Jude Bellingham stars to send Real Madrid top of LaLiga

By Sports Desk September 30, 2023

Jude Bellingham continued his fairytale start to life at Real Madrid with another starring role in a 3-0 victory at LaLiga surprise packages Girona.

Bellingham’s superb assist allowed Joselu to open the scoring and, after Aurelien Tchouameni had made it 2-0, the England midfielder wrapped things up with his seventh goal for the Spanish giants.

Real’s victory, soured by Nacho Fernandez’s red card, was their seventh in eight league matches and saw them return to the top of the table while Girona fell to third after their first defeat of the campaign.

Athletic Bilbao remain in fourth despite crumpling to a chastening 3-0 loss at Real Sociedad.

Robin Le Normand opened the scoring while second-half strikes from Takefusa Kubo and Mikel Oyarzabal sealed a commanding victory for a Sociedad side that moved them up to sixth.

Radamel Falcao struck from the spot in the 12th minute of stoppage time as Rayo Vallecano claimed a 2-2 draw against Mallorca while Alex Baena saw red as Villarreal were held to a 0-0 draw at Getafe.

Serie A leaders Inter Milan returned to winning ways after Lautaro Martinez came off the bench to score four times in a 4-0 win at Salernitana.

The Nerazzurri, who slipped to a first loss of the campaign at home to Sassuolo in midweek, initially struggled to break down Salernitana but Martinez’s 55th-minute introduction changed the picture.

He scored in the 62nd, 77th, 85th – from the spot – and 89th minutes as Inter quickly moved back above city rivals AC Milan, who earlier turned on the second-half style to record an impressive 2-0 win over Lazio.

Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor were on target to finally end stubborn Lazio resistance at the San Siro, but Rafael Leao was the star attraction as he set up both goals.

Defending champions Napoli emphatically ended Lecce’s 100 per cent home record in the league with a 4-0 victory at the Stadio Via del Mare.

Goals from Leo Ostigard and substitutes Victor Osimhen and Gianluca Gaetano had the visitors in control before Matteo Politano converted a penalty in added time.

Paris St Germain were thwarted by their former academy goalkeeper Mory Diaw as they were held to a 0-0 draw at Ligue 1 basement side Clermont.

Luis Enrique’s side would have gone top with victory at Stade Gabriel Montpied, but could not find a way past an inspired Diaw, who began his career in PSG’s youth set-up.

Monaco are the early frontrunners in the French top-flight but they twice had to come from a goal behind to see defeat Marseille 3-2.

Iliman Ndiaye and Samuel Gigot put Marseille ahead but Maghnes Akliouche and Folarin Balogun equalised inside a frantic first 24 minutes. Akliouche had the final say eight minutes into the second half.

Harry Kane was on target as Bayern Munich came from two goals down draw 2-2 at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig struck early through Lois Openda and Castello Lukeba but Kane and Leroy Sane replied in the second half to earn the reigning champions a point.

But the draw saw Thomas Tuchel’s men end the day in third, two points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Leverkusen recorded a 3-0 win at rock-bottom Mainz, courtesy of Sepp van den Berg’s own goal, plus second-half strikes from Alex Grimaldo and Jonas Hofmann.

Deniz Undav bagged a second-half brace as second-placed Stuttgart defeated Cologne 2-0 while there were also wins for Heidenheim, Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach.

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    Sarina Wiegman was left almost speechless with disappointment after England’s 6-0 win over Scotland was still not enough to make the Nations League knockout stages as Team GB’s hopes of reaching next summer’s Olympic Games also ended.

    Pedro Martinez Losa’s side, already relegated from League A1, were swept aside at Hampden Park but the Netherlands’ 4-0 win over Belgium saw them top the group.

    Defender Alex Greenwood headed the opener after 12 minutes and two goals in a minute by Lauren James and another by Beth Mead just before the break had the game over by half-time.

    Striker Fran Kirby added a fifth with Lucy Bronze heading in what looked a crucial final goal in the third minute of added time – but Damaris Egurrola’s late brace for the Netherlands meant they pipped Wiegman’s side on goal difference.

    Wiegman, whose side was the nominated nation on behalf of Team GB for Paris next year and needed to win the group, was on the Hampden pitch with her players after the game when the Dutch, whom they beat 3-2 on Friday, scored their crucial fourth.

    She said: “Of course I am very very disappointed. That’s the biggest emotion I have now.

    “We delivered tonight and we delivered this December camp, the team showed lots of character, in this game too and we started the game really well, scored four goals in the first half.

    “When Lucy scored I said to the players that we are going to get this.

    “Netherlands scored in the late seconds and that’s how close it was.

    “We were waiting, long minutes but we really thought we got it and then we didn’t make it I said I actually don’t know what to say.

    “I am really proud of the performance and what we did this whole week but it was not enough and it is really disappointing and you don’t really have to say anything more.

    “If you don’t get through in goal difference then it is just not enough, that’s the facts. But that’s football.”

    Martinez Losa was similarly taken aback by what he had witnessed but for different reasons.

    He said: “We have to apologise to the fans, this was not what they expected.

    “We lost concentration in the first half after we conceded the first goal, we were out of the game at half-time.

    “I will never be embarrassed about the team, about the players, but it was not the performance we were expecting for our fans.

    “England were at a good level and took advantage of their good moments.

    “One of the consequences of the result is because we wanted to win the game. We pressed England high as well as they did. Some moments we were doing things well.

    “After the four goals it was difficult for our players to come back.

    “I considered [making first-half subs] but didn’t do it because in the end, the responsibility of the team is with myself. I respect the team, I understand for the players that it is a big occasion and I wanted to wait until half-time.”

  • Billy Heath still hoping Alfreton can make FA Cup third round after Walsall draw Billy Heath still hoping Alfreton can make FA Cup third round after Walsall draw

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    He went on to admit that a replay in the Midlands represents a tougher proposition, but feels that his “magnificent” side remain capable of progressing with Championship Southampton awaiting the victors at St Mary’s.

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    “They have shown that in this tie and we are still in it, which is the main thing. It will be even more difficult at their place but we won’t be going there to go out with a whimper and still think we can win the tie.”

    Walsall boss Mat Sadler was subjected to chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” by unimpressed away fans, who have seen their team win just once in nine contests – against Isthmian League minnows Sheppey United in the previous round.

    The Saddlers have also failed to net in three successive matches, but an under-pressure Sadler declared that he was pleased with the manner in which his team did not buckle in the face of repeated long throws into their box from home midfielder Adam Lund.

    “You have to respect whatever the supporters are saying, but we have had a tough spell with injuries and I’m pleased with how incredibly hard the team we put out worked tonight,” Sadler insisted.

    “We had some good moments and controlled long parts of the game, so there were plenty of positives but we didn’t quite have that bit at the end, which is not happening for us at the moment.

    “It will come and sometimes you just need a goal to go off somebody’s backside, earlobe or whatever. But we also showed great resilience to deal with their long throw, which is a hell of a weapon.

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    Kettlewell held his hands up in apology to the 94 travelling fans who braved the wintry conditions to witness their side go 12 cinch Premiership games without a victory.

    Simon Murray headed County in front from a corner inside two minutes as Well lost the first goal for the 11th time in their barren run.

    Yan Dhanda curled home from 22 yards inside 18 minutes and Ben Purrington knocked home a rebound in the second half as a static Motherwell defence was beaten again.

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    “It looks a real bad one,” Kettlewell said.

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    “We stepped forward with the ball and created some really good movements in the game. We were unfortunate not to score more.”

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