European roundup: Bayern hit back to beat Mainz while 10-man Milan stay top

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The Guardian

  • Athletic Bilbao sack Gaizka Garitano after win against Elche
  • Martínez scores hat-trick for Inter in 6-2 thrashing of Crotone

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates with teammate Leroy Sané during their comeback 5-2 win over Mainz. Photograph: Andreas Gebert/AFP/Getty Images

Reuters

Bayern Munich returned from the Christmas break looking rusty before fighting back from two goals down to defeat second-bottom Mainz 5-2 on Sunday.

The result leaves Bayern on 33 points from 14 games, two points ahead of RB Leipzig. The German champions trailed 2-0 at half-time before Robert Lewandowski continued his superb scoring run with a late double.

Jonathan Burkardt fired Mainz ahead against the run of play after he shook off Jérôme Boateng and Alexander Hack made it 2-0 with a thumping header. Joshua Kimmich pulled one back with a header after Lewandowski nodded a Serge Gnabry cross into his path, before Leroy Sané equalised with a scorcher from 20 metres.

Niklas Süle turned the tide when he volleyed home from inside the area before Lewandowski forced Mainz into submission. He converted a penalty after Leandro Barreiro brought down Gnabry and then bundled in a Thomas Müller cross as Mainz collapsed in the final 20 minutes.

Earlier on, Jadon Sancho scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season as Borussia Dortmund returned to the top four with a 2-0 victory against VfL Wolfsburg. The hosts stepped up their intensity in the second half and took the lead when the Swiss centre-back Manuel Akanji headed in a Sancho corner in the 66th minute.

Dortmund wrapped up all three points in stoppage time when Emre Can’s clearance found Sancho, who slotted the ball beyond Koen Casteels.

In Spain, Athletic Bilbao sacked their coach Gaizka Garitano hours after their 1-0 victory at home against Elche. Garitano was promoted from reserve-team coach to first-team manager in December 2018 and led the team to last year’s Copa del Rey final. He leaves the team ninth in the standings on 21 points after winning six, drawing three and losing eight of their 17 games this season. Lionel Messi produced an assist on his return to action as Barcelona won 1-0 at basement boys Huesca. Messi, back in the team after sitting out Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Eibar due to an ankle injury, teed up Frenkie De Jong with a fine pass in the 27th minute at.

Luis Suárez scored a 90th-minute winner as Atlético Madrid defeated Alavés 2-1 to retake the Spanish league lead. Suárez scored from close range, converting a cross by João Félix after Atlético had conceded an equaliser in the 84th minute.

Meanwhile in Italy, a goal in each half earned 10-man AC Milan a 2-0 victory at Benevento, restoring their place at the top of the Serie A table. Inter Milan had thrashed Crotone 6-2 to briefly move top but Milan soon found themselves in front in Campania thanks to Franck Kessie’s 15th-minute penalty.

Milan’s task was made more difficult after Sandro Tonali was sent off in the 33rd minute. The referee had shown the midfielder a yellow card for a dangerous tackle but changed it to red after consulting the monitor.

Rafael Leao made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half, while the hosts missed a penalty. Milan remain unbeaten and have 37 points from 15 games, one point ahead of Inter. “This was another tough victory considering the numerical inferiority,” the Milan manager, Stefano Pioli, said.

Lautaro Martínez’s first hat-trick for Internazionale had earlier helped them to crush Crotone, earning a eighth successive Serie A win.

Crotone, who are second-bottom, took a shock 12th-minute lead through Niccolò Zanellato. But Romelu Lukaku sent his strike partner Martínez through to level eight minutes later, before an own goal by Luca Marrone had Inter in front. A Vladimir Golemic penalty then levelled things up again.

Martínez brilliantly gave Inter the lead in the 57th minute before Lukaku added another seven minutes later. The Argentinian completed his treble 12 minutes from time, before Achraf Hakimi put the icing on the cake.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and created another goal as Juventus got back to winning ways in Serie A with a 4-1 victory over Udinese. Ronaldo opened the scoring with a trademark drive before teeing up Federico Chiesa for the second.

Ronaldo’s second goal put the result beyond any doubt, with Marvin Zeegelaar scoring an injury-time consolation for Udinese. There was, however, still time for Paulo Dybala to score a fourth.

Elsewhere in Serie A, Edin Dzeko scored a late winner to earn Roma a battling 1-0 win against Sampdoria, keeping his side third. Roma looked set to lose ground in the title race as they laboured in torrential rain, failing to create chances in the first half.

However, moments after the former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling had headed against the crossbar, Dzeko scored his third goal in as many games to settle a tight contest.

Atalanta thrashed high-flying Sassuolo 5-1 and Lazio were held to a 1-1 draw at Genoa, while two fantastic Piotr Zielinski goals steered Napoli to a 4-1 win at Cagliari.

Zielinski gave his side the lead with an arrowing strike before João Pedro equalised on the hour. However, Zielinski was not done: he danced through the home defence two minutes later to put Napoli back in front, before a goal by Hirving Lozano and a penalty from Lorenzo Insigne ensured Gennaro Gattuso’s side moved back into the top four.

Lazio had high hopes of victory at relegation-threatened Genoa. After Ciro Immobile gave his side the lead from the penalty spot in the 15th minute, Lazio looked set to earn only their second win in six matches in all competitions. They could not build on their lead, however, and Mattia Destro earned Genoa a point in the 58th minute.

Sassuolo had a rude awakening at Atalanta, who rained in 23 shots in their rampant 5-1 win. Torino were another side to win convincingly, 3-0 at Parma, while Fiorentina were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at home against Bologna.

 

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