Euro round-up: Suarez the hero for Atletico, Inter move top

Luis Suarez hit two late goals as Atletico Madrid hit back from behind to sink struggling Getafe 2-1 and climb back to the top of La Liga.

Still without a point this season, the hosts grabbed a shock lead when Atletico keeper Jan Oblak fumbled the ball over his own line on the stroke of half-time.

Getafe were reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute when Carlos Alena was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Suarez pounced to level four minutes later.

And the Uruguayan star struck in injury time when he headed home from a Sime Vrsaljko cross to seal the points.

Fellow veteran Radamel Falcao also struck late as Rayo Vallecano ended Atletico Bilbao’s bright start to the season with a 2-1 win at San Mames.

Alvaro Garcia’s opener for the visitors was cancelled out by a Pathe Ciss own goal, but substitute Falcao struck deep into injury time when he powered home a header from a Bebe free-kick.

Iago Aspas and Brais Mendez grabbed the goals as Celta Vigo claimed their first win of the season with a 2-0 success at Levante.

Serie A

Edin Dzeko celebrates his goal for Inter at Fiorentina
Edin Dzeko celebrates his goal for Inter at Fiorentina

Inter Milan moved back to the top of Serie A as they came from behind to win 3-1 at Fiorentina.

Riccardo Sottil put the hosts in front midway through the first half, but Matteo Darmian and Edin Dzeko struck in the space of four second-half minutes.

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Fiorentina had Nico Gonzalez sent off for dissent and Ivan Perisic grabbed his side’s third to seal the points 12 minutes from time.

Robin Gosens and Davide Zappacosta scored early as Atalanta maintained their solid start with a 2-1 win over Sassuolo, who replied through Domenico Berardi, while Genoa twice came back from behind to draw 2-2 at Bologna.

Nerazzurri Fans Shouldn’t Be Disheartened by Real Madrid Defeat

First thoughts after the Champions League loss to Real Madrid weren’t great. Los Blancos are a transitioning team, which makes them vulnerable. Plus, the Galacticos they do have aren’t firing on all cylinders if you exclude Karim Benzema.

A home win for Inter would set out the Nerazzurri’s stall and make a statement – Romelu Lukaku may have been sold, but don’t underestimate this side. A late winner for Madrid negated that and led most supporters to believe that a long, hard Champions League campaign lays ahead. However, it’s wrong to jump to conclusions based on a single fixture.

The Group of Delight

There are easier groups. Real Madrid may not be the team of old, but they are still dangerous. The bookies quote them as 18/1 to win the tournament outright. Inter, by comparison, are a substantial 50/1 with the Champions League betting odds in the same market. Of course, most fans don’t expect to be European champions in 2022.

They do expect exciting football and a deep run into the competition, which Group D provides. Firstly, Simone Inzaghi’s men understand the risks of underestimating opponents after finishing bottom of as group last term that included two similar clubs. Secondly, the introduction of the Moldovan team, Sheriff Tiraspol makes the task less daunting. And, finally, Shakhtar Donetsk appear weaker than usual after they were soundly beaten 2-0 in their opening tie.

Even if Madrid are too good for Inter, the door is wide open for the black-and-blues to make it out of Group D and qualify for the knockout rounds. Once that happens, anything is possible.

Strength in Depth

Lukaku has gone and there’s nothing the club can do about it other than start the rebuilding process. The good news is, there is a lot of money to spend on a squad that is already pretty healthy. Sure, it can be better and, hopefully, it will be, yet it’s arguably strong enough to compete in Serie A and Europe.

The attacking options at Inzaghi’s disposal showcase this to a tee. Lukaku was part of a wonderful partnership that included Lautaro Martínez, who hasn’t gone anywhere. Edin Dzeko, a striker with a proven pedigree, has arrived from Roma and Joaquin Correa has an eye for goal. He scored two on his debut against Verona.

Frankly, and the Serie A top goalscorer betting market agrees because all of them are among the top 12 favourites, there is enough firepower to go toe-to-toe with most sides in Europe. That’s without Alexis Sanchez who can change a game from the bench.

More Belief

Last season’s Champion League campaign was a disaster. Without Lukaku, it’s tempting to assume that Inter’s opportunities will be reduced. But it isn’t necessarily the case. For one thing, finally clinching the Serie A title in May will have given the team a tremendous lift.

