- Barcelona win Catalan derby against Girona
- Goals galore in Serie A as Fiorentina and Roma are held
Guardian sport and agencies
Lionel Messi scored for a sixth consecutive La Liga game as champions Barcelona saw off a gutsy Girona side 2-0 in a Catalan derby on Sunday to go five points clear at the top of the standings.
Nelson Semedo struck with his weaker left foot to send Barca into the lead in the ninth minute, which was played on a rain-swept afternoon at Girona’s Montilivi stadium after LaLiga’s ambitious plan to stage the game in Miami fell through.
Girona had defender Bernardo Espinosa sent off in the 51st minute for a second booking. Liga’s top scorer Messi, then lobbed goalkeeper Bono to net his 18th league goal of the season.
Real Madrid thrashed Espanyol 4-2 away as Karim Benzema scored twice and Gareth Bale netted on his return from injury. Benzema found the target in the fourth minute, before Sergio Ramos doubled the lead. Léo Baptistão pulled one back but then Benzema struck again and Gareth Bale sealed the result minutes after coming on.
Madrid were reduced to 10 men when Raphaël Varane was given a straight red card, and Espanyol pulled back another goal with a wonderful strike from Roberto Rosales.
Elsewhere in Spain, Real Valladolid beat Celta Vigo 2-1, while Athletic Bilbao defeated Real Betis 1-0.
Bayern Munich secured their fifth successive Bundesliga win with a 4-1 victory over Stuttgart to cut the gap to leaders Borussia Dortmund back to six points.
Stuttgart frustrated Bayern in the first half as Anastasios Donis cancelled out Thiago’s opener. Serge Gnabry put Bayern back into the lead when he collected the ball on the edge of the area and his strike deflected in off Christian Gentner.
Lewandowski hit the post from the spot, but the reigning Bundesliga champions pulled clear through Leon Goretzka, who met Joshua Kimmich’s corner to nod home. Lewandowski made amends for his penalty miss six minutes from time.
Fiorentina scored twice with 10 men and saw their opponents miss a late penalty as they won 4-3 at Chievo on Sunday in an extraordinary Serie A match which also produced one of the most unusual video assistant referee decisions of the season.
Luis Muriel gave Fiorentina a fourth-minute lead, before Chievo thought they had levelled when Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont sent a goal kick straight to Emanuele Giaccherini, who fired into the net. But the VAR ruled that the forward had encroached when the kick was taken and disallowed the goal.
The Flying Donkeys then had a penalty appeal turned down and were still protesting when Marco Benassi scored a second for Fiorentina. Mariusz Stepinksi headed one back for Chievo and Benassi turned villain on the hour when he blocked a goalbound shot with his arm on the line, was sent off and Sergio Pellissier levelled from the spot kick.
With the game going from one end to the other, Federico Chiesa broke clear to put Fiorentina ahead, then Chievo were awarded another penalty for handball by Gerson but this time Pellissier’s effort was saved. Chiesa added a fourth and Filip Djordjevic headed one back.
Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata missed a penalty but scored an equaliser one minute later as his side hit back from three goals behind to draw 3-3 at home to Roma in Serie A.
Edin Dzeko gave Roma a third-minute lead, sweeping the ball home after Nicolo Zaniolo chested it into his path and struck again on the break in the 33rd minute. Stephan El Shaarawy added a third but Timothy Castagne pulled one back before half-time when he headed in Alejandro Gómez’s cross.
Rafael Toloi headed in another Gomez delivery for Atalanta’s second goal in the before they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Josip Ilicic. The referee initially booked Ilicic for diving but changed his mind after a VAR review and awarded a penalty, only for Zapata to fire over the bar.
The Colombian made amends one minute later, running on to Gómez’s pass to place his shot past Olsen and make it 3-3.
There was also a dramatic comeback at Parma where visitors Spal scored three times in the final 20 minutes to win 3-2. Two goals from Roberto Inglese, the first from a penalty, put Parma in the driving seat.
Mattia Valoti scored less than two minutes after coming off the bench to begin the fightback and Andrea Petagna headed the equaliser. Mohamed Fares blasted the winner with three minutes left.
Lowly Frosinone claimed only their second win of the season by thumping fellow strugglers Bologna 4-0 away.