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Monday, February 17, 2020

Football weekend roundup: Mane’s rage, Bale scores two then sent off, racism in Italy

Sadio Mane raged against teammate Mohammed Salah and team staff, Gareth Bale scored twice then committed two fouls to get sent off and racism reared its ugly head again in Italy.

Written by Natasha Singh | Updated: September 2, 2019 2:00:40 pm
Sadio Mane fumes at Mo Salah; Bale scores brace before being sent off

The European domestic leagues that seemed to be getting into full swing will see their first international break next weekend. But before the players departed for their respective countries, there was some thrilling action during the weekend.

Here are the top five talking points from this weekend:

Mane rages at Salah for not passing the ball

Liverpool’s perfect start to the season continued with a 3-0 win at Burnley, a club-record 13th successive Premier League victory that quickly displaced Manchester City, 4-0 conquerors of Brighton, at the top of the table.

However, during the match, Sadio Mane was seen fuming over Mohammad Salah not passing to him despite being wide open. While making his way to the bench after being substituted after 85 minutes, Mane could be seen screaming in the dugout and arguing with the team staff.

Klopp reacted to the incident, saying, “He was upset, that was obvious. Sadio cannot hide his emotions and I like that. It’s all sorted. We spoke about it and everything is fine. We are individuals, we are emotional. It was a situation in the game he wasn’t happy about — that’s completely fine.”

“Would he do it in exactly the same manner again? Probably not, but it happens. Nothing happened, he didn’t say any wrong words. Of course, I can understand that it’s a little story. Thank God we are now away for a week, so if you write something about it, we will not read it anyway. And after a week, nobody can remember anymore, so it’s a really cool moment to do it. But it is all good really, all fine,” he added.

VAR stays in focus after EPL games

The biggest Premier League clash of the weekend between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur ended in a draw with VAR deciding the outcome. Spurs took an early lead in the 10th minute, when forward Christian Eriksen slotted the ball home. Harry Kane then doubled the lead with a penalty kick after Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka’s reckless tackle on Son Heung-min. Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back just before halftime to make it 2-1 before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poked the ball past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for the equaliser in the 71st.

With the score reading 2-2, the Gunners thought they had a winner, sparking wild celebrations among the home crowd. But an offside decision against Sead Kolasanic was upheld by VAR and the score stood at 2-2.

This wasn’t the only EPL result affected by VAR, which was at the center of a controversy in Leicester City’s 3-1 home win over Bournemouth. Bournemouth were left fuming after Leicester’s Youri Tielemans escaped a booking for a potential leg-breaking challenge on Callum Wilson.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa suffered as VAR did not overturn the referee’s decision to deny them a late equaliser in the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.

Bale scores brace before seeing red

So much has happened since Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale’s departure from Real Madrid will be ‘best for everyone.’ On Sunday, Bale equalised in stoppage time of the first half by tapping in a cross from Dani Carvajal from close range. Villarreal responded by restoring their lead in the 74th minute through Moi Gomez, after Karim Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside.

The Welsh pulled Madrid out of trouble again with a powerful low strike in the 88th minute but somehow managed to get himself sent off by earning two yellow cards for fouls in stoppage time as Madrid settled for a 2-2 draw.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Ansu Fati became Barcelona’s youngest ever La Liga goalscorer on Saturday, but could not prevent his side stumbling to a surprise 2-2 draw against a promoted Osasuna. The Spanish champions sit at the eigth spot after three games after Atletico Madrid continued their perfect start by staging a remarkable comeback from two goals down to beat Eibar 3-2. Zidane’s side are at the fifth spot, trailing Atletico by four points.

Ronaldo scores first goal of season

Cristiano Ronaldo netted his first league goal of the season shortly after the hour mark, slotting home an assist from Douglas Costa. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly scored an injury-time own goal to hand Juventus a 4-3 Serie A victory in Turin after the visitors had fought back from three goals down.

Goals from Danilo, Gonzalo Higuain and Ronaldo gave the Italian champions a 3-0 lead with less than half an hour remaining. Napoli refused to give up as Kostas Manolas and Hirving Lozano scored within two minutes of each other, before Giovanni Di Lorenzo completed a stunning comeback.

But Koulibaly volleyed a free kick into his own net in stoppage time to hand the Italian champions their second win of the season.

Italy’s latest victim of racism – Romelu Lukaku

Racism continues to plague Italian football with Inter Milan’s new recruit Romelu Lukaku the latest victim. While the Belgium international scored a second-half penalty to earn Inter Milan a 2-1 victory at Cagliari in Serie A, monkey chants were heard from the home crowd. The former Manchester United striker sent goalkeeper Robin Olsen the wrong way before turning to glare at the home fans responsible for the taunts.

This is not the first time that Cagliari fans have subjected rival players to racism. Former Juventus forward Moise Kean as well as Blaise Matuidi were also victims of similar abuse at the Sardegna Arena. Even Inter Milan fans built a bad reputation when Kalidou Koulibaly and other black players faced monkey chants last season at the San Siro.

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