Not only that, but the management has only sold a couple of integral players other than Lukaku, such as Achraf Hakimi and Ashley Young. The majority of the squad is the same, with a few experienced winners thrown in for good measure.

This is important because the mentality of the team will be different. The players go into games knowing that they belong at the top level. This belief may be the difference between a largely successful season in Europe and the club’s previous dismal attempt.

It’s not the start anyone hoped for, but there’s no need to be negative right away. This Inter squad has a lot going for it, like potentially going deep in the 2021-22 Champions League.

Lukaku: I was in a deep hole at Man Utd

Romelu Lukaku says Inter Milan got him out of a “deep hole” at Manchester United and admits he was only ever going to leave the Serie A champions for Chelsea.

The Belgian striker made the move to Italy in 2019 after a tough final few months at Old Trafford where he fell out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Sky Sports Premier League

He rediscovered his goalscoring form at San Siro as his 64 goals in 95 appearances propelled Inter to a first Serie A title in 11 years and earned him a £97.5m move back to Stamford Bridge – which he admits was a head-turner.

“I was only going to leave Inter Milan for Chelsea,” Lukaku told HLN. “Kids love Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United. And Chelsea for me, everyone knows what Chelsea means to me.

“If they ask me, why would I say no? I only realised that Chelsea was serious at the third offer. So it was €100m (£85m), then it was €105m (£90m), and then it went to €110m (£94m). Then I knew, this is truly serious.

“I was in a deep hole at Man United. I didn’t want to go behind Inter’s back.

“So after training I went to [Inter boss Simone] Inzaghi’s office. I didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere because I was no longer with my head in Milan. So I asked him: please find an agreement.”

AP: Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku says he was in a “deep hole” in the final few months of his Old Trafford stay

Lukaku originally joined Chelsea in 2011 at just 18 years of age but after one season was shipped out on loan to West Brom and then Everton, where he secured a permanent move in 2014.

Having rejoined the club 10 years later, the 28-year-old has settled in quickly and scored on his second debut against Arsenal in August, and is adamant Thomas Tuchel’s style of play suits his game.

“The first two training sessions, that intensity was so high that the first two or three days I had a bit of a scare,” Lukaku said. “But two days before the match we had a training session where I scored two goals and I thought yes.

“The team is looking good, the coach is looking good, I love the system that we play because it’s the same system as here [with Belgium], only the emphasis is different. For me it’s fantastic because I play in a team that dominates.”

Correa dream start: Hellas 1-3 Inter

Striker Erling Haaland fired a stoppage-time winner to give Borussia Dortmund a thrilling 3-2 win over Hoffenheim on Friday that lifted them to the top of the Bundesliga standings.

Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric hit the woodwork with a third-minute shot and his team-mate Oliver Baumann pulled off a great save to deny Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna as the game started at a frantic pace.

It was a sign of things to come as Dortmund withstood a barrage of crosses early in the second half before mounting an attack down the left that ended with Reyna firing home the opening goal with a bouncing shot to Baumann’s left.

Jude Bellingham celebrates his strike
Jude Bellingham celebrates his strike

Hoffenheim kept up the pressure and drew level in the 61st minute when Dennis Geiger found Christoph Baumgartner with a great ball in behind the defence, and the winger drove his shot across the ‘keeper and into the net.

Undeterred, Dortmund went ahead again eight minutes later as Jude Bellingham controlled a loose clearance on his thigh just inside the box before lashing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 2-1.

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Sky Sports Football HD

Munas Dabbur thought he had snatched a point for Hoffenheim with a goal in the final minute of normal time, but Haaland smashed a loose ball into the top corner a minute later to send the home crowd into raptures.

Dortmund held on until the referee blew the final whistle in the 98th minute to go top the table on six points, ahead of Wolfsburg on goal difference, having played one more game.

Serie A: Correa shines on Inter debut

Substitute Joaquin Correa had a debut to remember as his late double earned Inter Milan a 3-1 win at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Friday.

Correa, who only completed his loan move to the Serie A champions from Lazio on Thursday, came off the bench to fire Inter 2-1 ahead seven minutes from time before adding a fine third in stoppage time to seal the win for his new side.

The visitors looked out of sorts in the first half and fell behind after Ivan Ilic capitalised on a poor pass from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic before finishing well in the 15th minute.

Inter wasted no time in getting back into the contest after the break, with Lautaro Martinez heading his first goal of the season less than two minutes into the second half to level things up.

