Rediff.com  » Sports » PICS: Real Madrid crush Granada; Inter down Napoli

PICS: Real Madrid crush Granada; Inter down Napoli

November 22, 2021 12:14 IST
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Images from soccer matches played across different leagues in Europe on Sunday.

Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Marco Asensio during their La Liga match against Granada at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Ferland Mendy celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Marco Asensio during their La Liga match against Granada at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

Real Madrid cruised to a 4-1 away victory over Granada on Sunday as Tony Kroos gave a footballing masterclass with two assists to send them provisionally top of La Liga.

Marco Asensio, Nacho Fernandez, Vinicius Jr and Ferland Mendy were on target for Real, who are two points ahead of second-placed Sevilla and third-placed Real Sociedad, who play Valencia later on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team made a bright start and were 2-0 ahead after 25 minutes with goals from Asensio and Nacho, both from assists by Kroos.

But Real got a scare a few minutes later, when a shot from Luis Suarez deflected off Nacho and deceived Real keeper Thibaut Courtois, who dived to the left as the ball slowly crossed the goal line to his right.

 

Granada’s hopes of a comeback were short lived, however, as Real got back on top after the break and Vinicius extended their lead, finishing off a beautiful team move that also involved Karim Benzema and Casemiro.

After Granada's Monchu was sent-off for an ugly sliding tackle on Vinicius, Mendy wrapped up the scoring for the visitors.

“It’s hard to get into rhythm after an international break but we are happy with our performance. We played a great game,” Asensio told reporters after scoring his first goal since September.

“We have an intense schedule until Christmas (eight games in 30 days) and we need extra focus to go through this period,” he added.

It was Real’s third consecutive league win as the Spanish giants prepare to face Sheriff Tiraspol away in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Moldavian club inflicted Real's only defeat so far in this season's group stage when they stunned the Spaniards with a 2-1 victory at Santiago Bernabeu in September.

Granada, who have won only two games this season, are third from the bottom and in the relegation zone.

Champions Inter end Napoli's unbeaten run to close gap to leaders

Napoli's Dries Mertens scores their second goal against Inter Milan in San Siro in Milan

IMAGE: Napoli's Dries Mertens scores their second goal against Inter Milan in San Siro in Milan. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Inter Milan ended Napoli's unbeaten start to the Serie A season after coming from behind to earn a thrilling 3-2 victory at the San Siro on Sunday, closing the gap to the leaders to four points.

The game was played at a ferocious pace, with Napoli storming into an early lead thanks to a powerful Piotr Zielinski strike in the 17th minute.

However, Inter did not let their heads drop, levelling through a Hakan Calhanoglu penalty eight minutes later, before Ivan Perisic turned the game around on the cusp of halftime.

Inter then put themselves further in command just after the hour mark, with Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez applying the finishing touch to a swift counter attack.

Dries Mertens got Napoli back into it with 12 minutes left, but it was not enough to prevent Luciano Spalletti's leaders slipping to a first defeat in 13 Serie A games this term, as third-placed Inter laid down a marker in the title race.

"Today we had to show what we are capable of," Martinez told DAZN. "We do things well, but sometimes the result doesn't work in our favour. We had an intense match, and with character, we got the points we need."

Inter were determined to put Napoli on the back foot right from the off, raining in 13 shots on the visitors' goal in the first half alone.

Against the run of play, Zielinski's strike edged the visitors in front, as Napoli gave themselves a chance of pulling clear of AC Milan in second, after Stefano Pioli’s side suffered their first Serie A loss of the season at Fiorentina on Saturday.

Inter, however, just could not be kept at bay. Kalidou Koulibaly's handball gifted them a way back into the contest, with Calhanoglu making no mistake from the spot, before Perisic's flicked header just crossed the line to give Inter the lead.

Napoli were dealt a blow early in the second half when top goalscorer Victor Osimhen was forced off with a nasty head injury, and it was Inter's talisman, Martinez, who compounded the visitors' woes with his fine goal.

Substitute Mertens scored the goal of the match to give Napoli a real chance of salvaging a point, curling in from 25 yards, and Mario Rui almost levelled in dramatic fashion in stoppage time, but it was not meant to be for the table toppers.

"Napoli and (AC) Milan have started the season so well, and for that I congratulate them," Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said.

"But we deserved the victory. I congratulate my boys for their desire. Milan and Napoli met a great Inter tonight."

Lyon v Marseille abandoned after Payet hit by bottle 

Olympique de Marseille's Dimitri Payet walks off the pitch injured after being hit by a water bottle thrown by a fan leading to the game against Olympique Lyon being interrupted at Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France

IMAGE: Olympique de Marseille's Dimitri Payet walks off the pitch injured after being hit by a water bottle thrown by a fan leading to the game against Olympique Lyon being interrupted at Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

The Ligue 1 game between Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille was abandoned after Marseille's Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle hurled from the stands at the Groupama Stadium on Sunday, throwing France's Ligue 1 into fresh turmoil.

