Sunday 11 December 2016

Ter Stegen error as Barca fightback falls short

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Published 03/10/2016 | 02:30

An error by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen allowed Pablo Hernandez to make it 4-2.
An error by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen allowed Pablo Hernandez to make it 4-2.

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Barcelona missed the chance to go top of the league as they were stunned 4-3 by Celta. The champions were 3-0 down at half time but Gerard Pique and Neymar found the net as a comeback looked on with half an hour remaining.

However, an error by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen allowed Pablo Hernandez to make it 4-2. Luis Suarez pulled another back before Neymar missed a glorious chance to equalise and the defeat leaves them in fourth place.

Earlier, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane denied his side were facing a crisis after they drew 1-1 at home to minnows Eibar and racked up a fourth consecutive draw for the first time in more than 10 years.

Although Real remain unbeaten in the league, they are without a win in their last three games and are on 15 points from seven games, the number Zidane's predecessor Rafael Benitez had earned at the same stage last season. The Spaniard was sacked three months later.

"We are not in crisis, we're only in October. What we need to do is improve, we can't lose our minds over this," Zidane said.

Fran Rico stunned the Bernabeu by heading the visiting side into the lead in the sixth minute and scoring Eibar's first goal against Real in La Liga, facilitated by some questionable Real defending and goalkeeping from Keylor Navas.

Gareth Bale headed home a Cristiano Ronaldo cross to level in the 17th minute and score his 50th La Liga goal and the Wales international came close to grabbing the winner in the second half but headed against the far post.

Atletico now lead the table on goal difference following their 2-0 win over Valencia.

In Italy, Serie A leaders Juventus surged on with a 3-0 win at Empoli, helped by a Gonzalo Higuain brace. Juve's win took the defending champions on to 18 points from seven games, four clear of Napoli, with Milan, Lazio and Chievo a further point behind.

Meanwhile, Mario Balotelli delivered a trademark performance as he scored to give Nice a 2-1 win against Lorient yesterday that put them top of the Ligue 1 standings and was then sent off in stoppage-time.

The Italian striker scored his fifth goal in three league appearances, firing the ball into the top corner four minutes from time. Balotelli, who joined from Liverpool on a free transfer during the close season, was booked after taking his shirt off in celebration and then sent off two minutes into added time for a second caution.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich's perfect Bundesliga start came to a screeching halt when they drew 1-1 with visiting Cologne on Saturday after winning their first five matches of the season.

Joshua Kimmich's efforts were cancelled out in second half by Anthony Modeste's strike.

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