Lionel Messi produced another master class; Juve suffered their first loss in Serie A and Zidane made a winning start following his return to the dugout. Here are the Winners and Losers of football in Europe this weekend. You can bet on European football here.
Real Madrid and Zidane
Zinedine Zidane made a winning start to his second stint as Real Madrid when they defeated Celta Vigo 2-0 on Saturday to take them within two points of second-placed Atletico Madrid. The former Los Blancos player was brought in to replace Santiago Solari and save face for what has been an awful campaign for the Spanish giants. Silverware looks impossible this season, but the French legend will be looking to finish the season strong and maybe push Barcelona for an unlikely title challenge.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi produced another brilliant performance in La Liga, as he scored his 33rd hat-trick in the league as they saw Real Betis off 4-1 on Sunday. All three of Messi’s strikes were exquisite. A 20-yard free-kick, a toe-poked finish and a breathtaking lofted effort prompted Betis fans to applaud him. This was Messi’s 51st career hat-trick. The Argentina captain has 39 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions this season and a treble is still in his sights. That kind of performance continues to elevate Messi’s stature as one of the best footballers the world has ever seen.
Both Teams to Score
It was a bad day for defenders in the office across Europe. Both teams found the back of the net in six out of nine matches in the Bundesliga which had a goal fest this past weekend. In the French Ligue 1, both teams scored in five out of ten matches. In Italy, a staggering nine out of ten saw nineteen teams out of twenty teams score. Funny enough league leaders Juventus failed to score against Genoa, a team that ended their unbeaten run. Both teams scored in five out of ten matches in La Liga.
Title challengers (Ajax & Atletico)
Both Ajax and Atletico Madrid lost ground on leaders in their respective leagues after suffering humiliating defeats over the weekend. AZ Alkmaar inflicted a 1-0 to Ajax who are chasing leaders PSV Eindhoven. They have now fallen five points behind ahead of a gigantic showdown between the two after the international break. Atletico suffered their second successive defeat losing 2-0 to Athletic Bilbao. Diego Simeone’s team is now ten points behind Barcelona and just two ahead of city rivals Real.
The Bianconeri failed to follow up their impressive week in the Champions League and suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat in the hands of Genoa. Although they are 15 points ahead in the Serie A standings, their dream to end the season unbeaten is now in tatters. Juve had not lost a top-flight match since April 2018 and had dropped points on three occasions prior to Sunday’s game. A defeat won’t hurt too much since it is all but secured.
AC Milan suffered their first Serie A defeat in 2019 when they lost to arch-rivals Inter Milan in a thrilling Derby della Madonnina on Sunday. The loss saw Milan drop to fourth with their rivals leap-frogging them to third place. Inter now have 53 points from 23 games, two points above their nemesis.