Football

La Liga | Messi gives Setien a winning start

Who else? Lionel Messi’s strike helped FC Barcelona shade a cagey encounter against Granada.

Who else? Lionel Messi’s strike helped FC Barcelona shade a cagey encounter against Granada.  

Juventus rides on Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace

Quique Setien may want a different Barcelona but he needed the same old Lionel Messi on Sunday as the Argentinian gave his new coach a winning start by scoring in a 1-0 victory over Granada.

Messi’s strike in the 76th minute decided a cagey contest at the Camp Nou and prevented the much-anticipated launch of Setien’s new era becoming something of a damp squib.

Victory also sends Barca back to the top of La Liga on goal difference, after Real Madrid had briefly claimed first place following its win over Sevilla on Saturday.

“I have seen many things from the team today that I want to see,” said Setien. “But I already saw some of them against Atletico (last weekend) because Barca has been doing great things for many years.”

Different

It would have been different if Granada’s Yan Eteki hadn’t struck the post with just over 20 minutes left or its central defender German Sanchez not been sent off for a needless second yellow card soon after.

The extra man was the boost Barca needed and Messi duly poked home his 17th goal in 21 games this season following good work by Arturo Vidal, Antoine Griezmann and the 20-year-old Riqui Puig.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus beat Parma 2-1 on Sunday to remain firmly on course for a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title.

Juventus moved four points above Inter Milan, which was held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Lecce earlier.

Playing catch-up

Ronaldo’s brace took his tally to 432 goals in Europe’s top five leagues, one behind all-time record-holder Messi.

Ronaldo’s first goal was thanks to a stroke of luck as his effort took a deflection off Parma defender Matteo Darmian to wrongfoot goalkeeper Luigi Sepe, two minutes from halftime.

Andreas Cornelius headed in a corner to draw Parma level in the 55th but Juventus restored its lead just three minutes later.

Paulo Dybala raced down the right and rolled the ball across for Ronaldo to sidefoot home for his 11th goal in his last seven league matches.

Ronaldo missed several chances to complete a hat trick.

The results: La Liga: Athletic Bilbao 1 (Raul Garcia 76-pen) drew with Celta Vigo 1 (Rafa 56); Barcelona 1 (Messi 76) bt Granada 0.

Serie A: Genoa 1 (Pandev 45) lost to Roma 3 (Under 5, Biraschi 44-og, Dzeko 74); Juventus 2 (Ronaldo 43, 58) bt Parma 1 (Cornelius 55).

Bundesliga: Paderborn 1 (Srbeny 51) lost to Bayer Leverkusen 4 (Volland 11, 14, Baumgartlinger 36, Havertz 75).

Earlier results: Premier League: Burnley 2 (Wood 56, Westwood 79) bt Leicester 1 (Barnes 33); Liverpool 2 (van Dijk 14, Salah 90+3) bt Manchester United 0..

La Liga: Real Mallorca 4 (Raillo 7, Budimir 22, 41, Rodriguez 79) bt Valencia 1 (Torres 82); Real Betis 3 (Iglesias 27, Joaquin 44, Canales 90+5) bt Real Sociedad 0; Villarreal 1 (Cazorla 62-pen) lost to Espanyol 2 (D. Lopez 5, Tomas 47).

Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin 0 lost to Bayern Munich 4 (Muller 60, Lewandowski 73-pen, Alcantara 76, Perisic 84).

Serie A: AC Milan 3 (Rebic 48, 90+3, Hernandez 72) bt Udinese 2 (Stryger Larsen 6, Lasagna 85); Bologna 1 (Bani 20) drew with Hellas Verona 1 (Borini 81); Lecce 1 (Mancosu 77) drew with Inter Milan 1 (Bastoni 71); Brescia 2 (Torregrossa 27, 49) bt Cagliari 2 (Joro Pedro 20, 68-pen).

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:28:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/la-liga-messi-gives-setien-a-winning-start/article30609567.ece

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