A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]
Barcelona 6-0 Alaves
Luis Enrique’s side has looked like a shell of itself at times this season, but Saturday showed just how good Barcelona can be when one top of its game. The Blaugrana throttled Alaves at the Camp Nou behind a brace from Luis Suarez to keep chase in the title race. Neymar, Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic also got their names on the scoresheet in the rout, while an own goal from Alexis helped give the hosts a six-goal afternoon.
Osasuna 1-3 Real Madrid
Real received an unexpected fight from Osasuna on Saturday but the league leaders battled past the hosts with a strong second half effort. Cristiano Ronaldo put Los Blancos ahead inside of 24 minutes, but the hosts responded nine minute later through Sergio Leon. Real came away with the points though when Isco and Lucas Vasquez scored in the second stanza to make the scoreline more comfortable.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Betis 0-0 Valencia
Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Deportivo La Coruna
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Villareal vs. Malaga (6 a.m. ET)
Leganes vs. Sporting Gijon (10:15 a.m. ET)
Las Palmas vs. Sevilla (12:30 a.m. ET)
Atletico Madrid vs. Celta Vigo (2:45 p.m. ET)
Fiorentina 1-0 Udinese
The Viola moved into seventh place on Saturday with this match the lone fixture on the Serie A docket. Fiorentina dominated the encounter, scoring on both sides of halftime to pull within three points of the top four. Borja Valero found the back of the net in the opening stanza, while Kouma Babacar and Federico Bernardeschi put the finishing touches on the affair after halftime.
Sunday’s Serie A schedule
Crotone vs. Roma (6:30 a.m. ET)
Inter Milan vs. Empoli (9 a.m. ET)
Palermo vs. Atalanta (9 a.m. ET)
Sassuolo vs. Chievo Verona (9 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Pescara (9 a.m. ET)
Sampdoria vs. Bologna (9 a.m. ET)
Cagliari vs. Juventus (2:45 p.m. ET)
The USMNT’s CONCACAF Nations League hopes are on the line when it meets Canada in Orlando at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
[ FOLLOW: USMNT on Twitter ]
The Yanks seek to avenge a 2-0 loss to the Canucks in Toronto last month, one that heaped pressure on coach Gregg Berhalter.
If the USMNT fails to win on Friday, a match Canada also needs for its World Cup qualifying hopes, it will bow out of the tournament before the semifinal round.
There’s no place for DeAndre Yedlin in the back line, as Tim Ream‘s been chosen to play right back with a center back pairing of John Brooks and Aaron Long. Sergino Dest starts on the right.
The midfield will have Jackson Yueill lying deep, with Weston McKennie and Sebastian Lletget also getting the call.
Gyasi Zardes starts at center forward with Jordan Morris and Paul Arriola on the wings.
Finland and Sweden have qualified for EURO 2020 after posting big wins on Friday, the former doing it at home to relative minnows Liechtenstein while the latter scored an impressive win away to Romania.
[ WATCH: G. Jesus’ comical penalty miss ]
Romania 0-2 Sweden
Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison scored first half goals as Sweden qualified for its sixth-straight EURO. Both are having decent starts to the club season. The veteran Berg has scored five times for Krasnodar, while the 26-year-old Quaison has scored four times for Mainz this season.
Spain 7-0 Malta
The Spanish had seven different goal scorers beginning with Alvaro Morata and Santi Cazorla providing a 2-0 halftime lead. Spain out shot Malta 25-1, with Pau Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, and Gerard Moreno also scoring for an experimental squad.
And what if we told you Jesus Navas scored? Cause he did.
Denmark 6-0 Gibraltar
Christian Eriksen scored twice in the final five minutes after Robert Skov’s brace came sandwiched around Christian Gytkjaer and Martin Braithwaite goals. The Danes climbed to the top of Group D, one point better than the Swiss and three better than Republic of Ireland (who it meets on the last match day).
Switzerland 1-0 Georgia
Granit Xhaka went 90 minutes and Cedric Itten scored the game’s lone goal as the Swiss joined the Danes in climbing above Republic of Ireland.
Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-3 Italy
The Azzurri were clinical on Friday, with Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne, and Andrea Belotti bagging
Norway 4-0 Faroe Islands
Finland 3-0 Liechtenstein — RECAP
Armenia 0-1 Greece
As long as Lionel Messi is on the field, Argentina and Brazil is going to be must-watch no matter the location.
Messi converted a rebound of his own won and saved penalty to score his 69th international goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win in a Saudi Arabia-hosted friendly on Friday.
[ MORE: Finland makes history ]
It was Messi’s first match with Argentina since the summer, when he was banned three months for claiming the 2019 Copa America tournament was fixed for hosts Brazil.
Let’s be real, though: You should be here for this terrible penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus.
The Brazilian also won his penalty, but his miss was a dreadful dribble wide of the frame. It clicked three boxes of terrible: no direction, no conviction, no technique.
This summer, there was plenty of talk that Barcelona’s players wanted Neymar in town and quite the opposite regarding Antoine Griezmann.
The Atletico Madrid star was the player purchased by Barcelona.
[ MORE: Finland makes history ]
Griezmann, 28, has four goals and three assists in 15 matches, but the bulk of that outlay came in two matches and he’s without a goal or assist in the UEFA Champions League.
A bit different from his 21 goals and 10 assists in 48 matches last season, at least on the goals end, but the Frenchman is settling into a new club and city.
While it’s not like his new teammates think he’s garbage, they aren’t sugarcoating their opinion of his transition nor downplaying their lofty opinion of Barca.
Here’s Gerard Pique, via AS.com:
“Real Sociedad and Atlético were teams who played for Griezmann. That’s not the case at Barca, because the level is higher and he has to find his place in the side. Little by little he’s finding it. He’s got the quality and talent for it.”
Pique also blew off Barca’s extra rest before the new El Clasico date, and talked about Leo Messi’scontract talks as well as his relationship with Sergio Ramos. It’s all here.