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European roundup: Barcelona slump to home defeat against Real Betis | European club football


Barcelona were stunned by Juanmi’s late goal for Real Betis that secured a 1-0 win in La Liga and ended home coach Xavi Hernandez’s honeymoon at the club as he suffered his first defeat since coming back to the Camp Nou three weeks ago.

It was Betis’ first win at Barça in more than three years and took them up to third place with 30 points, six points behind leaders Real Madrid who play later on Saturday at Real Sociedad. Barcelona are languishing in seventh on 23 points.

With Barca’s decisive Champions League match away to Bayern Munich coming up on Wednesday, Xavi rested three of his most important players – Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele – but the decision backfired.

Betis were dangerous on the counter-attack and Juanmi, who earlier had a goal disallowed by VAR for a close offside call, struck a clean finish past keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen after fine build-up play by Sergio Canales and this one did count.

Milan had a comfortable 2-0 win over Serie A’s bottom side, Salernitana, thanks to early goals from Franck Kessie and Alexis Saelemaekers. The Rossoneri dominated at San Siro to gain a victory that sent them provisionally into first place on 38 points, two clear of second-placed Napoli, who host Atalanta later in the day. Milan’s points tally of 38 is their highest after 16 league games since 2003-04, when they won the title.

Kessie guided a finish into the bottom corner after five minutes and Saelemaekers struck after 18 minutes to give the hosts a comfortable lead. Saelemaekers showed his support for his injured teammate Simon Kjær, who was ruled out for six months on Friday after knee surgery, by running to the bench and lifting the Dane’s shirt to celebrate his goal.

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Patrik Schick scored four times in 27 minutes as Bayer Leverkusen crushed Greuther Fürth 7-1 to make it three wins in a row and climb into third place in the Bundesliga. The 25-year-old Czech striker took his season tally to 12 league goals after scoring all of his four goals in a remarkable second half performance, to stretch Leverkusen’s unbeaten run to four consecutive league games and lift them to 27 points.

Bayern Munich, on 31, and Borussia Dortmund, a point behind the leaders in second, play each other later on Saturday.

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