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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Football weekender: Liverpool win critical clash, Ronaldo’s rage, racism strikes again

From Premier League to La Liga, football stars made a mark with top goals and classic performances. And there was plenty of drama as well.

Written by Natasha Singh | Updated: November 11, 2019 6:41:13 pm
Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-1. (Source: Reuters)

Before heading home for the international break, star footballers ensured that their clubs’ positions were strengthened in their respective leagues. From the Premier League to La Liga, some of the biggest footballing stars stepped up with top goals and classic performances.

Liverpool vs Manchester City lives up to the hype

“This may be an irreversible lead,” screamed the commentator as Liverpool dominated at Anfield.

The biggest clash of the weekend between European champions and English champions lived up to the buildup with a Fabinho rocket, and headers by Mo Salah and Sadio Mane , leaving Manchester City nine points behind leaders Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola and VAR’s love-hate story continued as his side went down 3-1 after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s outstretched right arm hit the ball five minutes into the game, but it was not deemed to be deliberate.

After the match, Guardiola was seen approaching the referee and saying: “Thank you so much.” Expectedly the moment went viral.

Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, was elated and called the nine-point gap ‘crazy.’

“Other people 100% said already that from now on Liverpool can only lose it,” Klopp said. “Well that’s a very negative approach, but you can see it like this. We don’t care.”

Also Sergio Aguero’s zero-goal record at Anfield still stands with the Manchester City striker failing to score despite multiple attempts.

Dybala steals the limelight from Ronaldo 

On being substituted in the 55th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo made his anger visible given it was his earliest substitution since joining Juventus at the start of last season. Ronaldo walked straight down the tunnel, muttering under his breath and managed to give coach Maurizio Sarri a glare before vanishing.

This substitution comes after the Portugal star, who is struggling with a knee injury, was replaced in the Italian club’s Champions League clash at Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday.

However, the substitution paid off as Paulo Dybala scored the only goal in the 77th minute as Juventus beat AC Milan 1-0 Sunday to move back to the top of Serie A. Dybala collected the ball from Gonzalo Higuain, dribbled his way into the area and fired into the bottom left corner.

Juventus, chasing a ninth successive Serie A title, moved to 32 points, one point ahead of Inter Milan.

Shakhtar Donetsk captain sent off in tears after reacting to racial abuse

In another shameful episode of racism, Shakhtar Donetsk captain and Brazilian footballer Taison ended up leaving the ground in tears after reacting to racial abuse by fans during a Ukrainian Premier League clash.

Taison was shown a red card for ‘unsporting behaviour,’ which came when he reacted to the insults from Dynamo Kiev supporters in the 74th minute. He first responded to the chants with an offensive gesture and then kicked the ball at them.

 

The incident comes a week after Mario Balotelli stopped play and responded to racist chants in similar fashion directed at him in Serie A clash.

Frankfurt captain sent off for knocking over Freiburg coach

Even Bundesliga had some intense, dramatic moments as Eintracht Frankfurt captain David Abraham was sent off for knocking over Freiburg coach Christian Streich in a match that featured chaos and red cards.

During injury time, Streich let the ball go by as Abraham tried to recover it, and the Frankfurt captain reacted by bundling the coach over with his shoulder as he ran past. Upset Freiberg players and staff then chased the defender onto the field.

Freiburg assistant coach Florian Bruns was booked and Vincenzo Grifo was shown red after VAR picked him up targeting Abraham, as Freiburg ended the match with 1-0 win.

Meanwhile, Borussia Monchengladbach stretched their lead at the top of the league by four points with a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen. The game was preceded by tributes to goalkeeper Robert Enke on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Players and fans stood in honor of Enke, the former Hannover and Germany goalkeeper who took his own life exactly a decade ago. The stadium announcer spoke about depression and coping mechanisms before the tribute ended with a round of applause.

Despite the team’s managerial woes, Robert Lewandowski scored twice against his former club on Saturday to help Bayern Munich return to form with a 4-0 rout of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga’s “Klassiker”

La Liga battle gets tighter at the top

It is a typical mid-season standing in La Liga with Spanish leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top with 25 points and a game to spare. They are closely followed by Atletico Madrid and Sevilla on 24 points, with Real Sociedad taking the fifth spot at 23 points.

Lionel Messi scored two free kicks as he netted his first hat-trick of the season in a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou.

Atletico Madrid were headed for disappointment before Alvaro Morata came to the rescue again, hitting his sixth goal in as many games in all competitions. Diego Simeone’s side beat struggling Espanyol 3-1.

Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane’ side scored three goals in the first 30 minutes to sweep Eibar aside 4-0. Madrid was up 2-0 by the 20th minute after goals by Benzema and Sergio Ramos. Benzema added another in the 29th and Federico Valverde netted in the 61st.

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