Lionel Messi back with a goal, Manchester in distress, Juventus on top

GERMANY : With Lionel Messi scoring his first goal of the season to help Barcelona keep up with Real Madrid, Manchester City fell behind Liverpool by eight points, Juventus struck the first blow in the title race against Inter, the weekend was one packed with action in Europe.

THE RETURN OF THE KING

Barcelona thumped Julen Lopetegui’s revamped Sevilla to win 4-0 on Sunday, thanks to another vintage Lionel Messi performance. As a cherry on the top, the Argentine scored his first goal of the season with a trademark left-footed curling free-kick over a hapless wall in the 78th minute.

After Luis Suarez powered the home side to an early lead with a bicycle kick, Ousmane Dembele and Arturo Vidal gave Barcelona a three-goal advantage. Then came the dipping effort from the maestro, who celebrated with a finger in the air and then pumped his fist in relief after breaking a goal drought that had lasted four matches.

His 37th goal in 38 career meetings with Sevilla broke the record of most club goals (420) in Europe’s top-five leagues by outscoring Cristiano Ronaldo (419) in 70 fewer matches. His dipping effort to beat Tomáš Vaclík was his 49th career free-kick goal, also his 15th since the start of 2016/17 season, which is at least nine more than any other player in the division.

Real Madrid maintained their position at the top of the table with a 4-2 win over Granada, where Eden Hazard scored his first goal in a white shirt. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid slipped to third, one point behind Barcelona, after being held 0-0 at Valladolid, its third scoreless draw in four rounds.

Manchester united in loss

If Liverpool bagging a 94th-minute winner against Leicester City on Saturday, taking them to eight wins in as many matches, wasn’t agonising enough for the city of Manchester, Sunday just made things worse. Manchester City fell to another shock defeat at Etihad Stadium at the hands of an inspired Wolverhampton Wanderers, who defeated the reigning champions 2-0, thanks to two late Adama Traore hits.

On the other hand, Manchester United’s worst start to a season in around 30 years continued, with David de Gea being beaten by Newcastle United debutant Matthew Longstaff’s powered daisycutter from outside of the box. With the loss, the Red Devils remained in the bottom half of the table with just nine points from eight games and failing to register a single win in their last 11 away matches under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.