Rage runs through Europe this weekend

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There were a few interesting games for the viewer on Friday night, but the one which transpired to be the feistiest was unsurprisingly Lazio versus AC Milan. The first half was quiet, although that changed ten-minutes into the second half as Luca Pelligrini saw a second yellow in only seven minutes after hauling down winger Christian Pulišić as he attempted to break down the line. Twenty minutes later Rafael Leão thought he’d opened the scoring as he slotted the ball into the back of the net only for VAR to rule it offside. This wasn’t the end for Milan though as in the 88th minute Noah Okafor’s strike couldn’t be kept out despite a hand from keeper Ivan Provedel. Lazio’s frustration at the late loss began to show as both Adam Marušić and Mattéo Guendouzi received red cards before the final whistle, something their coach and team will not be thankful for ahead of their next fixture.

The race for Champions League football in Italy is great entertainment for the neutral, and the action didn’t disappoint this weekend. Roma set the tone, beating Monza 4-1 to put pressure on the rest. Fiorentina, who in recent weeks haven’t been as strong as they were earlier in the season, faced Torino in a must win game. Despite facing a 10-man side for forty-five minutes, after Samuele Ricci’s red card, Fiorentina could not find the winning goal with the game finishing all square. Thiago Motta’s Bologna side picked up a massive win away to Atalanta. The two sides were only separated by two points pregame, with Bologna extending this to five after coming from behind courtesy of goals from Joshua Zirkzee and Lewis Ferguson. 

One team who haven’t been hitting the heights of last season is Napoli, they faced Juventus this weekend with most expecting a good game but a win for the Old Lady as they sat  seventeen points above the home side. Dušan Vlahović came close twice in the first half, hitting the woodwork with one of his efforts. It was Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who broke the deadlock in the end, hitting the back of the net shortly before half time. The pressure was on Juventus in the second half to find an equaliser, and they did. A delicious strike from Federico Chiesa in the eightieth minute brought them level, but If they thought this was enough, then they were wrong. Juventus after all their hard work shot themself in the foot. Conceding a penalty with five left to play. Victor Osimhen failed to convert this, however Giacomo Raspadori found the back of the net with his follow up.


The tale of the weekend in the Bundesliga was in Darmstadt. The team sat at the bottom of the Bundesliga trailied 5-0 after only half an hour as they faced Augsburg on Saturday. Manager Torsten Lieberknecht was forced into making multiple substitutions before the end of the first half as his side were humiliated at their own ground. Phillip Tietz found a sixth goal in the last ten minutes of the second half to really infuriate the Darmstadt fans, making it 6-0 at the final whistle, a great win for Augsburg but a dreadful day for Darmstadt. This defeat means they have now gone eighteen games since their last Bundesliga win, ironically that was a 2-1 win versus Augbsurg, and have shipped three goals or more on six occasions in that time. This result seemed to be the tipping point for the club’s ultras as one fan entered the field to lecture the players after the full time whistle. The players stood in silence as the fan ranted at them, expressing the feelings of the fans for the players to hear, making them listen to a few home truths about their performances. When finished the fan was applauded by his fellow fans as he returned to the stands. Fans will be hoping this rant will put some fire in their players, however their next two games are tough ones as they face RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich. 

Thomas Tuchel’s side haven’t been in amazing form either though, drawing 2-2 to Freiburg meaning they only have one win in their last five games. Freiburg went ahead early on as Christian Günter found the back of the net with a tremendous strike. Mathys Tel pulled one back before half time with potentially an even better strike as he smashed it in from outside the penalty box. Jamal Musiala found the back of the net to put Bayern ahead in the second half after dancing his way past two defenders and neatly finding the bottom corner. It looked like Bayern were going to pick up the win until up stepped Lucas Höler with a beautiful volley to equalise in the 87th minute. This draw on Friday night meant Bayer Leverkusen could go ten points ahead of Bayern if they won in Köln, and win is exactly what they did. Winning 2-0 on Saturday versus a ten-man side after Jan Thielmann was shown red just fourteen minutes in after a dirty challenge on Granit Xhaka. Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimlado were the two goalscorers in the win. Aside from Leverkusen, Stuttgart, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig all won as they chase Champions League football.


There was only one game I could begin with really, Valencia versus Real Madrid. A match coated on controversy. Valencia took the lead early on through a goal from Hugo Duro, with Roman Yaremchuk doubling this lead only three minutes later as he rounded keeper Andriy Lunin to find the back of the net. Madrid pulled one back just before the breakthrough star man Vinícius Júnior, a touch was all that was needed after a deflected cross from team mate Dani Carvajal made its way to him. Vini later would make it 2-2 as he doubled his tally for the day, this time it was a header from the Brazilian. The chaos was yet to begin though. In the 98th minute of the game the whistle was blown for full time as Madrid were on the attack. Dani Carvajal swings the ball into the box and finds the head of Jude Bellingham, whose header nestles into the bottom corner of Valencia’s net. No goal. The players from both sides surround the referee, bargaining for the decision they want, Jude Bellingham seeing red in the process.After much dispute there’s no changing the referee’s mind, the goal will not stand, the points are shared. Post game Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti stated  “Something unprecedented has happened and it’s never happened to me before”.

The two sides chasing Real Madrid failed to take advantage of the opportunity to gain on them. Girona lost 1-0 to Mallorca in a surprising result and Barcelona were unable to overcome Athletic Bilbao in what finished as a 0-0 draw. To be fair to Barcelona, Athletic have been a strong side this season and both Frenkie de Jong and Pedri came off injured in the first half for them. The side wo shone this weekend was in fact Marcelino’s Villareal beating Granada 5-1 as Alexander Sørloth scored a hat-trick and Dani Parejo picked up a hat-trick of assists. Villareal are now seven games unbeaten, with sixteen goals scored in the process. 


The league leaders Paris Saint Germain travelled to Monaco on Friday night for a less than eventful affair. A 0-0 draw with no cards or any real controversy… not one for the history books that’s for sure. A more memorable game was Marseille’s 5-1 victory over Clermont, who sit at the foot of the table. Iliman Ndiaye got the only goal of the first half as Marseille went 1-0 up. Despite Marseille being the dominant side Clermont equalised through Bilal Boutobba after a poor clearance. Although the score didn’t stay 1-1 for long as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the first of four second half goals to make it 5-1 to the away side. It’s worth mentioning that the last goal for Marseille was an excellent one from Faris Pemi Moumbagna. 

One side who have been turning heads recently is Toulouse. This weekend they won their third Ligue 1 game in a row for the first time since their return to Ligue 1 in 2022. This weekend they came from behind to defeat Nice 2-1, meaning not only have they won three in a row but all three have been against sides in the top 5. Terem Moffi had put Nice ahead but two goals in four minutes from Thijs Dallinga and Yann Gboho meant the three points went to Carles Martínez’s side. Toulouse are now up to tenth in the league and I would expect, with the form they’re in and the nine point gap to automatic relegation, that they are safe for the season. The side they moved ahead of this weekend was Lyon, who fell to a 3-0 defeat to Lens. Florian Sotoca got the first for Lens late in the first half meaning they lead Lyon heading into the break. Early in the second half a handball from Maxence Caqueret led to a penalty for Lens, Elye Wahi converted the penalty to double Lens’ lead. Late on Lyon’s day got worse as former Arsenal man Ainsley Maitland-Niles brought down Neil El Aynaoui as they were on the attack, with centre-back Kevin Danso scoring only minutes later to make it 3-0.

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