European football: Leverkusen pull in Bundesliga, Lukaku sent off for Roma in draw
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European football: Leverkusen pull in Bundesliga, Lukaku sent off for Roma in draw



Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday with a 1-1 draw at fellow high-fliers Stuttgart.

Leverkusen playmaker Florian Wirtz scored a second-half equaliser as the visitors came from behind to steal a point from in-form Stuttgart and stren

They remain the only club in the league who are still unbeaten this season, having won 11 of their first 14 games.

“It’s a point which keeps both Stuttgart and Bayern at arm’s length, so it could prove to be really valuable,” Leverkusen midfielder Jonas Hofmann told DAZN.

He added that Alonso had raised his voice in the dressing room after a poor first-half showing from Leverkusen.


gthen their grip on top spot.

Alonso’s side are now four points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the table, after the champions suffered a shock 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

“He can get louder and more emotional, and he needed to be today because we really slept through the first part of the game.”

Bayern’s defeat had only increased the excitement around this top-of-the-table clash, and the game lived up to its billing in an enthralling first half.

Stuttgart pinned Leverkusen back for much of the opening exchanges, forcing a string of superb saves from Lukas Hradecky and a desperate goal-line block from Edmond Tapsoba.


Hradecky in particular was imperious, first denying Deniz Undav with a superb dive to his left and then sticking out a leg to stop Serhou Guirassy in a one-on-one.

Leverkusen remained dangerous on the break, with Amine Adli hitting the woodwork and Victor Boniface skewing a shot wide.

But Stuttgart deserved their lead when they finally broke through just before half-time.

Josha Vagnoman unpicked the Leverkusen defence with a darting run into the box from the right, before squaring the ball to an unmarked Chris Fuehrich for a tap-in.

“The best thing about the first half was that we only went 1-0 down. We were much better in the second half,” said Alonso.


‘Fair result’

Alonso’s side struck back immediately after the break, Wirtz finding the net with a brilliant first-time finish after Boniface had outmuscled Dan-Axel Zagadou on the left wing.

The equaliser turned the game on its head, and it was Leverkusen who had the better chances in the second half.

Granit Xhaka hit the post with a long-range effort, while Jonathan Tah almost snatched victory with a sweetly-timed half-volley late on.

“I think it was a fair result in the end,” said Alonso, whose side face Bayern-beaters Frankfurt next weekend.


Stuttgart, meanwhile, travel to Bayern for their second top-three clash in the space of a week.

In Sunday’s other game, both Cologne and Mainz failed to escape the bottom three after battling to a turgid 0-0 draw.

Mainz’s Jonathan Burkardt had a second-half goal ruled out for offside, while Cologne’s Jan Thielmann hit the post late on.

Yet neither side could force the winner, allowing Union Berlin to leapfrog both of them in the table after their win at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku was sent off in AS Roma’s draw with Fiorentina in Serie A. AP
Romelu Lukaku scored but was sent off in the closing minutes as Roma finished with nine men in a 1-1 draw at home to Fiorentina on Sunday in Serie A.


Paulo Dybala picked out Lukaku with a clever cross as the Belgium striker headed Roma in front in the fifth minute at the Stadio Olimpico.

Defender Lucas Martinez Quarta glanced in from Christian Kouame’s curling delivery to equalise for Fiorentina midway through the second half, just after Nicola Zalewski was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Roma were then left clinging on as Lukaku also saw red late on for a wild challenge on Kouame.

Jose Mourinho’s side reclaimed fourth place from Bologna, who had briefly moved into the Champions League spots with a 2-1 win at bottom club Salernitana.

Monza climbed into the top half of the table courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Genoa, while Frosinone and Torino played out a goalless draw.


Ligue 1: Lacazette hat-trick lifts lowly Lyon as Nice retake second

A quickfire first-half brace and late sealer from Alexandre Lacazette earned Lyon their second win of the season at home to Toulouse on Sunday, as Nice benefitted from a late goalkeeping error to beat Reims 2-1.

Lyon captain Lacazette fired his side to a 3-0 victory against 15th-placed Toulouse, allowing them to reduce the gap from safety to three points.

The hat-trick from the former Arsenal man earned Ligue 1’s bottom club an invaluable win in the race for survival against the side just above the relegation zone.

“It’s a relief to be able to score, to be useful to the team in the way that’s expected of me. It makes you feel a bit lighter,” said Lacazette.


“We’re still in the same position (last), but we’re going to take it one step at a time, stay humble and keep working.”

A saved penalty at the end of the first period had offered Toulouse a lifeline, but they did not seize it on a day that Lyon stalwarts Anthony Lopes and Lacazette showed their quality.

Lyon’s first win since the sacking of coach Fabio Grosso moved the seven-times French champions up to 10 points, just three behind their opponents.

Two goals in four minutes just before the half-hour mark sent Lyon on their way to an impressive win at the Groupama Stadium.

In the 25th minute, Lacazette opened the scoring following a Jake O’Brien header from a corner.


He then doubled the lead minutes later when Corentin Tolisso’s volley came back off the post, allowing him to a nab a poacher’s second.

The home team looked to be heading into the break comfortably ahead, until Lopes took out Gabriel Suazo in the box on the stroke of half-time.

The shotstopper immediately redeemed himself when he guessed rightly at the resulting spot-kick and plunged down low to stop Thijs Dallinga from halving the deficit.

Lyon defended stoutly in the second period and looked to have ensured a very important three points at a crucial moment in the season.

Their captain then put the icing on the cake 10 minutes from time, when he was once again perfectly positioned to pounce on a blocked shot in the six-yard box and hammer home his, and his side’s, third of the day.


Handling error gives Nice win

A late mistake from Reims goalkeeper Yehvann Diouf gave Nice a slightly lucky 2-1 win as they leapfrogged Monaco back into the top two.

Eight minutes from time and with the match poised neatly at 1-1, Diouf, who had an otherwise outstanding day, allowed a speculative shot from Ivorian forward Jeremie Boga to slide through his hands and trickle into the net.

“It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating, it annoys me, but that’s football! Just as I can make mistakes, so can the players,” said Reims coach Will Still.

Gaetan Laborde had initially put Nice ahead in the 55th minute only for Reims captain Yunis Abdelhamid to level in the 78th minute.


The victory takes Nice second, just four points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who beat Nantes 2-1 on Saturday.

They are now two points ahead of Monaco who bounced past them with a 2-1 win at Rennes, also on Saturday.

Marseille put themselves firmly back in European contention after a thrilling 4-2 win at lowly Lorient.

Chancel Mbemba and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck inside the first 10 minutes and Leonardo Balerdi scored a third in the 33rd minute for the visitors.

Lorient pulled one back four minutes before the break thanks to Romain Faivre, but the in-form Aubameyang netted again just one minute later.


Former Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy scored his first for Lorient seven minutes after half-time, but the home side could not force a comeback despite Jonathan Clauss’ red card 10 minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Clermont played out at a goalless home draw with Lille and now sit just one point above Lyon.

A 97th-minute winner from Abakar Sylla earned Strasbourg a crucial 2-1 win at home to Le Havre, moving them up to 10th place.

A Jeremy Le Douaron 75th-minute strike gave Brest a 1-0 win at Metz.



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