European soccer news: Man United and Brentford woe, and more

The 'remarkable' mistake that led to VAR error in Spurs vs. Liverpool (1:41)

Dale Johnson explains the sequence of events that led to Luis Díaz's goal being incorrectly disallowed vs. Tottenham. (1:41)

Welp, another weekend of European football is over and, as is usually the case, it was a good one. Or bad one if you're a fan of Manchester United or Liverpool. But it was at least an interesting one.

Saturday produced enough talking points to solve the energy crisis, as both Manchester United and Manchester City lost, Tottenham overcame Liverpool in controversial fashion, and Real Madrid thumped Cinderella story Girona to take top spot in LaLiga.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich fought back for a valuable point at RB Leipzig, and on Friday night, a longtime Real Madrid star helped his rivals, Barcelona, to victory against Sevilla.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Sunday didn't offer quite the same level of match-ups, but there were some notable results, including a pair of thrilling comeback wins for Atletico Madrid against Cadiz in LaLiga and Manchester United against Aston Villa in the Women's Super League. Add in Brentford being unable to beat Nottingham Forest despite being up a man, plus a surprising Lyon loss in Ligue 1, and it was still an intriguing way to cap off the weekend.

Here is your look back at all the fun from Sunday and Saturday.


The Sunday lead: A thrilling comeback for Atletico Madrid proves they're the real deal

Atletico Madrid bagged three wins this one, and Sunday's was the most dramatic of the lot.

No, it wasn't as emotionally significant as last weekend's 3-1 derby victory over Real Madrid, or as physically demanding as Thursday's 2-0 win at Osasuna. But Sunday's 3-2 comeback against Cadiz at the Metropolitano -- fighting back after going 2-0 down inside half an hour -- means Atletico's early-September wobble has been forgotten and leaves them fourth in LaLiga, five points off leaders Real with a game in hand.

The comeback was led by Ángel Correa, scorer of Atletico's first and third goals -- the third a brilliantly worked team move, a reminder that this Atletico team are capable of playing seriously good football -- and another eye-catching midfield display from Saúl Ñíguez, who finally looks like becoming the player he once was, after three years in the wilderness. It's now four assists for Saul this season.

Atletico Madrid vs. Cadiz - Game Highlights

Watch the Game Highlights from Atletico Madrid vs. Cadiz, 10/01/2023

Coach Diego Simeone praised his "humility," saying his form was reward for months of hard work on the training ground.

Atletico's recent form has been hard to decipher -- they won 7-0 at Rayo Vallecano, but then lost 3-0 at Valencia -- but these three consecutive wins suggest they're on the right track. Even the absences of Álvaro Morata and Memphis Depay on Sunday couldn't hold them back, with Correa, so often Atletico's unsung hero, stepping up.

Now they'll look to get a first Champions League win of the season against Feyenoord on Wednesday, before another major test, hosting Real Sociedad in LaLiga next weekend. -- Alex Kirkland

Sunday talking points around the leagues

10-man Nottingham Forest draw Brentford in lone Prem game

Sunday's lone Premier League game, between Nottingham Forest and Brentford, offered plenty of fizz but little follow-through as the two mid-table teams fought to a credible 1-1 draw.

A first half of genuine promise elicited just two actual shots on target between both teams, with Yoane Wissa a constant menace for the visitors in particular. Matt Turner continued his run of games between the Forest posts and nearly got humbled when Wissa got a foot on his casual pass out from his own six yard box.

Yet there was little the USMNT international could do when a free kick -- won by a foul that reduced Forest to 10 men, after Moussa Niakhate felled Wissa with a boot to the Achilles -- curled into the box was deftly nodded home by Christian Norgaard.

To their credit, Forest fought back almost immediately as the impressive Nicolás Domínguez skidded a header of his own off the underside of the crossbar. Yet honors were shared despite several chances for both sides in the final 10 minutes in an expected result.

Forest shouldn't feel great about it, really -- their home form was what kept them in the top flight this season, with 30 of their 38 points coming in their backyard. Back to back home draws with Burnley and Brentford isn't an ideal return, especially with tougher opponents ahead.

