Sport Soccer

Thursday 19 September 2019

Woe for Torino's Hart in eight-goal thriller

Liverpool are reportedly interested in Joe Hart
Liverpool are reportedly interested in Joe Hart

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez inspired Barcelona to victory over neighbours Espanyol and to within three points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid last night.

Suarez scored twice while Messi's minute of magic in the second half put Barca out of sight, before the Argentinian wrapped up a 4-1 win in the last minute.

Suarez celebrated signing a new contract with Barca on Friday by firing the home side ahead in the 18th minute with the help of a brilliant pass from Andres Iniesta and the Uruguayan struck again in the 67th after a mazy run from Messi.

In Italy, Joe Hart conceded five goals in Torino's 5-3 Serie A defeat to Napoli with Dries Mertens bagging four for the winning side.

The Belgium international beat the England goalkeeper three times in nine first-half minutes, seven days after a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Cagliari.

Torino, 3-0 down after 22 minutes, did fight back in the second half, with Andrea Belotti pulling one back before former Tottenham centre-back Vlad Chiriches added Napoli's fourth.

Elsewhere, Gonzalo Higuain's superb first-half strike ensured a record-equalling 25th consecutive league victory for Juventus that extends their lead over Roma at the top of Serie A.

Higuain, who joined the Italian champions for €90million from Napoli this summer, scored the all-important goal after 14 minutes when the Argentina international skipped past two Roma defenders before blasting past Wojciech Szczesny for his 10th league goal of the season.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid suffered an almighty fright before a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick hauled them back from 2-1 down and gave them a 4-2 win over rank outsiders Kashima Antlers in the Club World Cup final yesterday.

Two goals from Gaku Shibasaki stunned the European champions as the Japanese hosts took a 2-1 lead early in the second half before a Ronaldo penalty brought Real level on the hour. The 11-times European champions then survived several more scares and a possible sending-off for captain Sergio Ramos before Ronaldo scored twice more in the first period of extra-time.

Elsewhere, Saul Niguez's second-half strike gave Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win at home to Las Palmas on Saturday, their first victory in four games in all competitions.

Saul lashed a loose ball into the top corner from outside the box to break the deadlock in the 59th minute and bring welcome relief to Atletico after a week in which they all but dropped out of the title race and lost goalkeeper Jan Oblak to injury.

In Germany, Bayern Munich returned to the top of the Bundesliga table yesterday thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Darmstadt.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Ireland's fullback dilemma, World Cup bonding and the squad standby list

Also in Sport