Jadon Sancho and Nico Schlotterbeck. Alamy Stock Photo
on the continent

Sancho stars in Dortmud win, Palacios scores late winner for leaders Leverkusen

Elsewhere, Amir Rrahmani fired Napoli to last-gasp win over Salernitana.


JADON SANCHO LAID on the match-sealing assist on his return after a disappointing two-and-a-half years at Manchester United as Borussia Dortmund won 3-0 at Darmstadt, their first Bundesliga win since November.

Sancho arrived on loan from Old Trafford on Thursday and was subbed on alongside Marco Reus early in the second half.

Dortmund were clinging on to a 1-0 lead after Julian Brandt’s early strike, with goalkeeper Gregor Kobel producing a spectacular save midway through the second period.

As he did so often during his first stint in Germany, Sancho danced down the flank and drew the Darmstadt defence before crossing for Reus to tap into an empty net with 13 minutes left.

“I feel like it was meant to be, me coming back and seeing Marco again,” Sancho, 23, told Sky Germany.

“He’s a great friend of mine… I’m happy to set up his goal today.”

Teenage striker Youssoufa Moukoko added a third in injury time to round out the win.

The victory saw Dortmund climb within three points of the Champions League places, after fourth-placed RB Leipzig lost 1-0 earlier on Saturday at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Earlier, Exequiel Palacios scored in the fourth minute of injury time to earn Bayer Leverkusen a 1-0 win at Augsburg, keeping the leaders four points clear of chasers Bayern Munich.

Bayern’s 3-0 home win over Hoffenheim on Friday turned up the heat on Leverkusen.

The visitors looked set to drop points for just the fourth time this season, but the Argentinian world champion volleyed the ball in with almost the last kick of the game from an Alex Grimaldo cross.

The goal may prove crucial in the title race as Leverkusen restored their four-point lead atop the table, with second-placed Bayern having a game in hand.

Leverkusen looked slick early, carving out several chances as they dominated possession, but lacked the final killer blow without injured striker Victor Boniface. Augsburg looked to have taken the lead through Phillip Tietz with 20 minutes remaining, but the striker’s goal was flagged for offside.

Grimaldo found Palacios in the final minute of injury time, the midfielder slamming a perfect shot into the goal before being embraced by his elated teammates.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt won 1-0 at RB Leipzig. Frankfurt took the lead just seven minutes in, Ansgar Knauff slamming a brilliant curved pass from Niels Nkounkou into the net.

Amir Rrahmani snatched a 2-1 win for Napoli against Serie A’s bottom team Salernitana on Saturday with a stoppage-time strike which ended the ailing champions’ winless run at four matches.

Kosovo captain Rrahmani capitalised on dreadful defending at a free-kick to poke home the winner and turn jeers into cheers at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Walter Mazzarri’s side moved up to sixth in Italy’s top flight after the win, 20 points behind leaders Inter Milan. 

The hosts came back from going behind in the 29th minute to a stunning Antonio Candreva strike, with Matteo Politano pulling Napoli level from the penalty spot at the end of the first half before Rrahmani brought the house down with his late winner.

Inter Milan went five points clear of Juventus at the top with a 5-1 hammering of Monza, in which Lautaro Martinez and Hakan Calanhoglu each scored twice, with Marcus Thuram rounding out the scoring. Juventus have a game in hand: they play Sassuolo on Tuesday. 

In France, Rennes eased to a 2-0 victory over Nice on Saturday, condemning their opponents to a third defeat in five Ligue 1 games and handing Paris Saint-Germain the chance to go eight points clear at the top of the table.

Second-placed Nice could have cut the gap to PSG to two points with a win, but instead the reigning champions can stretch further ahead when they visit last season’s runners-up Lens on Sunday.

Earlier, Reims grabbed a 3-1 win at third-placed Monaco to climb into fifth.

Adi Huetter’s Monaco would have leapfrogged Nice and jumped to within four points of PSG with victory.

Finally, in La Liga, Alex Berenguer’s brace fired Athletic Bilbao to third in La Liga after a 2-1 Basque derby triumph over Real Sociedad on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Spanish forward, filling the gap left by talisman Inaki Williams’s departure for the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana, made a decisive impact as Athletic moved ahead of Spanish champions Barcelona on goal difference.

The Catalans, fourth, are in Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup final on Sunday against league leaders Real Madrid.

Real Sociedad pulled a goal back late on through Mikel Oyarzabal but could not find a leveller at the vibrant San Mames.

Updated at 22.05 


– © AFP 2024

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