With 30-plus minutes up a man, Brentford can't feel great about the draw either. -- James Tyler

Man United stay the course to dig out WSL stoppage time winner

It was a new season in the Women's Super League but a familiar story for Aston Villa who, despite leading at home to Manchester United, surrendered all three points in stoppage time, just as they had back in April. This time for Villa, it was a 2-1 loss on Sunday.

With WSL referees encouraged ape their Premier League counterparts, the cards were handed out with regularity from Rebecca Welch, who wasted no time in showing a straight red to Kirsty Hanson when she caught Hayley Ladd with a high-boot late in the day. Reduced to ten, rather than shrinking back, Aston Villa pressed forward and found the opener moments later when Rachel Daly swept the ball inside of Man United goalkeeper Mary Earps' near post.

Having been a rock at the back on her WSL debut, goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar finally surrendered a goal when United's Lucía García fired home in the melee at a corner just three minutes after Daly's strike.

The ghosts of last season and defeats at the hands of the Red Devils came back to haunt Villa when, in the second minute of the ten added on at the end of the game, Rachel Williams, whose late goals had been a feature for United last term, nodded the winner past a rooted van Domselaar.

The win was no less than the visitors deserved on the balance of play, United out-shooting Villa 24 shots to nine over the course of the game, with United manager Marc Skinner able to go to his bench time and again to add more to the attack through the 90.

For Villa, who routinely feel like they're looking to the right pace for a marathon rather than a sprint, there will be far more to come over the course of the season but the immediate worry is the suspension for Hanson who was a key part of the attack last campaign. -- Sophie Lawson

Another Ligue 1 game, another league defeat for Lyon

Watching Fabio Grosso looking absolutely deflated on the Lyon bench on Sunday afternoon in Reims made you wonder if the Italian coach was asking himself why on earth he went for the job two weeks earlier.

For his second game in charge, l'OL were beaten again, this time by Reims in a game where they managed to create zero big chances. After losing in Brest, the Lyonnais were in shambles again and are back at the bottom of the table.

They sit in 18th place with just two points after seven matches with three goals scored and 13 conceded. They don't look like a football team and even if they have mitigating circumstances -- Alexandre Lacazette is suspended, Dejan Lovren and Paul Akouokou injured -- the current state of this club has to be really worrying.

There is no clear direction, no identity in Lyon. The new owner, John Textor, is totally lost as are the people in put in key positions within the organisation. Their next two matches are at home to Lorient and Clermont before travelling to Marseille for the Olympico. These two home games are must-win matches -- otherwise the atmosphere around this team will become even more toxic. -- Julien Laurens

News of the day

  • Despite a recent squabble between Victor Osimhen and Napoli, the player said on Sunday that his love for his club is "unwavering." The controversy started Tuesday when the club's official TikTok account posted and then deleted a video mocking Osimhen, which prompted his agent to respond that he "reserves the right to take legal action" against the club. "The People of Naples have shown me so much love and kindness, and I will not allow anyone to come between us," Osimhen said in a statement posted on social media on Sunday.

  • WSL defending champions Chelsea kicked off the 2023-24 season with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Spurs looked lively at the start, but it was Chelsea that opened the scoring when Mia Fishel rose above her marker to nod Niamh Charles' dinked cross beyond Rebecca Spencer. Chelsea added another via Lauren James, who volleyed home after a ball was cleared off the line by Tottenham's Ashleigh Neville.

  • The two VAR referees involved in Luis Díaz's incorrectly disallowed goal in Liverpool's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday were removed from remaining fixtures this weekend. Liverpool, meanwhile, put out a statement on Sunday saying the club "acknowledges" the referees acknowledged the error, but added: "We fully accept the pressures that match officials work under but these pressures are supposed to be alleviated, not exacerbated, by the existence and implementation of VAR."

'Who does that help now?!' - Klopp fumes at PGMOL statement after VAR mistake

Jurgen Klopp reacts to the VAR mistake that meant Luis Díaz's goal was incorrectly disallowed vs. Tottenham.

And finally, on Sunday...

A blazingly fast hat trick for Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez -- no, not that Luis Suarez, the other one who plays for Almeria -- scored the third-quickest hat trick in LaLiga in this 21st century era of the league.

Suarez scored three times for Almeria against Granada over a mere five minutes and 25 seconds. He did start the game, so he has been on the field for about 40 minutes before the hat trick, but the goals started flowing in the 41st, 44th and 45+1 minute.

