European roundup: Martinez hat-trick inspires Inter ruthless comeback as Eberechi Eze’s wonder goal downs the Blades.

Inter Milan opened their account of the new year with an impressive 6-2 home victory over Crotone on Sunday. The fight for the scudetto is becoming intense and Antonio Conte’s men are leaving no stone unturned in their hunt for the title they last claimed a decade ago. The second-bottom team, Crotone took a shock 12 th-minute lead through Niccolo Zanellato but Romelu Lukaku sent his strike partner Lautaro Martinez through to level eight minutes later, before Luca Marrone’s own goal put Inter in front. A Vladimir Golemic penalty then levelled matters up again before the interval.

Martinez grabbed a brace with a brilliant 57th-minute strike after Marcelo Bronzovic laid him up superbly. It turned to a rout when Lukaku’s strength and composure over the Crotone defenders freed up space for the striker to slot in the 4 th of the afternoon. The Argentinian completed his treble 12 minutes from time, before Achraf Hakimi’s late curler made it six to round up an incredible comeback – leaving Inter second on the standings with 36 points, only one point behind league leaders AC Milan.

Elsewhere in Italy, Atalanta thrashed high-flying Sassuolo 5-1, a rampant victory for Atalanta after they rained 23 shots at their visitors. In another territory, Naples were on the verge of seeing their big-money signing, Victor Osimehen in action once again after dislocating his arm on International duties for Nigeria, before he flaunted the covid-19 regulations and contacted the deadly virus.

However, that proved no trouble for Gennaro Gattuso’s men as two fantastic Piotr Zielinski goals steered Napoli to a 4-1 win over Cagliari. In Turin, Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and created another as Juventus got back to winning ways in Serie A with a 4-1 victory over Udinese on Sunday, moving the champions up to fifth in the standings.

Absolute top-class finishes, stiff rivalry, unprecedented dramas are what keep Premier League been special. Here, Eberechi Eze mezmerised fans across the globe with his glorious solo goal as Crystal Palace eased past Sheffield United at Selhurst Park. Also, Manchester were in a delightful state on New Year Day when Bruno Fernandes – who won Manchester United Player of the Month Award for December – slotted in a second half penalty thanks to a foul committed on Paul Pogba to ensure a 2-1 victory against Aston Villa. The Red Devils are now firm favorites in the title race following an impressive 10-matches unbeaten run that put them level on points (33) with Liverpool at the summit of the log.

Amazing scenes at St Mary on Monday Night. Danny Ings notched his 50th Premier League goal when his early goal secured a vital victory for Southampton against Liverpool. A big blow for the Champions as their winless streak extends to 3 games vis-à-vis mounting pressure on them in the race for the English crown.

In London, it seems Frank Lampard is losing the plot at Chelsea. At the moment, the blues are deficient in attack, lack confidence overall and the porosity in defense have left an indelible mark on them. They will not be making any amendment of any sort against City and as such, a covid-hit City secured an emphatic 3-1 victory over lackluster Chelsea at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Ikay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De bruyne fantastic goals. Callum Hudson-Odoi netted an injury-time goal for the Blues but it proved only to be a consolation.

In the Spanish capital, Real Madrid retook top spot in La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday night. Lucaz Vazquez and Marco Asensio grabbing one goal, one assist apiece, sealed the deal for the Los Blancos at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, but it will only take Athletico Madrid 24 hours to reclaim top spot in the league as Luiz Suarez stoppage-time goal ensured the Rojiblancos take all 3 points away in the contest against Deportivo Alaves.

Barcelona edged La Liga’s basement club Huesca 1-0 on Sunday courtesy of a Frankie de Jong goal created by Lionel Messi in the Argentine’s 500th appearance for the club. The Dutch midfielder De Jong arrived at the far post to meet a Messi cross and score on the volley in the 27th minute – a goal that served as the match winner in an encounter with a defensive-inclined Huesca team. Real Sociedad awful form in the last six outings continues. This time they had to settle for a draw against Osasuna as Andes Barrentxea’s goal shortly after the start of the second half cancelled Osasuna’s Jonathan Calleri’s strike in the twentieth minutes.

A host of mouthwatering fixtures in the Bundesliga had everyone glued to enjoying the contests as it unfolds. Soon, resurgence, increased momentum, heartbreak were embedded in the unfolding outcome. Jadon Sancho ended his goal drought for Dortmund this season as he netted a late goal to hand Dortmund a 2-0 victory over VFL Wolfsburg. But that would not be his only contribution in the game, thus, Dortmund took the lead through a Sancho’s corner headed in by Swiss defender Manuel Akanji in the 66th minute. They then wrapped up all three points deep into the closing stages as Emre Can’s clearance fell into the path of Sancho, who slotted the ball beyond Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels.

In Munich, German champion Bayern Munich recovered from a 2 goal deficit in the first half to inflict a punishing defeat on Mainz 05 at Allianz Arena. Mainz 05 took the lead through Jonathan Bukardth minute after the half our mark before they added another right on half time via Alexander Hack’s exquisite header. The host stepped up their intensity in the second half and respond with an emphatic 5 goals. Much applaud to star man Robert Lewandoski for his two trademark goals in the last quarter of the game — Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane and Niklas Suele also got on the scoresheet in the 7 goals triller. The result evacuated RB Leipzig from the top seat, who earlier claimed top spot following a narrow 1-0 win at Stuttgart on Saturday.
Elsewhere in Germany, Nigeria’s Taiwo Awoniyi continue to grow momentum as his 2 goals contribution (one goal, one assist) was enough to give Union Berlin a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen, who had a goal on the stroke of half time ruled out by VAR for offside. Union Berlin seat fifth in Bundesliga, trailing the top 4 by one point and the Nigeria’s striker has been instrumental in the team’s recent succes with a 6 goals contributions in all (5 goals and 1 assist).

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