Bologna go second in Serie A as coach ignites comeback from hospital bed


Milan (AFP) – Bologna moved second in Serie A on Sunday after a thrilling 4-3 comeback win over promoted Brescia inspired by coach Sinisa Mihajlovic who gave instructions from hospital as he undergoes a second round of chemotherapy for leucaemia.

“At the end of the first half we heard Mihajlovic’s anger on the phone and this shook us,” said Bologna forward Rodrigo Palacio.

“We talked to him before the game, for us it is very important and we miss him. We play like this thanks to his mentality.”

Sunday’s game was the first the 50-year-old Mihajlovic has missed despite his condition.

A quick-fire Alfredo Donnarumma double saw Brescia — playing their first home match in eight years — lead after 19 minutes.

Mattia Bani headed Bologna back into the game on 36 minutes, with the visitors trailing 3-1 before Brescia were hit by Daniele Dessena’s sending off for a second yellow card just after the break.

Bologna came back with goals from Palacio on 56 minutes, Stefano Denswil four minutes later and a Riccardo Orsolini’s winner ten minutes from time.

Mihajlovic’s side, who finished tenth last season, are now two points behind Inter Milan and ahead of champions Juventus on goal difference after three games.

Elsewhere Duvan Zapata struck deep into injury time to rescue a 2-1 win for Atalanta over Genoa ahead of his side’s Champions League debut, as Lazio fell to their first defeat of the season by the same scoreline at SPAL.

Colombian international Zapata rifled in on 95 minutes after Genoa captain Domenico Criscito had pulled the hosts level from the spot four minutes earlier.

The side from Bergamo had been ahead after Colombian substitute Muriel’s 64th-minute penalty awarded when Genoa’s new defender Cristian Zapata fouled his cousin Duvan Zapata. 

But amid the late drama Genoa were awarded a controversial penalty after Christian Kouame went down easily following a Berat Djimsiti challenge.

“It seemed to be over with the penalty, but we wanted that win,” said Zapata. 

“The ball came to me and I put everything into it.”

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are now sixth before they travel to Dinamo Zagreb for their first ever Champions League game next week.

“Finding victory after they equalised at the end of the match is a good sign,” said Gasperini. 

Lazio suffered their first defeat this season as they sat back following Ciro Immobile’s 17th-minute penalty against SPAL.

Jordan free-kick fires Sevilla to top of La Liga


Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla moved to the top of the early La Liga table on Sunday as Joan Jordan’s brilliant free-kick helped them seal a 1-0 win at Alaves.

Julen Lopetegui’s side continued their excellent start to the campaign, remaining unbeaten and moving a point clear of Atletico Madrid, who lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad on Saturday, at the summit.

It was a first defeat of the season for Alaves, who slipped to 11th in the standings.

Lopetegui, who joined Sevilla for his first job since being sacked in quick succession by both Spain and Real Madrid, saw one of his close-season signings produce the game’s defining moment.

Midfielder Jordan, who arrived at Sevilla from Eibar for a reported 14 million euros ($15.62 million), curled home a wonderful free-kick in the 37th minute which flew into the top corner to give him his second goal of the season.

The visitors comfortably saw out the match to claim their third league win this term, as Alaves failed to muster a shot on target.

Sevilla host Real Madrid next Sunday in a meeting of two sides yet to taste defeat.

Real claimed a 3-2 win over Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, when reigning champions Barcelona eased to a 5-2 victory against Valencia, with 16-year-old Ansu Fati scoring inside two minutes.

Freiburg crush Hoffenheim to leapfrog Bayern


Berlin (AFP) – Bundesliga minnows Freiburg continued their dream start to the season as goals from Nils Petersen, Janik Haberer and Christian Guenter fired them to a 3-0 victory at neighbours Hoffenheim on Sunday.

The win leaves Freiburg in third and sees them leapfrog perennial champions Bayern Munich, who were held to a 1-1 draw at league leaders RB Leipzig on Saturday.

Freiburg were ruthless in the first half and deserved their two-goal lead at the break. 

Guenter swept in the opener after a darting run in from the left wing on 11 minutes, and Petersen had a goal ruled out for offside shortly before the half hour mark. 

Haberer doubled the lead on 38 minutes, picking out the bottom corner brilliantly from the edge of the area. 

Hoffenheim, who had shown only flashes of danger in the first half, were caught napping when an unmarked Petersen poached the third goal on the hour mark.

Freiburg have now won three of their opening four games, with only Bayern and Borussia Dortmund having managed to score more goals. 

In Saturday’s later game, promoted side Paderborn look to pick up their first win of the season when they host David Wagner’s Schalke. 

Wilson hands Everton more away day blues at Bournemouth


Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Callum Wilson scored twice as Bournemouth curbed early season optimism over Everton’s prospects with a 3-1 win on Sunday.

The England international took advantage of some sloppy defending from the visitors to head home the opener from close range, but Everton levelled before half-time through Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

The Toffees have spent big again this summer in a bid to challenge the established ‘top six’ for a European place, but will need to improve on the road to do so.

Ryan Fraser’s driven free-kick restored Bournemouth’s lead 23 minutes from time via a deflection off Fabian Delph before Wilson’s cool finish to lob international teammate Jordan Pickford made the game safe.

Everton have now picked up just one point from three away games this season after also failing to win at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

Victory takes Bournemouth above their opponents on goal difference with both sides on seven points from their opening five games.

Alaba to miss Champions League clash with thigh injury


Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich full-back David Alaba is set to miss out on Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Red Star Belgrade after picking up a thigh injury, the club confirmed Sunday. 

Alaba, 27, was pulled out of the starting line-up just before kick-off in Bayern’s 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig on Saturday after getting injured in the warm-up.

On Sunday, the club announced that the Austrian international had torn a muscle in his left thigh, and said he would be out of action “for the time being”. 

Alaba, who won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013, has become a senior figure in the Bayern dressing room following the departures of veteran players such as Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben last season. 

His absence forced Niko Kovac to shuffle his defence as Bayern missed a chance to go top of the Bundesliga against Leipzig on Saturday. 

New signing Lucas Hernandez filled in for Alaba on the left while Jerome Boateng took Hernandez’ position in central defence.