Payet fell to the ground as he was getting ready to take a corner kick after five minutes, and both teams were sent to the dressing room by referee Ruddy Buquet, who then decided to abandon the match after a suspension of almost two hours.

Payet, who according to the French League (LFP) was also subject to "discriminatory insults", left the pitch with an ice pack on his head.

The stadium's announcer had initially said that the game would restart, following a decision made by local Lyon authorities.

This was immediately criticised by the LFP in a statement, in which the body also said it was summoning an emergency meeting of its disciplinary commission on Monday.

In chaotic scenes, Lyon players took to the pitch to warm up, but Jorge Sampaoli's Marseille stayed in the dressing room and the match was eventually called off.

"The referee believes safety conditions are not met," the stadium announcer said.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas criticised the decision to abandon the match.

"The referee first said that the game could restart and he changed his mind after the violent reaction of Marseille, notably that of their coach," Aulas said.

"I believe the conditions were met to resume the game after the individual had been arrested. He is in police custody."

His Marseille counterpart Pablo Longoria said Payet was "psychologically affected" by the incident and explained that the club had asked Buquet to check on their players before potentially resuming the game.

"We asked him to check on our players' psychological state. He did not wish to go and see the players."

The referee said that his "sporting decision" was to not restart the game, but there were other elements to take into account. "It's a full stadium, players to evacuate," he said.

"My decision was to call off the game. We have to take our responsibilities and that's what I did tonight."

Ligue 1 has been marred by crowd trouble this season.

Nice were docked two points, one of them suspended, after serious incidents during their game against Marseille, whose players clashed with home fans who pelted them with missiles and stormed onto the pitch in August.

The northern derby between RC Lens and Lille was also hit by crowd problems in September, with the start of the second half being delayed by about half a hour after rival fans threw objects at each other before people ran on to the pitch, prompting riot police and stewards to intervene.

There has also been crowd trouble in Montpellier, Angers, Marseille and St Etienne.

"We now have to sit down all together and discuss so that these incidents do not happen again," said Longoria.

Lens suffer heavy defeat at Brest as Nice go second

RC Lens were brought down to earth in emphatic fashion when they where hammered 4-0 at lowly Stade Brestois in Ligue 1 as Nice moved up to second on Sunday.

Lens, who have been playing some of the best football in the league this season, lacked aggression as they conceded goals by Steve Mounie, Brendan Chardonnet, Romain Faivre and Jeremy Le Douaton and slipped down to fourth on 24 points after Nice beat Clermont 2-1 away.

Lens also finished with 10 men after Armand Kalimuendo was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle with 16 minutes left.

The result lifted Brest from 17th to 13th place on 18 points and Lens could further slide down to fifth if Olympique de Marseille avoid defeat in their away game against Olympique Lyonnais later on Sunday.

Brest got of to a brilliant start with Mounie heading home from Le Douaron's deflected cross after three minutes.

Ten minutes later, Chardonnet doubled the advantage by diverting Romain Faivre's corner kick with his shoulder past Jean-Louis Leca.

Lens were completely overwhelmed and they found themselves trailing 3-0 in the 33rd minute when Faivre curled a fine shot into the bottom corner.

The visitors hit the woodwork twice but Brest completed the rout on 69 minutes when Le Douaron found the back of the net with another curling effort.

Nice benefited from Lens's failure when Amine Gouiri's second-half double helped them to a comeback win at Clermont, who had opened the scoring through Florent Ogier.

Gouiri levelled with a superb volley in the 77th and sealed the victory with a curled effort from inside the box six minutes later.

Nice have 26 points and trail leaders Paris St Germain, who beat Nantes 3-1 on Saturday, by 11 points.

Freiburg suffer second defeat in a row against Frankfurt

Surprise packages Freiburg suffered a second consecutive league defeat with a 2-0 home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday as they stayed third in the Bundesliga and missed the chance to close on leaders Bayern Munich.

Freiburg, who had suffered their first league loss of the season in their last game against Bayern, are on 22 points, with Borussia Dortmund on 27 in second and Bayern, who lost 2-1 to Augsburg, on 28.

It was Eintracht's second win in a row and the Eagles had a bit of luck on their side when Jesper Lindstrom benefited from a bad clearance to take the lead in the 34th minute.

Freiburg had had the better chances but they were even unluckier in the 42nd minute when Filip Kostic whipped in a an awkward free kick that sailed past half a dozen players with none making contact before sailing in at the far post as keeper Mark Flekken looked on.

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