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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019
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Eurostar: Handbags in Holland, scorchers in Spain and insanity in Italy

Paul Ring needed all manner of planes, trains and automobiles to keep up with the action around Europe this weekend. Here’s his report.

Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring the winner for Lazio in Sunday's Rome derby.
Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring the winner for Lazio in Sunday's Rome derby.
Image: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images

La Liga

LET’S HEAR IT for Levante. A 3-0 win over moneybags Malaga pushed the minnows to the dizzy heights of second in La Liga, level on points with Barcelona.

Go back and say that again, slowly. Levante, level with Barca.

The Catalans will be happy then that Andres Iniesta has returned from injury to help fend off the new challengers. The little man was at his impudent best Saturday night as Barca breezed past Racing Santander 3-0. Lionel Messi scored two and surpassed the legendary Ladislao Kubala on Barca’s all time goalscoring list. That’s 196 for Messi. He has a future.

Gonzalo Higuain scored his second consecutive hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Real Betis 4-1. He also netted three for Argentina against Chile during the international break and is putting Cristiano Ronaldo in the shade for once in Spain’s capital.

The goal

Helder Postiga hits your normal, run of the mill first-time bicycle kick screamer into the top corner. You better be sitting down for this.


The headline

Not so much a headline but an interesting tale from El Mundo Deportivo about Cristiano Ronaldo. They slam the winger for his display of cockiness against Betis and say he refuses to celebrate any Higuain goals. Ronaldo petulant? Who would have thought?

The table

Serie A

Eurostar is not one for stereotyping and Serie A can be brilliantly bonkers when it wants to be. But five goalless draws over the weekend did not to dispel the myth that Italian football can be a bit of a chore.

Thankfully the Rome derby popped up just in time to rescue the weekend and provide the type of spectacle Italy deserves. Lazio v Roma is one of the biggest derbies in the world and this one just about lived up to its billing.

Miroslav Klose was the hero; in his first derby as a Lazio player he hit the winner in stoppage time to seal a 2-1 win.  That just might endear him to the blue half of the eternal city.

The headline

La Gazzetta go with "Klose: Lazio are ready for anything.” Last minute winners make you aim for the sky.

The goal

Not many to choose from so I plumped for a commentator going insane. Who doesn’t love that? Roma v Lazio; it matters.


The table

Bundesliga

This is getting ridiculous. Bayern Munich’s start to the season reads like this. Played fourteen, won twelve, drawn one and lost one. They have thirty-five goals scored and one conceded.

Super Mario Gomez scored two more as Bayern thrashed Hertha Berlin 4-0. They now sit five points clear at the top.

Borussia Dortmund sealed a big 2-0 win away to Werder Bremen on Friday night. That result sees them climb to third after a somewhat stuttering start.

The headline

Bild have German superstar Tomas Muller in confident mood ahead of Bayern’s trip to Napoli in the Champions League midweek.  “We will win” is his battle cry. They might be worth a sneaky fiver.

The goal

Ivan Perisic had to step into the considerable gap left by Nuri Sahin at Dortmund but goals like this will help him make the step up.


The table

Eredivise

AZ Alkmaar and FC Twente continue to keep the more traditional powerhouses from the top of the Dutch table. AZ took a two goal lead at home to Ajax but left it slip as the Amsterdam side rallied to claim a draw.

Marc Janko was the hero for Twente as he scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 thumping of RKC Waalwijk.

PSV won 1-0 at home to ten man Utrecht, Ola Toivonen with the winner.

The headline

Ok, come on now, no translation needed here for Wesley Sneijder talking about Inter Milan in De Telegraf -- Sneijder: Situatie niet zo best.

Still need help? He says the situation is not the best. That might be putting it mildly, Wes.

The goal

All the goals in Holland this week were a bit rubbish so instead sit back and enjoy Giorgi Chanturia and Kevin Conboy get involved in a scrap that saw both get sent-off in Vitesse Arnhem’s 1-0 win against NEC. Warning: contains strong language.


The table

Ligue 1

PSG continue to set the pace in France after a 3-1 win away to Ajaccio. Kevin Gamerio hit a hat-trick in the win.

Montpellier stay safely tucked in at second after a 5-3 win at home to Dijon. The visitors had taken a two-goal lead, but an Oliver Giroud treble turned the tide.

Lyon kept in touch with a 3-1 win at home to Nancy. Michel Bastos scored twice.

The headline

L’Equipe reports that Barcelona defender Eric Abidal “would not say no to PSG.” The money has nothing to do it, of course.

The goal

Skip to 3:33 here to get to Jung Jo-Gook’s cracker against Lyon. The greatest consolation goal ever.


The table

British PM urged to apologise for ‘one of the biggest injustices of the 20th century’

UEFA guarantees Celtic’s Europa League place

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About the author:

Paul Ring

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