Daily Archives: August 22, 2016

Gareth Bale nets brace for weakened Real side

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Real Madrid began their new La Liga season with a winning start as they defeated Real Sociedad by 3-0.

Zinedine Zidane’s men had to start the match without key players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Pepe and Keylor Navas, but the French coach would be delighted with his team’s performance right off the start.

Just 72 seconds in, Dani Carvajal’s precise swing into the box finds Gareth Bale, who heads it home. Los Blancos then doubled their lead 5 minutes before half-time as 20-year-old sensation Marco Asensio raced onto a through ball from Raphael Varane, and coolly chipped Geronimo Rulli to make it 2-0.

Bale then rounded Sociedad keeper Geronimo Rulli to score again in the final minute.

As Madrid hosts Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu next week, he emphasized on the importance of a winning start, with with the early months of the season crucial in deciding honours.

“We had to start the season well,” he said. “Because the first few games always cost us.”


Atletico Madrid were forced to a 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderon.

Meanwhile, Real’s city neigbours Atletico Madrid were forced to a dramatic 1-1 stalemate on home ground.

The second runners-up in La Liga last season missed chances against the newly promoted club before Fernando Torres was brought down in the box and Kevin Gameiro converted the ensuing penalty.

Even as they went 1-0 up in the dying minutes of the match, Manu Garcia was suddenly found space Atletico’s defense to fire a right-footed shot two minutes later. Atletico keeper Jan Oblak, who barely saw action due to the host’s dominance, was nowhere near.

Andy Carroll out for up to six weeks with knee injury

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West Ham United’s season will be affected as their star striker Andy Carroll was ruled out for up to six weeks.

Carroll, 27, picked up the injury in a mid-week fixture against Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu. The first leg of the Europa League play-off had ended up at a 1-1 stalemate.

“Hopefully it will be four weeks. It’s nothing major. But it’s very sad for him and us,” Hammers boss Slaven Bilic had thus informed. “It’s a big problem of us without him. We’re counting on him big time.”

Just earlier in the week, Billic had also lost £20m club-record signing Andre Ayew to a thigh injury for four months.

Since joining West Ham from Liverpool in 2012, Caroll had been in a series of injury setbacks, and his latest incident adds to a growing casualty list for Billic.

Amongst the other Hammers players still out by injury were Aaron Cresswell, Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini. Dimitri Payet, a vital star for France in their campaign up to the final, is still regaining full fitness.

However, West Ham enjoyed a positive weekend in the Premier League, as Michail Antonio’s header five minutes from time earned them a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Higuain scores winner in Juventus debut

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Gonzalo Higuain scored the match winner in his debut for Juventus as the Serie A champions defeated Fiorentina by 2-1.

Higuain, 28, did not start for Juventus in the match following his £75.3m transfer from Napoli. Massimilano Allegri had left him out of Juventus’s starting XI, alongside Higuain’s fellow arrival Miralem Pjanic.

Missing chances despite a good tempo, Juventus managed to get a goal from Sami Khedira, who leapt high to head home Giorgio Chiellini’s cross.

But just as Higuain was subbed in at the 66th minute, Fiorentina equalized through Nikola Kalinic’s brilliant header past Gianluigi Buffon just 4 minutes later.

Higuain himself then pounced on a loose ball in the 75th minute to slot home, winning cheers from the home crowd.

MILAN, ITALY - AUGUST 21:  Carlos Bacca of AC Milan scores his third goal from the penalty spot during the Serie A match between AC Milan and FC Torino at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on August 21, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

AC Milan also got to a winning start after Colombian striker Carlos Bacca nets a hat-trick for the hosts to gain a dramatic 3-2 victory over Torino.

Bacca scored three times between the 38th and 62nd minutes while Andrea Belotti briefly pulled Torino level three minutes after half-time.

Milan led 3-1 into stoppage time, but was in a precarious position as Daniele Baselli pulled one back, and had Belotti fouled inside the area by defender Gabriel Paletta.

Paletta was sent off after being awarded a second yellow card.

Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma then vitally saved Andrea Belotti’s penalty in the 96th minute to give new coach Vincenzo Montella a winning start.

Montella was the sixth man to take the job in the last two-and-a-half years, and he faced Sinisa Mihajlovic, the coach Milan bosses sacked in April who incidentally gave Donnarumma his professional debut as a 16-year-old last season.