Simone Inzaghi’s side looked like they would have to settle for a point until Correa entered the fray, earning his side their second victory from two matches at the start of the new season with two brilliantly-taken goals.

Ligue 1: Dembele hands Lyon first win of new season

Lyon claimed their first win of the Ligue 1 season when Moussa Dembele’s first-half goal helped them to secure a 1-0 win at Nantes on Friday.

Dembele found the back of the net after some nice work in the area by Lucas Paqueta as Peter Bosz’s team moved up to sixth with five points after four games.

They finished with 10 men after Damien Da Silva was sent off 12 minutes from time but showed some defensive steel to grab all three points.

Nantes, who had chances before half-time, are 10th on four points.

Lyon went ahead on 35 minutes after Paqueta’s strike was parried by ‘keeper Alban Lafont into the way of Dembele, who poked the ball home to give the visitors a deserved advantage.

Jean-Charles Castelletto came close to equalising two minutes later but Anthony Lopes pulled off a brilliant save to maintain Lyon’s lead.

The Portuguese ‘keeper was at it again just before half-time when he tipped Sebastien Corchia’s free-kick over the bar.

Lyon controlled the second half although they had a scare in the closing stages after Da Silva picked up a second yellow card for elbowing Ludovic Blas.

Leaders Paris Saint-Germain travel to Reims on Sunday with new signing Lionel Messi expected to make his Ligue 1 debut.

La Liga: Valencia and Mallorca go top

Valencia had no problems beating Alaves 3-0 to win two straight home games at the start of the Spanish league season for the first time in seven years.

Daniel Wass scored three minutes into the match, and Carlos Soler and Gonalo Guedes added a goal each at Mestalla Stadium.

Elsewhere on Friday, Real Mallorca beat Espanyol 1-0 for its second win in a row, with Dani Rodrguez scoring the winner in the 27th minute after Espanyol’s defenders failed to clear the ball inside the area.

Friday’s win left Valencia top of the standings with seven points from three matches, along with Mallorca, ahead of the rest of this weekend’s games.

CL draw: Inter again on Real and Shakhtar

Pep Guardiola will be reunited with Lionel Messi – with whom he won two Champions League titles – after Manchester City were drawn to play Paris Saint-Germain in this season’s group stage.

The two clubs are joined in Group A by RB Leipzig and Belgian champions Club Brugge.

Chelsea – who beat Manchester City in last season’s final to lift their second Champions League trophy – will play Juventus, as well as Russian champions Zenit and Swedish champions Malmo.

N'Golo Kante is among a cohort of Chelsea players who shone in the Champions League last season
Chelsea lifted the Champions League in May after a 1-0 win over Man City in Porto

Liverpool have been drawn into a tough Group B, where they will take on three-time runners-up Atletico Madrid, seven-time winners AC Milan and two-time winners Porto.

Manchester United face a rematch with Villarreal, who beat them on penalties in the final of last season’s Europa League. Also in Group F are Atalanta and Swiss champions Young Boys.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona – who have won 11 Champions Leagues between them – headline Group E. Barcelona will be competing in the competition without Messi for the first time in 17 years.

Also in Group E are Benfica and Ukrainian title-winners Dynamo Kiev.

Real Madrid – who have won the competition a record 13 times – will take on Italian champions Inter Milan, as well as Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff Tiraspol, who are the first Moldovan side to compete in the Champions League.

Group C contains Portuguese champions Sporting, Borussia Dortmund, four-time Champions League winners Ajax and Besiktas.

Emery kisses the Europa League trophy in Gdansk
Villarreal beat Man Utd on penalties in the Europa League final in Gdansk last season

In Group G, French title winners Lille face Sevilla, Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg and Wolfsburg.

The group stage begins on September 14 and 15, with the final being held in St Petersburg on May 28.

Champions League group-stage draw

Group A: Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge

Group B: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, AC Milan

Group C: Sporting, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas

Group D: Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sheriff Tiraspol

Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev

Group F: Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta, Young Boys

Group G: Lille, Sevilla, Red Bull Salzburg, Wolfsburg

Group H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit, Malmo

The Champions League final was last staged at Wembley back in 2013
The final will be held in St Petersburg on May 28, 2022

When will the matches be played?

Matchday one: September 14/15

Matchday two: September 28/29

Matchday three: October 19/20

Matchday four: November 2/3

Matchday five: November 23/24

Matchday six: December 7/8

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