Real Madrid collapsed after leading by two goals to lose 4-2 at Real Sociedad in the Spanish league on Sunday, with the European champions left rudderless without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi finished Barcelona’s 1-0 win at Villarreal with a right leg injury after he set up substitute Sandro Ramirez to score on his debut.
Messi assisted on the 82nd-minute winner and played the full match, but his club said after the game he had injured a right leg muscle and would undergo tests.
Madrid looked set to romp at Anoeta Stadium after dominating the first half hour with goals by Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale.
However, David Zurutuza scored twice on either side of goals by Inigo Martinez and Carlos Vela as the hosts roared back to leave Madrid’s players with blushes to match their bright pink kits.
“We were horrible,” Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas said.
Elsewhere, Isaac Cuenca converted a penalty in stoppage time to salvage Deportivo La Coruna a 2-2 draw against Rayo Vallecano, while David Lomban also scored in added time to secure Elche a 1-1 draw with Granada.
On Thursday, Sociedad was beaten 3-0 at Russian side Krasnodar, eliminating it from the Europa League playoffs and sparking speculation that coach Jagoba Arrasate’s job was in danger.
“We began with many doubts after our elimination the other day, but we turned it around with a lot of courage and attitude,” said Xabi Prieto, who flicked on a corner-kick for Martinez’s goal and crossed for Zurutuza to score what proved to be the winner.
Now Carlo Ancelotti will have to answer why his squad with stars like Bale, Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez failed to compete for the final hour. Madrid, who had already lost the Spanish Super Cup to Atletico Madrid, slipped three points behind Barcelona.
“I don’t like this defeat at all because I think sometimes you can play poorly, but when you are winning 2-0, you have to show more character to finish off the game and that is my responsibility,” Ancelotti said. “Something has to change and it will change.”
With Ronaldo out to nurse his nagging leg injuries, Ramos and Bale took over the scoring duties.
Ramos headed in Toni Kroos’ corner-kick in the fifth minute, before Bale doubled the lead six minutes later with an audacious dribble to put the ball between the legs of Gorka Elustondo before scoring.
Martinez swung the tide when he slipped behind Ramos to score in the 35th. Zurutuza equalized in the 41st when he thumped in Alberto de la Bella’s cross.
Casillas grazed Imanol Agirretxe’s header wide in the 48th, but could do nothing to stop Zurutuza’s second goal in the 65th, before Vela added another in the 75th.
Earlier, Messi was as incisive as in Barcelona’s home opener last week when he scored two times in a win. However, at El Madrigal Stadium, he was twice denied by the goalframe when goalie Sergio Asenjo blocked his free-kick off the post in the 28th and his shot stuck the upright in the 76th.
Neymar came on as a second-half substitute for his first competitive game since fracturing a vertebra at the World Cup, having missed last weekend’s league opener with a left ankle sprain. The striker misfired twice before starting the move that led to Barcelona’s goal by passing to Messi in the area.
Hemmed in by Asenjo and a defender on the right side, Messi squeezed a low pass under Asenjo for the streaking Ramirez to tap home.
New coach Luis Enrique saw another successful debut by a player from Barcelona’s “B-Team,” which he coached from 2008 to 2011. Last week, it was 18-year-old Munir El Haddadi who scored to round off Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Elche. This time, it was the 19-year-old Ramirez, who had a perfect debut after substituting Pedro Rodriguez in the 69th.
“[Luis Enrique] looks to the youth team and we try to make the most of it,” Ramirez said.
Villarreal had their chances to go ahead after hitting the goalframe on two occasions. Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu almost scored an own-goal in the 51st, before Tomas Pina’s long strike rattled the bar in the 72nd.
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very