Barcelona bounce back


Barcelona produced their best display of the season to quash rumours of Llorenc Serra Ferrer's imminent departure as coach.

Playing Real Sociedad with an injury-ravaged team and on the back of a four defeats in five games, the Catalan side won 6-0, scoring all their goals in the first half. Rivaldo and Alfonso each scored twice, with Luis Enrique and Simao Sabrosa scoring the others.

The match started a vital 10 days for the troubled giants, who travel to Milan on Wednesday and Leeds the following week in the Champions League, with a home fixture against Real Madrid to come next weekend. Real also had a good weekend, beating Deportivo la Coruna 3-0.

Milan's preparations for the midweek clash were less auspicious, as they fell 2-1 at Bologna. It was the only major shock of the weekend in Italy, where Fiorentina, Juventus, Internazionale and Lazio all won at home.

Bayern Munich lost their third consecutive game against newlypromoted Energie Cottbus. The Hungarian defender Vilmos Sebok scored the game's only goal, although but for the good form of Oliver Kahn, the Bayern and Germany goalkeeper, the defeat would have been more comprehensive. Werder Bremen scored twice in the last two minutes to hold Bayer Leverkusen to a 3-3 draw.

Paris St Germain moved to the top of the French league by beating Marseille 2-0 on Friday, their sixth successive home win and only their second victory over the south-coast side in 10 years. But John Toshack made a losing start to his French coaching career when Sedan beat his St Etienne side 2-1 on Saturday night.

Juventus defeated Bari 2-0 yesterday to go provisionally top of Serie A after two rounds of games on a day where atrocious weather conditions played their part.

On Saturday defending champions Lazio had drubbed Perugia 3-0 while Inter Milan, under the charge of new coach Marco Tardelli for the first time, defeated Napoli 3-1 at the San Siro. Robbie Keane started the match but was replaced by Uruguayan striker Alvaro Recoba.

Juventus' achievement was all the more remarkable as they had several players struck down by illness - notably Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi - but their new front pairing of Frenchman David Trezeguet and Yugoslav Darko Kovacevic soon made an impact.

The match between Brescia and Parma was a disappointing goalless draw.