Weekend football review
AFTER dominating the headlines for the entire week, the Manchester derby lived up to its billing as Pep Guardiola drew first blood in the battle with rival Jose Mourinho at the weekend.
There is little difference between the MultiChoice Diski Challenge and the Absa Premiership in terms of the goal conversion rate. The PSL Reserve League produced 18 goals from 8 matches while 16 goals from 7 matches were scored in the opening week of the top tier.
In Spain, Barcelona suffered a shock defeat while Real Madrid continued their successful start following the return of Cristiano Ronaldo from injury.
In Germany, Joel Pohjanpalo scored a quickfire hattrick to power Bayer Leverkusen to a resounding win, and defending champions Bayern Munich carried on where they left off last weekend.
MANCHESTER IS BLUE Pep Guardiola grabbed the city bragging rights against rival Jose Mourinho as Manchester City deservedly won an absorbing Premier League derby 2-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Kevin de Bruyne, who was never appreciated by Mourinho when they were at Chelsea together, proved instrumental in City’s magnificent win, scoring the opener and making the second for Kelechi Iheanacho before halftime.
In what was the match of the weekend, Jose Holebas sealed a superb comeback by Watford on Saturday as they came from 2-0 down to beat West Ham 4-2 and secure their first win of the Premier League campaign.
The Hammers had looked in control after Michail Antonio scored with two headers. However, Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney began the fightback, and then Etienne Capoue gave them the lead in the second half before Holebas added a fourth to present the Hornets with only their third win in their last 16 league matches.
On Sunday Diego Costa scored twice, including an 81st-minute equaliser, as Antonio Conte maintained his unbeaten start to life as Chelsea manager in a 2-2 draw at Swansea City. The goal was Costa’s fourth in as many games.
BARCA STUNNED, REAL WIN Newly promoted Alaves stunned Spanish champions Barcelona by winning 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday as boss Luis Enrique paid a heavy price for starting Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the bench.
Barca now trail Real Madrid by three points at the top of the table after Cristiano Ronaldo took just five minutes to score on his return from a two-month injury layoff in a 5-2 rout of Osasuna at the Bernabeu.
Enrique made seven changes from their last outing – a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao two weeks ago – with Messi recovering from a groin problem and Suarez rested following his exertions in World Cup qualifying with Uruguay.
Antoine Griezmann handed Atletico Madrid a much-needed first win of the season in a 4-0 victory at Celta Vigo.
Koke met Griezmann’s fine cross eight minutes into the second half in Vigo to give the visitors the lead before the Euro 2016 top scorer headed home his first two goals of the season in the final 20 minutes.
REALITY CHECK FOR CAPE CITY After starting their season with a bang, new boys Cape Town City were given a sobering reality check by Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 semifinal first leg at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Eleazar Rodgers, Elias Pelembe and Gabadinho Mhango ensured that Wits claimed a 3-0 win against Cape City. Eric Tinkler’s charges began their life in the PSL with victory in a league opener against Polokwane City, before going on to eliminate Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 quarterfinals.
In another semifinal, Chippa United and Mamelodi Sundowns played to a goalless draw in the MTN8 semifinal first-leg game played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Sunday afternoon.
The Chilly Boys went into the encounter looking to grab a first-leg advantage, while the Brazilians were gunning for an away victory.
MORE SHOCKS IN DISKI Defending champions Golden Arrows got their MultiChoice Diski Challenge campaign underway with a 1-1 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday.
Veluyeke Zulu’s 29th minute strike was cancelled out by Shadrack Kobedi in the 55th minute to deny the holders maximum points on the opening day of the season.
With their senior team struggling to find form early in the season, Kaizer Chiefs reserves suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Bidvest Wits, who ironically defeated Amakhosi in the Absa Premiership opener.
Ajax Cape Town welcomed new boys Baroka FC in the harshest of the ways as they clobbered the Limpopobased club 3-0 at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium. New boys Cape Town City, who have taken the top tier by storm, also opened their Diski season with a 1-0 win over SuperSport United.
Zipho Dlangalala got his Orlando Pirates reserves coaching career off to a flying start as they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 thanks to a Grant Peters second-minute strike.
LEVERKUSEN CRUISE, BVB CHOKE
RB Leipzig stunned Bundesliga title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund 1-0 on Saturday to claim the club’s first win in the German top flight, while Joel Pohjanpalo scored a stunning hat-trick in Bayer Leverkusen’s 3-1 defeat of Hamburg.
Earlier, US international Bobby Wood gave Hamburg the lead just before the hour against Leverkusen at the BayArena, but the introduction of Finland striker Pohjanpalo on 72 minutes swung the game dramatically in the home side’s favour.
The 21-year-old, who scored on his Bundesliga debut last month, equalised for Leverkusen within seven minutes of his arrival, but was far from done as he netted twice more in stoppage time to hand Roger Schmidt’s side their first points of the season.
On Friday, Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich struck late goals in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win at Schalke as teenage Portugal star Renato Sanches made his debut for the Bavarian giants.
HART MAKES SERIE A DEBUT Francesco Totti came off the bench to hit a late winner from the spot as Roma moved to within two points of leaders Juventus after a rain-interrupted 3-2 win over Sampdoria on Sunday.
Napoli sit in second place, also two points behind Juve, following a 3-0 rout of Palermo on Saturday when Jose Callejon added a brace to Marek Hamsik’s 47th minute opener.
Elsewhere, England goalkeeper Joe Hart conceded twice on his Torino debut as Atalanta secured a 2-1 win in Bergamo.
Hart, deemed surplus to requirements by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, completed his move to unfashionable Torino on a season-long loan deal two weeks ago.
In Sunday’s late game Inter Milan had Mauro Icardi to thank for a second-half brace that secured their first win of the season in a 2-1 defeat of new boys Pescara.— Supersport.