Marseille wins 6th straight game, Inter slumps
Move over Paris Saint-Germain, step up Marseille.
The French title race was supposed to be all about PSG, but Marseille is shaping up as a serious contender to dethrone two-time defending champion PSG after recording a sixth straight league win, beating Saint-Etienne 2-1 at home.
In the English Premier League, West Bromwich Albion routed struggling Burnley to grab a third win in a week, while in Italy 2010 Champions League winner Inter Milan slumped to a humiliating 4-1 home loss to Sardinian side Cagliari.
Here is the pick of the action from Europe’s top leagues on Sunday:
Valencia drew 1-1 at Real Sociedad in an entertaining match featuring a series of great saves to remain undefeated despite slipping to second place in the Spanish league.
Sociedad started well at its Anoeta Stadium, and Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves had to dive to turn back efforts from Carlos Vela and Imanol Agirretxe before the visitors went ahead.
Valencia striker Paco Alcacer made a clever headed pass to knock Rodrigo Moreno’s lob back for Carles Gil to score the 15th-minute opener.
But seconds after Valencia defender Jose Gaya cleared Inigo Martinez’s header off the line, former Valencia forward Sergio Canales sent in cross that fooled Diego Alves before slipping inside the far post to level for Sociedad in the 36th.
Valencia had entered the round as leader on goal difference over Barcelona, and the draw meant it fell two points behind the Catalan club. Valencia is level on points with third-place Atletico Madrid.
Also, Almeria forward Edgar Mendez scored in stoppage time to grab a 1-0 victory at Deportivo La Coruna, while Michel Herrero’s first-half goal helped Getafe beat Malaga 1-0 at home.
Marseille has been the dominant side in the French league this season and a 2-1 home win against Saint-Etienne gave coach Marcelo Bielsa’s side a sixth straight win to stay two points ahead of Bordeaux.
More importantly for Marseille, however, bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain sits five points behind in fourth place.
Midfielder Gianni Imbula and winger Dimitri Payet scored first-half goals for Marseille, with defender Jonathan Brison’s replying for Saint-Etienne in the 53rd.
Also, midfielder Thomas Toure created the opening goal and scored the winner as second-place Bordeaux beat Rennes 2-1.
Lyon drew 1-1 at Nantes and Lens drew 0-0 at home to Caen.
Inter Milan was handed a humiliating first loss of the season as it was routed 4-1 by last-placed Cagliari in Serie A, while Napoli won to ease the pressure on coach Rafa Benitez.
Inter captain Yuto Nagatomo was sent off in the 27th minute following two yellow cards and Albin Ekdal, who had scored three goals in 87 appearances for Cagliari, doubled his tally for the club with a 15-minute hat trick.
“I made some mistakes when evaluating the squad rotation,” Inter coach Walter Mazzarri said. “When we were down to 10 men we should have acted differently.”
In the evening match, Sampdoria beat Genoa 1-0 in a fiery derby match. The result saw Samp move into third ahead of Udinese’s home game against Parma on Monday.
Napoli won 1-0 at Sassuolo after Jose Callejon put away a cross from Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, while 10-man AC Milan was held to a 1-1 draw at Cesena.
Fiorentina also drew 1-1 at Torino as did Chievo Verona at home to Empoli.
Two goals from forward Saido Berahino helped mid-table West Bromwich Albion seal a comprehensive 4-0 win against Burnley in the Premier League.
West Brom clinched third straight win following victories over Tottenham in the league and Hull in the League Cup.
Berahino pounced in each half after Craig Dawson opened the scoring to hand the Clarets a third league defeat. Midfielder Graham Dorrans then added a fourth with a minute left.
Newly promoted Burnley has not scored in almost nine hours of league play and already look destined for a long fight against the drop, with the team now in last place.
Burnley had not scored in the league in 436 minutes coming into the game.
Substitute Lucas Piazon scored with a spectacular free kick in the 90th minute to give Eintracht Frankfurt a 2-1 victory at Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga.
In the process, Hamburg also set the Bundesliga record for going the longest without a goal before finally managing to score in the new season.
Scoreless after the first five matches, Hamburg needed a goal inside the first 24 minutes to avoid beating Bochum’s unwanted record from 1979. But it could not find the net until the 58th, when Nicolai Mueller canceled out Haris Seferovic’s goal from the 44th.
In the earlier match, captain Paul Verhaegh converted a first-half penalty to give Augsburg a 1-0 victory over Hertha Berlin.
Eintracht moved past Augsburg into seventh, while winless Hamburg stayed last.