Bayern, Barca, Atletico, PSG stumble; Big Three progress in FA Cup
It was a frustrating gameweek for Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and PSG. Meanwhile, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool progressed to the next round of the FA Cup with emphatic wins. We recap results from the weekend’s action in major European football leagues.
FA Cup - The Big Three cruise into Fourth Round
Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool made it to the next round of the FA Cup after comfortable wins in their respective fixtures in the third round. Pep Guardiola's men cruised past fourth division side Swindon Town courtesy of goals from Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan, and Cole Palmer.
Chelsea hit five past Chesterfield FC at Stamford Bridge. Goals from Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Romelu Lukaku, and Andreas Christensen gave the Blues a 4-0 lead at half-time. Hakim Ziyech scored Chelsea's fifth in the opening minutes of the second half.
A young Liverpool side overcame an early scare to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup. They won 4-1 against Shrewsbury Town, who took the lead in the 17th minute. However, Fabinho scored a brace, while 17-year-old Kaide Gordon and Roberto Firmino netted for the Merseyside outfit.
Spanish La Liga - Real ease past Valencia
Karim Benzema put on a show at Santiago Bernabeu as Real Madrid crushed Valencia 4-1. The Frenchman and Vinicius Jr struck a brace to help them pick up their 15th win in the league this season. Real went into half-time with a 1-0 lead. Vinicius completed his brace in the space of nine minutes, while Benzema added his second in the 88th minute. The Galacticos have a five-point cushion at the top of the table.
Antonio Puertas struck in the 89th minute to deny ten-man FC Barcelona three points against Granada CF on Saturday. The visitors, who had a goal ruled out for offside by VAR in the first half, broke the deadlock through Luuk de Jong. With 11 minutes left on the clock, 17-year-old Gavi earned a second yellow card for a foul on Alex Collado. Granada leveled the match in the dying minutes as Puertas pounced on a loose clearance and fired the ball past the Barcelona goalkeeper.
Atletico Madrid missed out on an opportunity to climb to third in Spanish La Liga after playing out a 2-2 draw with Villarreal. In an exciting game, the defending champions took the lead in the tenth minute. Angel Correa, who spotted the Villarreal goalkeeper off his line, found the net courtesy of a sensational strike from the centre circle. But goals from Pau Torres and Alberto Moreno put Villarreal in front at the hour mark. Geoffrey Kondogbia restored parity and secured a point for Atletico with a left-footed strike in the 67th minute.
Italian Serie A - Inter remain top of the table
Alessandro Bastoni grabbed headlines in Inter Milan’s 2-1 win over Lazio. The Italian Serie A champions, who had their midweek fixture against Bologna FC postponed, registered an eighth straight win in the league. Bastoni scored the opener and set up Milan Skriniar's winning goal in the second half. Meanwhile, their arch-rivals AC Milan beat Venezia FC 3-0. Theo Hernandez netted a brace, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic registered his first goal in 2022. Napoli ended their two-game winless run with a 1-0 victory over UC Sampdoria. Andrea Petagna scored the all-important goal in the first half.
Zlatan Ibrahimović joined Cristiano Ronaldo today as the only two players to score against 80 different teams in the top five leagues since 2000.
Juventus made a stunning comeback to beat Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma 4-3 at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. Tammy Abraham put Roma into the lead in the 11th minute, but Paulo Dybala leveled the scores eight minutes later. Roma led 3-1 after scoring twice within the opening ten minutes of the second half. The visitors fought back by scoring three goals in the space of seven minutes. Roma had a chance to make it 4-4 when they were awarded a penalty for Matthijs de Ligt’s handball, which also led to the Dutchman getting the marching orders. However, Wojciech Szczesny denied Lorenzo Pellegrini from 12 yards.
German Bundesliga - Agony for Bayern
Bayern Munich suffered a defeat in their first match of the new year. The 30-time German Bundesliga winners, who were missing key first-team players, went down 1-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach at home. Robert Lewandowski drew the first blood in the 18th minute. However, the away side scored two goals in four minutes. In the second half, Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer left Bayern frustrated with some fine saves.
Borussia Dortmund reduced Bayern Munich's lead at the top to six points with a brilliant second-half comeback win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Three goals in the final 20 minutes helped them clinch a five-goal thriller. After trailing 0-2 at half-time, Thorgan Hazard pulled a goal back for the men in yellow in the 71st minute. Jude Bellingham and Mahmoud Dahoud scored in quick succession in the dying minutes to complete a remarkable win for Dortmund.
German defender Thilo Kehrer helped PSG rescue a point against Lyon. The French Ligue 1 leaders went behind early in the match to a Lucas Paqueta goal. PSG piled pressure on the Lyon backline but couldn’t find the equalizer in the first half. In the 76th minute, Kehrer, who came on as a substitute, leveled the game for the Parisians. Kylian Mbappe came close to scoring the winner after his attempt from a free-kick hit the post.