MADRID: Barcelona threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday in a chaotic game which underlined the scale of the task facing incoming coach Xavi Hernández.
Celta captain Iago Aspas completed a remarkable second-half comeback from the hosts by scoring in the fifth minute of added time after he had pulled their first goal back in the 52nd and Nolito had struck in the 74th to set up a tense finish.
Teenage forward Ansu Fati had given Barça the lead in the fifth minute and captain Sergio Busquets extended their advantage with a low strike from outside the area in the 18th before Memphis Depay added a third in the 34th. But Barça experienced a huge drop off in performance in the second half and Celta’s stunning comeback extended the Catalans’ winless streak to four league games.
Barça are ninth in the standings with 17 points after 12 games while Celta are 14th on 12. Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema fired Real Madrid to a 2-1 win at home to Rayo Vallecano to go top of La Liga.
Real had drawn their last two league games at the the Bernabéu 0-0 but got off to a strong start when Kroos drilled a shot into the top corner in the 14th minute after Marco Asensio had cut into the area from the right wing.
Their top scorer Benzema doubled their lead in the 38th minute and Real looked to be cruising until Radamel Falcao came off the bench in the second half andscored a header, with the help of a deflection off Alaba, to put Rayo back in contention in the 76th minute.
The win takes Real on to 27 points after 12 games, two above second-placed Real Sociedad who have also played 12 but will return to the summit if they beat Osasuna on Sunday.
In Germany . . .
Robert Lewandowski scored his 60th goal this calendar year as champions Bayern Munich claimed a 2-1 home win over Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday to end the visiting side’s unbeaten start to the season.
Bayern took a deserved lead in the 30th minute through Leon Goretzka and Lewandowski doubled the lead on 75 minutes, before Freiburg scored an injury-time consolation through Janik Haberer.
Borussia Dortmund ’s four-game winning streak in the Bundesliga came to a halt as they were beaten 2-1 away to RB Leipzig.
Christopher Nkunku put Leipzig in front in the 29th minute and Jesse Marsch’s side missed numerous chances to build on their lead before they were punished by a Marco Reus equaliser early in the second half.
Leipzig quickly set about restoring their lead and eventually made good on their dominance when Yusuf Poulsen slid in to send a cross from Nkunku inside the far post in the 68th minute.
In Italy . . .
Davide Ballardini’s fourth spell as Genoa coach came to an end on Saturday when the relegation-battling Serie A club announced his sacking.
The 57-year-old was under pressure after winning one league game all season, and a 2-2 draw away to Empoli on Friday night proved to be the final straw.
“Genoa have relieved coach Davide Ballardini of his duties. The club thanks the coach and his staff for their work, dedication and passion,” read a club statement.
Genoa are 18th, with nine points from 12 games, and are on a nine-match winless run. Juan Cuadrado’s stoppage-time goal earned Juventus a 1-0 win over 10-man Fiorentina as the Turin club ended a three-match winless league run.
Juventus are eighth with 18 points, level with Fiorentina above them. Atalanta beat bottom side Cagliari 2-1 in the late game to rise to fourth thanks to first-half strikes from Mario Pasalic and Duvan Zapata either side of a João Pedro goal for the hosts.
In France . . .
Paris Saint Germain stretched their advantage at the top of Ligue 1 to 10 points after two goals from the Brazil forward Neymar and another from Kylian Mbappé helped them to a 3-2 win at Bordeaux on Saturday. PSG have 34 points from 13 games, ahead of second-placed Lens who beat Troyes 4-0 at home on Friday. Bordeaux stayed 16th on 12 points.