World Sports News in Brief

Magical Messi sinks Atletico as Barca return to the top

Monday, 2019-12-02 09:00:57
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Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - December 1, 2019 Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lionel Messi underlined his ability to make the difference on big occasions by hitting a sensational late goal to give Barcelona a 1-0 win at title rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday as the champions reclaimed top spot in La Liga from Real Madrid.

The Argentine, playing his 701st game for Barca, settled a pulsating and tense encounter in the 86th minute, galloping down the right wing and cutting inside before playing a one-two with Luis Suarez and guiding the ball into the bottom corner. Messi’s strike saw Barca return to the top of the standings with 31 points after 14 games, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference, while Atletico were left in sixth spot on 25 points, having played one match more than the two pacesetters.

* Arsenal's interim manager Freddie Ljungberg said Arsenal can still finish in the Premier League top four despite a 2-2 draw at Norwich City on Sunday that extended the club's winless streak in the league to six games. Former Gunners' midfielder Ljungberg was in charge for the first time after Unai Emery's sacking on Friday and watched skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice level for his side.

* Napoli's wretched run of form in Serie A continued as they threw away the lead in a 2-1 home loss to Bologna on Sunday. Fernando Llorente’s strike gave Napoli the lead at halftime, but the visitors mounted a comeback after the break with goals from Andreas Skov Olsen and Nicola Sansone. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have now played six games without a league win and are seventh in the standings on 20 points. Bologna are 12th on 16 points.

* Leicester City reclaimed second spot in the Premier League in dramatic fashion as Kelechi Iheanacho's stoppage-time goal earned them a 2-1 victory over luckless Everton on Sunday. Leicester moved back above Manchester City and are three points ahead of the champions with 32 from 14 games, eight behind Liverpool.

* St Etienne suffered their first defeat under coach Claude Puel when they slumped to a 2-1 loss at Stade Rennes after a last-gasp goal from Damien Da Silva in Ligue 1 on Sunday. Lois Diony's opener was cancelled out by Raphinha in the first half and Da Silva netted the winner for the Brittany side four minutes into stoppage time as Les Verts ended the weekend in ninth place on 22 points from 15 games.

* Borussia Moenchengladbach forward Breel Embolo scored twice, set up another and also missed a penalty as the league leaders beat Freiburg 4-2 in a rollercoaster game on Sunday to stay one point clear at the top. Gladbach are on 28 points, with RB Leipzig second on 27. Freiburg dropped to sixth on 22.

* A superb second-half header by Matt Doherty cancelled out an early goal by Lys Mousset as Wolverhampton Wanderers came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Sheffield United, extending their unbeaten Premier League run to nine games on Sunday. Wolves remain in sixth place in the table on 20 points after 14 games, with the Blades a point behind them in seventh.

* Inter Milan moved above Juventus to the top of the Serie A table with a 2-1 win at home to SPAL on Sunday, thanks to a Lautaro Martinez double. Inter took advantage of Juventus dropping points by drawing 2-2 against Sassuolo earlier in the day. It was Inter’s 12th win in their first 14 games of the season, setting a club record as their best-ever start to a campaign.

* Pablo Larrazabal birdied the 18th hole to claim a one-shot victory at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday, having overcome a blister that left him battling to walk and a horror front nine.

* Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton ended a triumphant Formula One season in style on Sunday with a dominant victory from pole position for Mercedes in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his 250th race. Hamilton's 84th career victory, fifth in Abu Dhabi and 11th of the season meant the Briton equalled his own Formula One record of 33 consecutive finishes in the points.

* Sevilla beat basement club Leganes 1-0 at home in an enthralling encounter on Sunday. The win lifted them to 30 points after 15 games, one behind leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand.

Reuters