Unfortunately, Suarez couldn't do everything for Almeria and they drew Granada 3-3. -- Caitlin Murray

Almería vs. Granada - Game Highlights

Watch the Game Highlights from Almería vs. Granada, 10/01/2023

Missed the action on Saturday? Keep reading for all the talking points.


The Saturday lead: Rashford form emblematic of Man United's struggles

You can argue that after losing their fourth league game of the season to Crystal Palace, Manchester United's problems extend beyond Marcus Rashford, though the England forward's form is becoming a worry. He got 30 goals in all competitions last season and was rewarded with a lucrative new contract over the summer, but so far this term he has managed just one.

Rashford's season so far was summed up neatly vs. Palace. With United desperately chasing an equaliser midway through the second half, manager Erik ten Hag decided to replace him with Christian Eriksen. Having started in his favourite position on the left, Rashford had already been moved to the right when Alejandro Garnacho came on.

Garnacho did far more in half an hour than Rashford managed in 77 minutes, and when Ten Hag comes to pick his team for the Champions League clash against Galatasaray on Tuesday, the Argentina winger should be one of the first names on the team sheet. On current form, he's United's best attacking player.

Ten Hag has got problems to solve at Old Trafford, and it's reaching the point where the Dutchman is running out of excuses. The same is probably true of Rashford, who needs to start playing his part if United are going to turnaround their campaign. -- Rob Dawson

Saturday talking points around the leagues

Sergio Ramos is Barcelona's saviour vs. Sevilla

Sergio Ramos would not have imagined being a match winner for Barcelona when he returned to LaLiga in the summer, but that's exactly what he was on Friday. The Sevilla defender scored the only goal of the game, turning into his own net in the 76th minute after 16-year-old Lamine Yamal had headed the ball back across the box.

It was just the third own goal Ramos has scored in LaLiga -- the other two were against Sevilla for Real Madrid -- and it was warmly welcomed by the home support at the Olympic Stadium. "Ramos" chanted the Barça fans having previously jeered their old clásico rival's every touch.

The goal meant three points for Barça as they bounced back from a midweek draw at Mallorca to remain unbeaten this season and maintain the pace with early league leaders Real Madrid and Girona.

Xavi Hernandez's side were good value for the win, too. João Félix had earlier rattled the woodwork and Robert Lewandowski was denied on a couple of occasions. The downside was an injury to Raphinha. The Brazil forward joins Frenkie de Jong and Pedri on the sidelines until at least the October international break with a hamstring problem.

This was also an improved performance from Sevilla, who came closest through former Barça midfielder Ivan Rakitic, but it was not enough to leave with any points. They remain in the bottom half of the table after a slow start to the season. -- Sam Marsden

Manchester City wobble without Rodri, lose at Wolves

Saturday saw something we don't see very often these days: a Manchester City defeat. That it came with manager Pep Guardiola exiled to the stands following a one-match touchline ban, and influential midfielder Rodri serving his suspension following a red card against Nottingham Forest, is no coincidence. If anything, it hints at the one true weakness this superclub must endure these days: that they boast only one of each.

With Mateo Kovacic and Kalvin Phillips both trying, and failing, to emulate Rodri in a reworked midfield and Matheus Nunes enduring a limp half of football against his former club before being withdrawn, City looked far less stable and capable. There's a world in which these absences wouldn't have mattered -- City had 23 shots on goal across the 90 minutes, with Jérémy Doku squandering six of them -- but Wolves took an early lead via a Rúben Dias own goal and bunkered in, resolutely swatting away anything that came near the penalty area.

Then, after Julián Álvarez smacked home a free kick to make it 1-1 around the hour mark and primed us all for the inevitable flurry of City goals, Wolves seized on a perfect counterattack to lead just eight minutes later, with Matheus Cunha coolly teeing up Hwang Hee-Chan for the winning goal. (Kyle Walker, bravely putting his head in front of the shot on the goal line, nearly got enough noggin behind the ball to knock it clear.) In a game of fine margins, City had little response over the final 15 minutes as Wolves clung on for just their second league win of the season.

