Neymar scores 4 times in Spain; Bayern remains perfect
MADRID (AP) Neymar helped Barcelona fans forget the absence of the injured Lionel Messi on Saturday by scoring four goals in the Spanish league, while Cristiano Ronaldo settled for one as Real Madrid went provisionally top of the standings.
The top teams in the Premier League all won, while Bayern Munich became the first team to start the Bundesliga with nine straight victories.
Here’s a look at the top European leagues on Saturday:
Neymar thrived to help Barcelona recover from an early deficit at the Camp Nou. He converted two first-half penalty kicks and added two other goals in the second half before setting up Luis Suarez’s score in a 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano.
Earlier Saturday, Ronaldo set up a goal and scored another in a three-minute span to lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 win over Levante.
The results left the Spanish powerhouses provisionally atop the league standings with 18 points from eight matches, with Madrid ahead on goal difference. Villarreal is two points behind but can regain the lead when it hosts fourth-place Celta on Sunday.
”I’m very happy because of the victory and because of the way we played,” the 23-year-old Neymar said. ”It’s never easy to play against a quality team like Rayo. We did our job and it was a great victory.”
Chelsea and Manchester United bounced back from disappointing losses with impressive wins in the Premier League on Saturday.
Diego Costa, returning from a three-match suspension for violent conduct, put the defending champions ahead against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, before defender Alan Hutton scored an own goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 win.
The victory helped ease pressure on Jose Mourinho after his side’s faltering start to the season, including a 3-1 loss at home to Southampton in the last round.
United won 3-0 against Everton at Goodison Park, with Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney scoring in an emphatic response to the 3-0 defeat against Arsenal two weeks ago.
Manchester City stayed in first place after Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick in a 5-1 win over Bournemouth, while Arsenal is two points back in second after a 3-0 win at Watford.
New Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Tottenham in his first game in charge.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at Bastia to keep its confidence high ahead of its Champions League meeting with Real Madrid.
PSG didn’t have a shot on target in the first half but Ibrahimovic, who had an earlier goal rightly disallowed for offside, struck in the 72nd and 83rd minutes.
”It’s a good result, we won a tricky match,” Ibrahimovic said. ”Wednesday’s match against Real will be completely different, we will be playing at home against one of the best teams in the world, it will be nice to play. Now we can focus on that, and we are ready.”
Saturday’s win kept PSG five points ahead of Angers after the newly promoted side came from behind to win 2-1 at Toulouse.
Caen was also on 21 points after beating Reims 1-0.
Thomas Mueller’s first-half strike gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday as the German champion became the first team to start the Bundesliga with nine consecutive victories.
Mueller scored his ninth of the season in the 24th minute when he ran past the static Bremen defense for Thiago Alcantara’s clever ball, then eluded the goalkeeper with his first touch and slotted inside the post with his next.
The victory, Bayern Munich’s 999th in the Bundesliga, restored the team’s seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, which beat Mainz 2-0 Friday.
Daniele De Rossi marked his 500th game for Roma with a goal as he helped the capital side beat Empoli 3-1 on Saturday, while AC Milan’s struggles continued with a 1-1 draw at Torino.
Two set pieces in three second-half minutes undid Empoli as Miralem Pjanic scored with a free kick before sending in a corner for De Rossi to double Roma’s lead.
Mohamed Salah sealed the result 10 minutes later. Marcel Buchel netted a consolation for Empoli with his first goal for the club.
”It was undeniably a great night,” De Rossi said. ”When you win it’s always a perfect one and then, if I score, which I don’t do very often, I am even happier.”
Roma, which has now scored 12 goals in its last three league matches, moved provisionally second ahead of Sunday’s Derby d’Italia between Inter Milan and Juventus.