) and Pedro (93rd) completed the scoring.

Barca remain four points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who knocked off Cordoba on Sunday (see below link) and three points clear of third-placed Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid 3-1 Rayo Vallecano

Antoine Griezmann bagged a pair of first-half goals (12th and 22nd minutes) to set Atletico on their way at Estadio Vicente Calderon. The Frenchman used a cool, left-footed strike around the goalkeeper to net his first, and a quick toe-poke underneath the ‘keeper’s legs on the second.

An own goal by Rayo’s Manucho in the 56th minute canceled out Roberto Trashorras’ pinpoint, curling effort from 20 yards 10 minutes before halftime and effectively ended any hope of a comeback.

Villarreal 1-0 Levante

Villarreal (35 points) strengthened their hold on sixth place (Europa League) and kept their chase for the fourth and final Champions League place (currently Sevilla — 39 points, one fewer game played) alive.

Luciano Vietto cut and faked his way past a pair of Levante defenders before slotting a left-footed shot beneath ‘keeper Diego Marino in the 56th minute.

[ FULL RECAP: Cordoba 1-2 Real Madrid as Ronaldo sees red, Bale saves ]

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Sociedad 1-0 Eibar

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Deportivo La Coruna vs. Granada (6 am ET)
Athletic Bilbao vs. Malaga (11 am ET)
Espanyol vs. Almeria (1 pm ET)
Valencia vs. Sevilla (3 pm ET)


Lazio 3-1 AC Milan

source: Getty ImagesJeremy Menez scored his 10th Serie A goal of the season as AC Milan took the lead after four minutes and looked on their way to reversing recent fortunes and beginning the climb back up the league standings.

And then the second half began, which saw the Rossoneri conceded two goals in four minutes (Marco Parolo, 47th and Miroslav Klose (right), 51st) and wave goodbye any hopes they had of leaving the Stadio Olimico with anything to show for their troubles. Parolo picked up his second of the game with nine minutes of regular time still to be played, sealing the three points for Lazio (31 points) and climbing back above Fiorentina (30) for fifth place in the league. Fourth-placed Sampdoria are just two points ahead.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Cagliari 2-1 Sassuolo

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Inter Milan vs. Torino (9 am ET)
Hellas Verona vs. Atalanta (9 am ET)
Parma vs. Cesena (9 am ET)
Juventus vs. Chievo (9 am ET)
Sampdoria vs. Palermo (9 am ET)
Fiorentina vs. Roma (2:45 pm ET)

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

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Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.