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Hits and misses of European Matchweek

Inter and Lukaku scare Real Madrid ahead of Champions League tie

Real Madrid are well aware of what awaits them at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Wednesday for what is a crucial match in the Champions League, with qualification for the knockout rounds at stake. Los Blancos will encounter a jubilant Inter side after their impressive 4-2 comeback win against Torino, a result which saw them move up the Serie A table.

Inter had Romelu Lukaku to thank for it. The Belgian striker's double was pivotal in Antonio Conte's side overcoming a tough to beat Torino side who had gone 2-0 up thanks to goals from Simone Zaza and Cristian Ansaldi. With just 30 minutes to be played it looked like mission impossible, but this is an Inter team full of self-belief. They never give up.

First, Alexis Sanchez got his side back into the game, but it was the star man who would make the decisive impact. Lukaku popped up when his team needed him most, levelling the game in the 67th minute before later putting the Nerazzurri ahead from the spot with five minutes remaining. Remember, Lukaku didn't play in Madrid when Inter faced Los Blancos, so his return would be a concern for any defence.

It was the Argentine forward Lautaro Martinez who made it 4-2, assisted tidily by who else but Lukaku, the game's hero. That strike in the final minutes allowed Inter to calmly see out a game in which they scored four second-half goals. Clearly, Inter will go into this clash against Real Madrid full of confidence, a welcome boost for them with survival in the competition to play for.

Cristiano Ronaldo bags a brace as Juventus beat Cagliari

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the first half as Juventus picked up a much-needed win against Cagliari in their return to Serie A action on Saturday evening.

The Portuguese had been in the headlines during the international break, with his Juventus future being questioned, but he responded to those doubts in the best possible way by getting back to work on the pitch in style. Federico Bernardeschithought he had put La Vecchia Signora in front early on but was thwarted by the offside flag, though he had another strike on Alessio Cragno's goal but his effort from the edge of the area was straight at the goalkeeper.

Dejan Kulusevski was the next to threaten, curling a low strike just wide of the far post after moving in from the right in his typical fashion. The young Swede had another chance to get on the scoresheet when he was picked out by Cristiano Ronaldo to finish a one-two, but only after the No.7 had already opened the scoring. That goal did come just as half time was approaching. Patient build-up play led to Alvaro Morata teeing up Cristiano who, after stepping inside, fired past Cragno.

Cagliari would have been kicking themselves about the manner of the second,which came just four minutes after the first. Juan Cuadrado's corner was nodded on by Merih Demiral and Ronaldo was, inexplicably, left unmarked to wander in around the back and tap in at the far post. Juan Cuadrado came close to his fifth career goal against the Sardinians after the restart before Demiral crashed a header off the crossbar from the corner that the Colombian's shot led to.

Bernardeschi came close then. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped over the ball to leave a chance for the Italian, but his effort was poor and denied by Cragno. Morata was next to pass up an opportunity, sending his shot over after Bernardeschi laid off for him. Ragnar Klavan had a goal correctly ruled out for offside as Juventus had to play on the back foot for a brief spell, but Paulo Dybala and Kulusevski had chances of their own to extend the lead at the other end. The win sends Juventus, temporarily at least, second in Serie A ahead of their Champions League meeting with Ferencvaros in midweek.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hits brace as AC Milan overcome Napoli

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as AC Milan remained top of Serie A with a 3-1 win at Napoli.

Ibrahimovic powered Milan into a 2-0 lead with goals in the 20th and 54th minutes of the match.

Dries Mertens got one back just after the hour but Tiemoue Bakayoko saw red moments later to slow the fightback, and Jens Petter Hauge's late goal sealed the points.

Bayern Munich fail to win at home for first time in eight and a half months

Bayern Munich could only come from behind to draw at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday afternoon.

Maximillian Eggestein gave the visitors the lead just before the half-time break, while Kingsley Coman levelled things up a couple of minutes after the hour mark.

This result brings Bayern's winning run at home to an end, with it having lasted 13 games, or eight and a half months. Werder finally made Bayern, who had looked unstoppable just a couple of months ago, look human.

Werder had not won away to Bayern in eight years, and during that time they had been on the receiving end of some drubbings, losing 7-1, 6-0, 6-1 and 5-0 to name just four. Visiting the Bavarians on their own patch is often a recipe for disaster, particularly in defence. Just ask Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone.

This result means that Bayern stay top of the Bundesliga table, but the chasing pack of Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund are not hot on their heels. For Werder, this result takes them up to ninth.

Haaland hits four for Borussia Dortmund

Erling Braut Haaland hit a 17-minute hat-trick and finished with four goals as Borussia Dortmund ran out 5-2 winners at Hertha Berlin to move within a point of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Matheus Cunha gave the home side the lead with a 25-yard drive after 33 minutes, but the match was turned on its head by Haaland.

The Norwegian striker equalised from close range two minutes into the second half, then swiftly added another before making it 3-1 just after the hour after latching on to a stray backpass.

Fabregas inspires Monaco comeback against PSG

Monaco came back from 2-0 down at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Friday night to win 3-2, thanks to two goals from Kevin Volland and an 85th-minute penalty from Cesc Fabregas.

In fact, all three of Monaco's goals came in the second half, with Kylian Mbappe having scored a brace inside the first 37 minutes.

The first 45 minutes were dominated by PSG, while the second period swung the way of Monaco. It was Fabregas' introduction at half time that seemed to change things for the hosts.

PSG took the lead in the 25th minute. Angel Di Maria played a ball for Mbappe to run on to, and he simply outsprinted Axel Disasi, who was hesitant about bringing the forward down as he was the last man. Mbappe then lifted his effort into the top left corner of Vito Mannone's goal and wheeled off in celebration at his former home.

Twelve minutes later, Mbappe had the chance to double PSG's lead from the spot after Youssouf Fofana brought down Rafinha Alcantara in the area as the former Barcelona man hung up a cross. Mannone ended up going the right way for the penalty, but Mbappe's effort had so much pace and accuracy that the Italian goalkeeper could not get to it.

Monaco boss Niko Kovac made two changes at half time, with Fabregas and Caio Henrique coming on for Willem Geubbels and Fode Ballo-Toure. The change of system and personnel worked to Monaco's advantage, as they had more control and began to carve their way back into the game.

In the 52nd minute, Volland cut PSG's lead to just one goal. Fabregas' pass to Gelson Martins was not collected by the winger, yet his effort in trying to regain possession led to the ball ricocheting off of him and Presnel Kimpembe. It fell at the feet of Volland, who had a simple tap-in.

Just shy of the hour mark, Di Maria made way for Neymar in what was the Brazilian's return from injury, but he failed to restore his team's two-goal advantage.

Monaco grabbed an equaliser in the 65th minute. A cross destined for Fabregas was controlled by the Catalan and taken away from Keylor Navas, which allowed Volland to simply fire into the empty net from a couple of yards out.

In the final 10 minutes of the match, Volland won the ball back just outside PSG's penalty area and ran into the box, at which point he was pulled back by Abdou Diallo. The referee then checked the pitchside VAR monitor and brandished a red card to Diallo. Fabregas was the player who stepped up for the penalty, and he fired a perfect shot into the top left of Keylor's goal.

Monaco would see out the match to secure the three points, which takes them up to second in the table. PSG, meanwhile, remain top, four points clear of the side from the Cote d'Azur. However, with Marseille having two games in hand over PSG, they could go level with the Parisians if they win them both.

Source: Marca and Sports Mole

 

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