Wednesday 18 July 2018

Zlatan set for Old Trafford return as Barca open with victory


Comeback king: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Photo: Getty
Comeback king: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Photo: Getty Sportsdesk

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to sign a contract with Man United this week. Ibrahimovic (35) is a free agent and is currently recovering from a serious knee injury but his quick recovery is set to see him return to Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic's former club Barcelona bounced back from their midweek loss to Real Madrid as they opened their La Liga campaign with a 2-0 victory at home to Real Betis.

An Alin Tosca own goal before Sergi Roberto doubled the lead in the first half set the home side on their way to a comfortable win.

Barcelona's great rivals Real Madrid went one better as goals from Gareth Bale, Carlos Casemiro and Toni Kroos helped them to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna, despite a late red card for Sergio Ramos.

Antoine Griezmann was sent off as Atletico Madrid battled back to secure a dramatic 2-2 draw at La Liga newcomers Girona in their opening match.

The Catalans were making their debut in Spain's top flight and they raced into a two-goal lead.

Cristhian Stuani headed in a cross at the far post on 22 minutes and was on target again just three minutes later.

Atletico then found themselves down to 10 men. In the 66th minute, Griezmann was cautioned for what the referee viewed as a dive over Girona goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz just inside the penalty box.

The French striker then appeared to say something to the official and he saw red.

However, Atleti responded when Angel Correa pulled a goal back with a fine individual strike in the 78th minute before, with just six minutes left, Jose Gimenez headed in an equaliser from Koke's free-kick.

Former Barca striker Neymar was on target twice for 10-man PSG again as they came from 1-0 down to beat Toulouse 6-2.

Max Gradel opened the scoring for Toulouse but PSG hit back through two Neymar strikes, Adrien Rabiot, Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore and Layvin Kurzawa after Marco Verratti had been sent off.

Meanwhile, Juventus launched their bid for a seventh successive Serie A title with a 3-0 home win over Cagliari. Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain all found the net, although Diego Farias missed a penalty for the visitors.

Aleksandar Kolarov ensured Eusebio Di Francesco made a winning start to life as Roma's new head coach by firing them to a 1-0 victory at Atalanta.

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund coasted past Wolfsburg 3-0 to hand new boss Pierre Bosz the perfect start in the Bundesliga.

Irish Independent

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