Barcelona get much-needed boost with win over Levante

European round-up: Paulo Dybala scores as Juventus beat Sampdoria 3-2 in Turin

Barcelona’s Ansu Fati celebrates scoring against Levante at Camp Nou in Catalonia. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

Barcelona’s Ansu Fati celebrates scoring against Levante at Camp Nou in Catalonia. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

 

La Liga: Goals from Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong and the returning Ansu Fati helped Barcelona claim a much-needed 3-0 home victory over Levante.

The victory, Barca’s first in their last four games in all competitions, moved the Catalans up to sixth in the table with 12 points from six games, five behind league leaders Real Madrid, who have played one more.

The 18-year-old Fati, who came on as an 81st-minute substitute before scoring Barca’s third goal, was making his first appearance since suffering a serious knee injury last November.

“I couldn’t have imagined a comeback like this,” Fati said. “I’m so thankful to the doctors and physios who have been with me throughout all of this, and to the fans who have been unbelievable as well.”

Having been held to frustrating draws by lowly opposition in their last two league games, Barca were quick out of the blocks and went ahead after six minutes as Depay converted a penalty.

They doubled their advantage just before the quarter-hour as De Jong latched on to a Sergino Dest through ball before finishing past Aitor Fernandez in the visitors’ goal.

Levante rarely looked like troubling Ronald Koeman’s side, who are low on confidence, and they were indebted to Fernandez, who made a couple of smart stops to keep the scoreline respectable as a dominant Barca pushed on in search a third.

It finally came in the 91st minute as Fati capped his comeback appearance with a wonderful strike from distance.

Serie A: Paulo Dybala scored a superb goal before leaving the pitch in tears with an injury as Juventus beat Sampdoria 3-2 in Turin, their first home victory of the Serie A season.

Paulo Dybala after scoring against Sampdoria for Juventus. Photograph: EPA
Paulo Dybala after scoring against Sampdoria for Juventus. Photograph: EPA

The Argentina international fired a low shot into the bottom corner after 10 minutes but limped off soon after with a muscular problem.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said after the game that Dybala and his strike partner Alvaro Morata, who also went off injured, are “certain” to miss Wednesday’s Champions League clash with European champions Chelsea and Saturday’s Turin derby against Torino.

“We hope to have them back after the international break, but this is part of the game,” Allegri told Sky Italia. “Now it happens to us, later it could happen to someone else. We will need to be good to make up for the absences.”

Allegri’s side climbed to ninth place in the table on eight points, three points clear of 14th-placed Sampdoria but eight adrift of league leaders AC Milan.

Leonardo Bonucci doubled Juve’s advantage from the penalty spot before Maya Yoshida quickly pulled one back for Samp, stretching the home side’s run without a league clean sheet to 20 games.

Manuel Locatelli scored his first goal for the Bianconeri in the second half, but Antonio Candreva’s late strike meant Juve had a nervy ending before claiming their second consecutive league win.

“It was fundamental to win today and we won. We say things in the dressing room that stay there, but now we must continue like this,” Locatelli said. Juventus won their first league game at the fifth attempt against Spezia on Wednesday.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.