La Liga & Serie A roundup: Madrid clubs cruise; Juve loses again

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Catch up on all of this weekend’s action from Spain and Italy’s top flights.

Real Madrid 5-0 Real Betis

After a disappointing scoreless draw to open the season, Real Madrid got back on track with a 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis. Gareth Bale scored two goals and Karim Benzema added one as well, but the man of the match was James Rodriguez. James assisted on Bale’s first, buried a brilliant free kick, and scored on a bicycle kick, creating a personal highlight reel in just 90 minutes.

Sevilla 0-3 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid is yet to concede a goal through two matches, defeating Sevilla 3-0 to remain unbeaten and unscored upon. Koke put Atletico ahead in the first half before Gabi had a shot deflected past the keeper to double the lead in the 78th minute. Jackson Martinez sealed the win with beautiful strike from distance, the Colombian’s first goal for the club since joining from Porto.

Barcelona 1-0 Malaga

Barcelona failed to score a goal against Malaga and took just one point from two matches last year, but squeaked out close 1-0 victory over the South coast side this weekend. Thomas Vermaelen was the surprise goalscorer for the defending European champs, as the former Arsenal center-back fired home a volley with less than 20 minutes to play to take all three points.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Villarreal 3-1 Espanyol
Real Sociedad 0-0 Sporting Gijon
Celta Vigo 3-0 Rayo
Eibar 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Valencia 1-1 Deportivo
Las Palmas 0-0 Levante
Getafe 1-2 Granada

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Paul Pogba
Juve has lost the opening two matches of a season for the first time in club history.

Roma 2-1 Juventus — MORE

After losing three matches all of last season, Juventus has opened up the new campaign with two straight losses, falling to Roma 2-1 earlier today. Goals from Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko downed Juve, who were forced to ten men when Patrice Evra was sent off in the second half. Far from a dream start for the team that was a win away from the treble last season.

AC Milan 2-1 Empoli

Summer signings Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano both scored for AC Milan, as the Rossoneri got their first Serie A win under Sinisa Mihajlovic. Depsite the result, the new manager was not pleased with his side’s performance, saying “The result is the only thing to salvage, nothing else. I saw the players too tense and frightened. Courage and personality was lacking from my players. We won, but I feel like I have lost.” Harsh words after taking all three points.

Napoli 2-2 Sampdoria

Maurizio Sarri has yet to find a win as Napoli manager, after losing to Sassuolo last week and drawing Sampdoria this weekend 2-2. Gonzalo Higuain scored twice in the first half to give Napoli a 2-0 lead, but Sampdoria striker Eder scored two goals in two minutes in the second half to climb back for a draw.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Carpi 1-2 Inter Milan
Bologna 0-1 Sassuolo
Udinese 0-1 Palermo
Torino 3-1 Fiorentina
Chievo 4-0 Lazio
Atalanta 2-0 Frosinone
Genoa 2-0 Verona

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]