Barcelona fight back to win at Elche as resurgence under Xavi Hernandez – European Group Stage | Football news

Barcelona fought back to win 2-1 at Elche on Sunday thanks to a late penalty from Memphis Depay that ensured they continued their revival after a difficult start to the season.

Having dropped to ninth in November, when former coach Ronald Koeman was sacked, Xavi Hernandez’s revived Barca climbed into the top three of La Liga with 48 points, leaving Real Betis in third.

In the middle of the table, Elche opened the scoring just before half-time as Pedri tried to clear the ball but provided the perfect assist for Fidel Chavez, who edged past Dani Alves and scored with a cross-corner. to the right of the vertical column.

Ferran Torres, Barcelona
Former Manchester City striker Ferran Torres scored his first Barcelona goal

Ferran Torres scored the equalizer in the 61st minute after a superb play from Ousmane Dembele on the right. His cross was deflected by Jordi Alba and the former Manchester City forward, in the right place at the right time, turned it into a goal from close range.

The winner went to Barca after the video assistant referee spotted a handshake from an Elche defender in the box and Depay delivered his penalty into the top left corner.

Meanwhile, Joao Felix scored twice as he helped Atlético Madrid earned a 3-1 win at Real Betisensure that they have bypassed their competitors in 4th place on the leaderboard.

Atletico are on 48 points with third-placed Barcelona, ​​who beat Elche 2-1, although the Catalan side still has a game in hand. Both teams are 15 points ahead of the top team Real Madrid.

Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix celebrates after scoring
Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix celebrates after scoring

Betis, who started the weekend in third, fell below Barca and Atletico to fifth with 46 points from 27 games.

Felix opened the scoring in the first minute with a close-range finish after Angel Correa’s cross.

Betis equalized just before the break when Cristian Tello hit a cross from the edge of the box.

Atletico dominated after the break. Felix scored the second after Marcos Llorente made a quick counter-attack before passing it to the Portuguese, who made the final touch from inside the box.

Substitute Antoine Griezmann, who is slowly returning from injury, made a cross to help Thomas Lemar seal a 3-1 victory in the 80th minute.

Elsewhere, threatened with relegation Cadiz increase their chances of survival with a 2-0 win first Rayo Vallecano to move in a point of Granada ranked 17th.

Serie A: Giroud’s goal brings Milan back to the top

Olivier Giroud scores an early goal for AC Milan
Olivier Giroud scores the goal for AC Milan

Olivier Giroud’s second half goal sent AC Milan back to the top of Serie A as they won 1-0 away at Napoli on Sunday.

Victory means table top Stefano Pioli now has 60 points, two more than city rivals and defending champions Inter – who have played one game less – and three more than Napoli in third.

Chances were few and far between in the midst of a tense encounter, with the home side having just two shots on target over the course of 90 minutes at Diego Armando Maradona’s stadium.

After a sloppy first half with neither side really threatening, Giroud scored the only goal of the game when he hit Davide Calabria’s cross four minutes into the break.

Adam Ounas fired a cross from the corner to open the scoring for Napoli and Hirving Lozano put in all his efforts late in the game as they tried in vain to find the equalizer.

Theo Hernandez and Alexis Saelemaekers were denied by Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina’s clever saves on the counter-attack in the final stages as they looked to seal the victory.

Meanwhile, one goal in the first half of Alvaro Morata was enough to Juventus win 1-0 at home first Spezia in Serie A when they squeeze a Champions League spot.

The hosts, who came close to fourth minute thanks to midfielder Arthur Melo, took the lead after 21 minutes when the Brazilian caught up to a poor save by Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel, picking Manuel Locatelli at the edge of the box. before the Italians fed Morata, who scored his first league goal since December.

Emmanuel Gyasi and Kevin Agudelo were both rejected from close range by Wojciech Szczesny after the break as Spezia looked to get things back on track.

Morata, meanwhile, missed a bright opportunity to seal the victory in the final minutes of injury time as Juventus held on to the win.

Juve took 53 points in fourth and final place in the Champions League, where they are six points ahead of fifth-placed Atalanta, who have played one game less.

