Euro: Barca beat Levante to ease pressure on Koeman

Goals from Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong, and Ansu Fati helped ease the pressure on Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman with a 3-0 win over Levante at the Nou Camp.

Having been frustrated by draws with Granada and Cadiz in their last two matches, Barca started the game brightly and went ahead with a sixth-minute penalty from Depay, who was brought down in the box by Nemanja Radoja.

They doubled their advantage shortly afterwards as De Jong latched on to a Sergino Dest through ball before finishing past Aitor Fernandez to score his first goal for the club while on loan from Sevilla.

Levante rarely looked like troubling Koeman’s side and they were indebted to Fernandez, who made a couple of smart stops to keep the scoreline respectable as a dominant Barca pushed on in search of a third.

Barcelona assistant head coach Alfred Schreuder took charge against Levante amid Ronald Koeman's two-match touchline ban
Barcelona assistant coach Alfred Schreuder took charge against Levante due to Ronald Koeman’s two-match touchline ban
Depay celebrates after scoring a first-half penalty
Depay celebrates after scoring a first-half penalty

It finally came in the 91st minute as Fati capped his first appearance since a serious knee injury last November with a wonderful strike from distance.

18-year-old Fati, who came on as a second-half substitute for De Jong, said after the win: “I couldn’t have imagined a comeback like this.

“I’m so thankful to the doctors and physios who have been with me throughout all of this, and to the fans who have been unbelievable as well.”

Ronald Koeman
Koeman has faced criticism for Barcelona’s poor start to the season

Barca’s first victory in their last four in all competitions saw the Catalans climb to fifth in La Liga with 12 points from six matches, five behind league leaders Real Madrid, who have played a game more.

Assistant coach Alfred Schreuder oversaw the win, with Koeman serving the first of his two-game touchline ban in the league after he was sent off for arguing with officials at the end of Barca’s goalless draw at Cadiz in midweek.

Koeman’s team will be looking to improve on their 3-0 humbling at home to Bayern Munich when they travel to the Estadio da Luz to play Benfica on Wednesday in Champions League Group E.

They then face an important test against Atletico Madrid in the league on Saturday October 2.

Serie A: Pedro comes back to haunt Roma

Pedro is all smiles after scoring against Roma
Pedro is all smiles after scoring against Roma

Lazio ended a four-match winless run by beating AS Roma 3-2 in an exhilarating Rome Derby on Sunday, sending Maurizio Sarris side into the top six in Serie A.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic headed in the opener before Pedro scored against his former club to double Lazio’s lead and become the third player to score for both teams in the capital derby, after netting for Roma in this fixture in May.

Roger Ibanez pulled one back for Jose Mourinho’s side before the break but Felipe Anderson restored a two-goal advantage for Lazio in the second half.

Jordan Veretout converted a controversial penalty to keep alive Romas hopes but veteran goalkeeper Pepe Reina produced two excellent saves to deny the Giallorossi an equaliser.

Lazio climbed to sixth place on 11 points, one point behind fourth-placed Roma.

Jose Mourinho blamed the referee and VAR for the loss. It was the Portuguese’s second loss since taking charge of the Italian side in the summer, and Lazio led from the 10th minute until the final whistle.

However, Mourinho was unhappy about a potential foul in the build-up to Lazio’s second goal and felt Lucas Leiva should have received a second booking after seeing Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini sent off against Udinese on Thursday.

“Italian football has improved a lot,” he said. “But unfortunately, the referee and VAR were not at the right level for this fantastic match.

“On the 2-0 goal it could have been 1-1, the referee and VAR made a mistake. This is too much. The lack of a second yellow for Leiva is also important. It was a similar situation to Pellegrini, he got a red but today there was nothing.

“We were the best team on the pitch. Obviously when you concede three goals, something has gone wrong, but the second and third were counter-attacks.

“We tried, we dominated. We gave everything and put Lazio in difficulty.”

Lorenzo Insigne celebrates scoring for Napoli
Lorenzo Insigne celebrates scoring for Napoli

Meanwhile, Napoli eased to a 2-0 win at home to Cagliari on Sunday to notch up a sixth consecutive Serie A victory and return to the top of the table, as Victor Osimhen continued his hot streak in front of goal.

Luciano Spalletti’s side are two points clear of AC Milan in first place after enjoying a perfect start to the league campaign, recording four clean sheets in six games.

It is the second time in Napoli’s history that they have started the season with six wins in a row after the 2017-18 campaign, when they finished as runners-up.

Osimhen fired home the opener from six metres after 11 minutes, his sixth goal in his last four appearances in all competitions.

The Nigeria striker then won a penalty in the second half which Lorenzo Insigne converted to double the hosts lead.

Bundesliga: Freiburg mark final game at stadium with win

Freiburg brought the curtain down in style
Freiburg brought the curtain down in style

Unbeaten Freiburg marked their departure from their Dreisam stadium after 67 years with a 3-0 victory over Augsburg on a nostalgic Sunday in the Bundesliga.

The hosts, who are moving to the bigger Europa Park stadium after playing 360 Bundesliga matches at the Dreisam since winning promotion in 1993, struck three times in a dominant first half to maintain their strong start to the season.

Lukas Kuebler put them in front, Lucas Hoeler doubled the score from close range in the 25th and Vincenzo Grifo scored with a penalty eight minutes later, and has now converted all nine of his Bundesliga spot kicks.

Grifo’s goal was the 999th Bundesliga goal scored at the Dreisam stadium as former coach Volker Finke, who led Freiburg to the Bundesliga in 1993, watched from the stands.

Freiburg coach Christian Streich was in tears at the final whistle after the emotional farewell, and the victory lifted his team, the only unbeaten side left in the league along with leaders Bayern Munich, to fifth place on 12 points.

Bayern are top on 16, with Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg in second and third place respectively on 13. Borussia Dortmund are fourth, ahead of Freiburg on goal difference.

Ligue 1: Lens end unbeaten Marseille run to go second

Lens defender Jonathan Clauss in action
Lens defender Jonathan Clauss in action

RC Lens moved up to second in Ligue 1 with a 3-2 win at Olympique de Marseille in a thrilling encounter on Sunday.

Wesley Said scored the winner after a Dimitri Payet double had cancelled out first-half goals by Florian Sotoca and Przemyslaw Frankowski to put Lens on 15 points from eight games.

They trail leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who beat Montpellier 2-0 on Saturday, by nine points. Third-placed Marseille have 14 points from seven games after their first defeat of the season.

They have a game in hand, away to Nice after the encounter was abandoned amid serious crowd trouble last month.

Monaco moved up to eighth on 11 points after a 3-1 comeback win at Clermont thanks to goals by Wissam Ben Yedder, Kevin Volland and Sofiane Diop.

Elsewhere, 19-year-old winger Hugo Ekitike dazzled with a double to earn Stade de Reims their first home victory since January as they beat Nantes 3-1.

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