Daily Archives: August 21, 2017

10-men Atletico fights back from two-down to draw against Girona

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A 10-men Atletico Madrid team rallied despite being two-goals down to secure a 2-2 draw La Liga newcomers Girona.

Catalonia-based Girona, who were making their debut in the Spanish Primera division had a dream start against Atletico with two headed goals in the space of three first-half minutes.

Things then went from bad to worse to Atletico when their forward Antoine Griezmann was dismissed in the second half for two bookings, the first for to try to win a penalty and another for dissent.

However, substitute Angel Correa then gave a lifeline to the visitors with a thumping long range strike after a solo run, before Jose Gimenez earned a point for the visitors by heading in Koke’s inswinging free-kick.

Not to be denied, Girona tried to steal an injury-time winner through Olarenwaju Kayode, but the striker saw his header stopped by Atletico keeper Jan Oblak’s quick reactions.

It ended as a lesson fro the home side, as the Catalan team had switched off following a substitution.

Meanwhile, Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid also had another player sent off in Sergio Ramos, although Los Blancos did secure victory beforehand by three goals to nil against Deportivo.

While Deportivo pressured Real heavily from the start, Gareth Bale scored Real’s first La Liga goal with a tap in against the run of play, and for the third time in three consecutive seasons. Casemiro then followed suit after a 44-pass move, and Bale himself then set up a Toni Kroos goal in the second-half.

Keylor Navas then saved Florin Andone’s penalty late on, before Ramos was dismissed with a second yellow for a high elbow in an aerial challenge, having received his first for shoving Fabian Schar’s face.

The captain’s latest red meant that Ramos, 31, was now sent off 23 times for Real with 18 of those occasions in La Liga, an inglorious record he shares with ex-Sevilla defender Pablo Alfaro and Xavi Aguado, formerly of Real Zaragoza.

Bundesliga: Bayern wins with help from VAR, Leipzig loses opener

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Bayern Munich began their title defense with a 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen after being awarded a penalty thanks to the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

Bayern, who were missed a host of key players, were still able to lead 2-0 by half-time thanks to goals from debutants Niklas Sule and Corentin Tolisso, but were placed under pressure by Leverkusen early in the second half.

However, their star striker Lewandowski appealed for a penalty against the run play, a request that was fulfilled after referee Tobias Stieler consulted the VAR system which has been recently introduced to the German top flight.

Initially unsure, Stieler awarded a spot-kick after consulting the video referees who were based in Cologne, which the Polish striker converted to make it 3-0.

Leverkusen then got a consolation goal through Admir Mehmedi, who lashed in a 20-yard drive, but it was not enough to stop Bayern, who have now won 18 and drawn five in their home stadium at the Allianz Arena since losing to Mainz in March 2016.

Elsewhere, last season’s Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig began their campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Schalke 04.

Nabil Bentaleb started Schalke’s win by converting a penalty just before the break, while Yevhen Konoplyanka did the rest, curling home in style to seal the victory.

Marcos Alonso strikes twice for Chelsea victory over Tottenham

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Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso struck twice to help the Blues rebound from their opening-day defeat to Burnley with a 2-1 derby victory over Tottenham.

Despite missing key players in Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas through either injuries or suspension, the defending Premier League Champions nonetheless grabbed the lead through a perfectly driven free-kick by Alonso in the first half.

However, Spurs responded and, despite missed chances looked to have at least earn a point when Blues substitute Michy Batshuayi headed Christian Eriksen’s free-kick into his own net with eight minutes left.

When it looked as if Tottenham would be able to finish the game with a point, Alonso struck once more with a powerfully struck shot inside the near post that slid underneath Hugo Lloris to earn Chelsea the full three points.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who had to endure a week of scrutiny after their opening day defeat to Burnley and a difficult summer transfer window thanked and praised his depleted team’s response in the face of incredible adversity.

“I want to thank every one of my players,” Conte said. “They showed me great desire, great spirit, great will, great heart, great will to fight.

“I saw fighters in a moment that’s not easy for us with the suspensions and the injuries. We suffered during the game, but we were always dangerous in every moment.”

““I must be satisfied because my players gave me everything today,” Conte added. “They did the same last season. There will be more great difficulties in this season, but the only way we can get through these difficulties is to work.”

Defeat for Tottenham also meant that their 19-game home Premier League unbeaten run — a streak maintained since Southampton in May 2016 — ended, and their Wembley curse continues in that the London club have lost their past four games against Chelsea at Wembley.