Sunday, October 7, 2012
Messi, Ronaldo star as Barcelona draws with Madrid
BARCELONA, Spain -- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dueled each other to an entertaining stalemate on Sunday, with both superstars scoring twice as Barcelona drew 2-2 with Real Madrid to keep an eight-point lead over its archrival intact.
The result ended Barcelona's perfect start to the league campaign as it dropped points for the first time in seven games, but provided yet another memorable chapter in the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo, the two biggest names in soccer.
"It should be prohibited to say which is the best in the world," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said. "They are both from another planet."
Ronaldo put Madrid ahead at Camp Nou stadium in the 23rd from a pass by Karim Benzema to extend his scoring streak in "clasico" matches to six.
Then it was Messi's turn, as he took advantage of a defensive slip to level for Barcelona in the 31st, before adding a second goal in the 61st with a perfect free kick from almost 25 yards out.
But as Barcelona looked to seal the result, Mesut Oezil unlocked Barcelona's makeshift defensive line to set up Ronaldo to respond five minutes later and split the points.
It was, perhaps, a fitting end to the latest head-to-head duel between arguably the two best players in the world, who for the last two seasons have engaged in a two-way scoring race unlike anything the Spanish league has seen before.
"(Messi and Ronaldo) both try to do everything they can to help their teams and score goals," Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said. "If Ronaldo hadn't coincided with Messi, perhaps he would get even more recognition."
Not to be outdone, Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao also scored twice on Sunday, including a 90th-minute winner, to earn a 2-1 win over third-place Malaga. The Colombian international leads the league with nine goals, one more than Messi and Ronaldo.
Atletico's sixth straight victory lifted it even on points with Barcelona at the top of the standings.
Also, Levante beat Valencia 1-0 thanks to Obafemi Martins' first-half goal, Granada downed Mallorca 2-1 for its first home loss, and Athletic Bilbao edged out Osasuna 1-0.
LONDON -- Veteran American goalkeeper Brad Friedel was dropped to the bench for Tottenham's 2-0 win over Aston Villa, ending his record run of 310 Premier League starts in a row dating to May 2004.
France captain Hugo Lloris, a summer signing from Lyon, started over Friedel and posted a shutout in his league debut, with Spurs' goals coming from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon.
"Obviously Brad was disappointed but as a great professional, he ended up accepting the decision," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "We respect his performances and I'm sure he will be back in the team as soon as possible."
Manchester United relied on early goals from its much-maligned defense and a stunning strike from Tom Cleverley to secure an impressive 3-0 win at Newcastle, keeping the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra scored on headers from corner kicks for United in the opening 15 minutes. Cleverley scored on a long-range shot in the 71st that curled in.
The frustration continues for Liverpool, which tied Stoke 0-0 at home. American midfielder Maurice Edu made his debut for Stoke as an 81st minute substitute for Charlie Adam.
In Sunday's other match, Jose Fonte scored a late tying goal -- his second of the game -- to earn Southampton a 2-2 tie against Fulham.
MILAN -- Ten-man Inter Milan hung on to beat crosstown rival AC Milan 1-0 in a bad-tempered Serie A derby that saw the hosts have a goal disallowed and a late penalty appeal waved away as they chased an equalizer.
Walter Samuel headed Inter in front in the fourth minute following a howler from goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. Milan improved but had Riccardo Montolivo's goal disallowed for a foul on Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
Inter had Yuto Nagatomo sent off for a second yellow card shortly after the break, but Milan could not find the equalizer and was denied what looked to be a clear-cut penalty late on when Robinho appeared to be brought down by Samuel.
Earlier, American midfielder Michael Bradley scored his first goal for Roma in a 2-0 win against Atalanta, and defending champion Juventus stretched its unbeaten streak in the league to 46 games with a 2-1 victory at Siena.
Bradley sealed the game for Roma in the 62nd minute.
Claudio Marchisio scored what proved to be the winner for Juve.
Also Sunday, high-flying Lazio cruised to a 3-0 win at struggling Pescara.
Stevan Jovetic continued his impressive start to the season as he scored his fifth goal to send Fiorentina on its way to a 1-0 victory against Bologna.
Catania beat 10-man Parma 2-0 and Cagliari won 1-0 at Torino.
PARIS -- Marseille kept hold of first place in the French league after drawing 2-2 with bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain, with strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andre-Pierre Gignac both scoring twice with well-taken goals in a pulsating first half.
PSG would have overtaken Marseille for first place with a win, remains three points behind Marseille after eight games.
Gignac gave Marseille the lead in the 17th minute, hitting a diagonal shot that went past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu's outstretched hand.
Ibrahimovic then scored two stunning goals in the 23rd and 25th to send the raucous Stade Velodrome crowd into total silence and take his prolific tally to 10 goals in nine games since joining from AC Milan.
First, he volleyed the ball in from near the penalty spot with his outside of his foot with a martial arts-type kick from Maxwell's corner, and then hit a free kick from 30 yards (meters) with such pace that it flew past goalie Steve Mandanda before he could get across to stop it.
Gignac equalized in the 32nd when he soared above four PSG players to equalize with a powerful header from winger Mathieu Valbuena's corner that gave Sirigu no chance.
Third-place Lyon missed the chance to keep the pressure on the top two when it was held to a 1-1 tie at Lorient.
Earlier, sixth-place Bordeaux maintained its unbeaten start to the season after tying 1-1 at Brest through striker Cheick Diabate's second-half tying goal.
Israel forward Eden Ben Basat put Brest ahead in the 38th minute with his third goal of the season, but Diabate leveled in the 68th with his second goal in as many games.
FRANKFURT, Germany -- Defending Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund lost more ground to Bayern Munich when it conceded a late goal and had to settle for a 1-1 tie at Hannover.
Mame Biram Diouf scored in the 86th minute to earn the tie for Hannover, leaving Dortmund trailing Bayern by nine points.
Eintracht Frankfurt had its first loss of the season, losing 2-0 at Borussia Moenchengladbach, while Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen tied 2-2 in the day's third match.
AMSTERDAM -- American forward Jozy Altidore was ejected from AZ Alkmaar's 2-0 loss to first-place Twente in the Dutch league.
Alkmaar's Adam Maher was shown a red card for a late tackle, and Altidore got two yellow cards protesting the call and was sent off in the 52nd. Nacer Chadli, Dusan Tadic and Luc Castaignos scored for Twente.
Earlier, PSV Eindhoven beat NAC Breda 4-0 to move into second place. Ajax drew 1-1 against FC Utrecht in Amsterdam and fell into fourth place behind Vitesse Arnhem.
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Greece striker Georgios Samaras scored the first-half winner as Celtic beat Hearts 1-0 to maintain its two-point lead in the Scottish Premier League.
Five days after earning Celtic its first away win in the Champions League with a stoppage-time goal against Spartak Moscow, Samaras drove home a low finish in the 34th minute at Celtic Park as his team claimed a third straight league win.
VIENNA -- American forward Terrence Boyd scored in the 86th minute, giving Rapid Vienna a 1-1 tie at Sturm Graz in the Austrian league. Boyd has five league goals this season and seven overall.