Fiorentina was taken to break up some missed opportunities as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home Hellas Verona.

The two teams have only two points difference, both are hungry for a victory to close their place in the European Cup.

Krzysztof Piatek put Fiorentina ahead after 10 minutes, but Gianluca Caprari equalized from the penalty spot for Verona 10 minutes later.

At the other end of the board, Genoa draw 0-0 first Empoli to move within seven safe points. Venice also in the bottom three of the group when they lost 4-1 at home first Sassuolo. Turin 0-0 at Bologna.

Bundesliga: Hoffenheim is 4th with victory over Cologne

Stefan Posch scored the only goal of Hoffenheim beat Cologne 1-0, amid a series of missed opportunities for both teams, to rise to fourth place in the Bundesliga, the last place for Champions League spots.

Posch’s second-half goal was enough for the visitors to extend their winning streak to four games and leave Leipzig and Freiburg two points ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 draw. Nine rounds of fixtures remain.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is once again prominent in the Bundesliga. The Cologne players wear shirts with the words ‘Stop War’ written on the front.

John Lennon’s song “Imagine” was played around the stadium before players and fans observed a minute of silence in solidarity with the victims.

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Highlights: Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw by Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday

Hoffenheim forward Ihlas Bebou missed a number of good chances to score, while Anthony Modeste missed the home side’s best chance of the first half when he shot past the keeper.

Bebou started the second half with a header that bounced off the post and Modeste had a goal ruled out for offside before Posch finally broke the deadlock in the 61st minute when he headed the ball from defender David Raum. of Germany.

Opportunities continued to be missed for both teams as Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner hit the post as the home side looked easier to score. Cologne substitute Tim Lemperle’s header missed the post in stoppage time.

The previous match was scheduled between the second placed Borussia Dortmund and Mainz was postponed from Friday to March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak at home team Mainz.

Ligue 1: Monaco’s Martins engulf Marseille

Gelson Martins scored the second half goal of Monaco cause more suffering for the family Marseille with a 1-0 win in Sunday’s Ligue 1 encounter.

Martins reacted fastest to turn the ball in after Kevin Volland’s shot went wide of the post. The goal was initially flagged for offside but that decision was overturned by the Video Assistant Referee.

Marseille, who have won only 5 of 14 home matches this season, are still in 3rd place in the table with 47 points after 27 matches. They are 15 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and two points behind second-placed Nice.

Denis Bouanga scored the only goal St Etienne climb out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 home win Metzwhen Troyes claimed a major victory in their survival attempt at the bottom of the table Bordeaux.

Bouanga had a first-half goal disqualified by the Video Referee for handball, but there was no doubting his effort 52 minutes into the game when a poor save went right to his feet and he hit a shot in the net.

Metz, second in the table, thought they were entitled to a late penalty when Falaye Sacko clearly fouled Farid Boulaya in the box, but referee Jeremy Stinat overturned the decision after a foul. offenses in construction situations. spotty.

Troyes had his chance to maintain the world well after a 2-0 win over ailing Bordeaux.

They had a bit of luck early on when Mama Balde’s penalty was saved by goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin, who then shot the ball into the net with his own foot.

The visitors who scored a second with five minutes remaining were awarded a second penalty, this time converted by South Africa international Lebo Mothiba, who recently returned from almost two years out through injury. .

Rennes rose to fourth place with a 2-0 win over Angersthey won their third straight but lost their sixth in a row to an opponent that knocked them down the table.

Benjamin Bourigeaud and Gaetan Laborde scored goals for Rennes, who are currently below the Champions League spot.

They took a shortcut Strasbourgwho was held to the third draw in a row by Reims. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde put Strasbourg ahead, but Jens Cajuste equalized for the hosts with six minutes left.

Nantes also nurtured their Champions League hopes with a 2-0 home win to Montpellier. The goals of Randal Kolo Muani and Willem Geubbels brought 3 points. They climbed to sixth place, five points behind third-placed Marseille.

Defend the champion Lille continue their late push for a European location by routing 10 people Clermont 4-0 to keep level with Nantes.

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