Euro: Auba makes Barca debut in win over Atleti; Dortmund thrashed at home

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench to make a winning start to his Barcelona career as his new side produced a clinical performance to beat Atletico Madrid 4-2 and move into La Liga’s top four.

Barca, who saw off the champions by scoring four goals from their only four shots on target, dominated every part of the game from the beginning and were unperturbed when Yannick Carrasco opened the scoring on the counter eight minutes into the first half.

Jordi Alba got the equaliser two minutes later with a magnificent volley from a Dani Alves cross and Gavi headed Barca in front (21) after some neat play by Adama Traore, who was making his second debut for the club following his transfer from Wolves last month.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action for Barcelona
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action for Barcelona

Ronald Araujo extended the hosts’ lead before half-time (42), striking home on the rebound from inside the six-yard box after Gerard Pique’s header hit the bar.

Alves scored their fourth right after the break (49), smashing home a low shot from the edge of the box.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone made four substitutions and former Barca striker Luis Suarez reduced the deficit (58), heading a loose ball into the net from close range.

Aubameyang replaced Traore three minutes later to make his debut before Alves spoiled his man-of-the-match performance when he was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Carrasco (69).

Despite being a man down, Barca held on to move above Atletico into fourth place in La Liga and extend their unbeaten run in the league to seven matches.

‘That’s the Barcelona we want to see’

Usually known for being rock-solid, Atletico’s defence has leaked 30 goals in 22 league games so far, five more than they conceded during their entire title-winning campaign last season.

Lacking their usual discipline and prone to mistakes, they have now let in the most goals of the top 10 La Liga sides and have won only three of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Barcelona exploited Atletico’s fragility on the flanks, with Alves and Traore both excelling for Xavi Hernandez’s much-improved side.

“Today we have seen the Barca that we want,” Alba told reporters.

“We have played with a lot of intensity, and it is a game to be very proud of in such a difficult year.”

Elsewhere in La Liga, Real Madrid extended their lead at the top to six points with a 1-0 win over struggling Granada. Marco Asensio got the game’s only goal.

Sixth-placed Villarreal beat third-placed Real Betis 2-0 thanks to goals late in either half from Pau Torres and Etienne Capoue.

Valencia‘s winless streak in the league reached five games after they were held by Real Sociedad to a 0-0 draw.

Bundesliga: Dortmund’s title hopes fade further with heavy defeat

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen

Borussia Dortmund were thrashed 5-2 at home by Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga as their hopes of catching leaders Bayern Munich slipped yet further away.

The defeat left second-placed Dortmund on 43 points, nine behind Bayern after the champions beat RB Leipzig 3-2 on Saturday. Leverkusen stayed third but reduced the gap with Dortmund to five points.

The hosts got off to a nightmare start when they fell behind to a Manuel Akanji own goal in the 10th minute, but they soon levelled when Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong also fired into his own net.

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Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig

Leverkusen restored their lead in the 20th minute through Florian Wirtz following a flowing counterattack and further increased their advantage with a sizzling free-kick from Robert Andrich in the 28th.

The visitors quickly killed off any hopes of a second-half revival from the hosts when Jonathan Tah slammed in a volley eight minutes after the interval.

Moussa Diaby compounded Dortmund’s misery by scoring the visitors’ fifth goal in the 87th minute although the hosts did manage to respond with a strike from Steffen Tigges in the 89th which was eventually awarded after a lengthy VAR review to check a possible offside.

Dortmund were missing their injured top scorer Erling Haaland and slumped to only their second home defeat in the league this season after losing to Bayern in December, having won all of their other home games in the campaign.

Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga
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Borussia Dortmund are nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich

In Sunday’s other game, Wolfsburg ended their 11-game winless streak across all competitions by beating bottom-of-the-table Greuther Fuerth 4-1 to move up to 12th.

Aster Vranckx scored a brace with Maximilian Arnold and Maximilian Philipp also on target. Branimir Hrgota scored Greuther Fuerth’s goal from the penalty spot.

Serie A: Napoli win to close gap at top to one point

Napoli moved into second place in Serie A with a 2-0 win at struggling Venezia on Sunday, as the gap between the top three teams was cut to a single point.

Goals from Victor Osimhen and Andrea Petagna in the second half ensured that Luciano Spalletti’s side took advantage of a rare slip-up by league leaders Inter Milan, who lost 2-1 to AC Milan on Saturday.

Napoli are second with 52 points, ahead of third-placed AC Milan on goal difference and one point behind champions Inter, who they face next in Naples next Saturday.

Napoli
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Napoli’s Victor Osimhen celebrates after scoring against Venezia

The race for the top four was blown wide open as fourth-placed Atalanta suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Cagliari, who climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time since September.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side went behind through a Gaston Pereiro strike before goalkeeper Juan Musso was sent off, and Pereiro scored again to win it for the Sardinians four minutes after Jose Luis Palomino had equalised.

Dusan Vlahovic and Denis Zakaria enjoyed dream Juventus debuts as the two January signings scored in a 2-0 win over Verona on Sunday, sending the Turin club two points above Atalanta into fourth place.

Serbia international Vlahovic opened the scoring with a perfectly weighted lob after 13 minutes. It was the 22-year-old’s 18th goal of the season, drawing him level with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile as the league’s joint-top scorer.

Things got even better for Massimiliano Allegri’s side after the break when deadline day arrival Zakaria sprinted forward from midfield to hammer a shot into the bottom corner.

Elsewhere, Sampdoria thrashed midtable Sassuolo 4-0 to go five points clear of the relegation zone, Bologna drew 0-0 with Empoli, and Udinese beat Torino 2-0.

Ligue 1: Nice miss chance to go second

Nice missed the chance to go second in Ligue 1 – and move into an automatic Champions League spot – when they lost 1-0 at home to struggling Clermont on Sunday.

Winger Elbasan Rashani scored for promoted Clermont in the 77th minute as Nice stayed one point behind second-placed Marseille.

The defeat means league leaders Paris Saint-Germain can move 13 points clear at the top with a win at defending champions Lille later on Sunday.

PSG drew away and lost at home to Lille last season without scoring a goal. Lille conceded only 23 goals during that campaign, but standout goalkeeper Mike Maignan’s departure to AC Milan has proved costly.

In Sunday’s other matches, Strasbourg continued their fine form by beating Nantes 1-0 at home to move into fourth spot and a Europa League place. Veteran midfielder Dimitri Lienard netted in the 73rd.

Rennes remain one back in fifth after winning 2-0 at home to Brest, with striker Gaetan Laborde and winger Martin Terrier grabbing their 11th league goals.

Reims routed Bordeaux 5-0, while the game between Troyes and Metz ended 0-0. Lorient beat Lens 2-0.