Guardiola and Rodri will obviously return, as will City's all-conquering form, but this was a rare chastening moment and, perhaps, a bit of inspiration for the other title hopefuls. -- Tyler

Aston Villa's sweaty-shirt-gate

It's the topic that's been on everyone's lips: just why do the Villa players look like they've gone for a swim mid-match?

As has been discussed, the Villa home kit simply does not breathe properly, and instead of pushing the sweat through the material, it clings to it instead, making the shirts in turn cling to the players. Anyone who's been caught in inclement weather knows how uncomfortable it can be to keep peeling a shirt off your skin, and any distractions like that can impact the marginal gains needed to win games.

Although it clearly wasn't an issue for the men's team who trounced Brighton 6-1 early on Saturday, in the run-up to their first Women's Super League game of the season, it is a concern that's been echoed by the women's team ahead of Sunday's match.

Speaking to the media ahead of the season opener against Manchester United, manager Carla Ward reiterated that her focus had been on preparing for the game ahead, with the matter in the hands of the club and Castore (their kit manufacturer), mentioning "a genuine care from the football club" that is palpable to the players as they've kept an open line of dialogue and "constant communication of how can we help the players and make them feel better."

While discussions are ongoing behind the scenes, Villa women -- like their male counterparts -- will take to the Villa Park pitch this weekend in their current kits, hoping their attire is not the main talking point after the game. -- Lawson

Real Madrid back on top, ending Girona's unbeaten run

Real Madrid's trip to Girona on Saturday was supposed to be a make-or-break test for Carlo Ancelotti's side against a team who went into the weekend as surprise, unbeaten LaLiga leaders. Instead, it was resolved in four first-half minutes.

A moment of extraordinary quality from Jude Bellingham -- impersonating Luka Modric to cross with the outside of his boot for Joselu to finish -- put Madrid in front, before Aurélien Tchouaméni's header from Toni Kroos' delivery made it 2-0. The game was over as a contest long before Bellingham added a well-taken third in the 71st minute, his sixth league goal of the season.

The comprehensive 3-0 win completes a satisfactory week for Real, who bounced back from last Sunday's Madrid derby defeat to Atletico with six points from two games -- while rivals Barcelona dropped points in midweek -- to return to the top of the LaLiga table. Bellingham starred again with a goal and that imperious assist, while Joselu once again showed that while he may not be Real Madrid's ideal No. 9, his goals -- four so far, this the first away from home -- will be essential. And Vinícius Júnior played a useful, if subdued, 68 minutes as he continues his comeback from injury.

Nacho Fernandez's needless late red card, in the midst of a defensive injury crisis, was the only bad news. It leaves Antonio Rüdiger as Madrid's only available senior centre-back. -- Kirkland

Leipzig fail to finish Bayern off as champs roar back for a draw

As we head into the spookiest month of the year, one punctuated by Halloween and scary movies, there's something as inevitable as Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger when it comes to watching Bayern Munich. Try as you might to impede them, finish them off or escape their assault, they simply can't be denied.

The latest proof of this came Saturday in the marquee game of the Bundesliga weekend: a late-afternoon visit to Red Bull Arena and the challenge of RB Leipzig. Of all the teams in Germany, Leipzig are the closest to a magic weapon against Bayern's unrelenting talent, having won twice and drawn once in their past four encounters heading into this weekend. That sense of hoodoo showed in a dizzying first half in which Leipzig surged into a 2-0 lead at the break, with Loïs Openda beating Sven Ulreich via a hefty deflection off Kim Min-Jae and Castello Lukeba finishing from close range just six minutes later.

But then came Bayern, halving the deficit 10 minutes into the second half after Ben Henrichs' extended arm blocked a free-kick and led to a penalty, which Harry Kane calmly snuck beyond Janis Blaswich. From there, it seemed inevitable there'd be an equalizer rather than a third Leipzig goal, and sure enough, Leroy Sané made it 2-2 after a fine run and through-ball from Jamal Musiala, who looks like he's back to full fitness.

A point is still something worth celebrating if you're Leipzig or Bayern, especially this early in the season, but Bundesliga teams need to make sure that if they get a lead on the Bavarians, they keep it. -- Tyler

Debut loss for Gattuso at Marseille

As debuts come, it was hard to make it more difficult for Gennaro Gattuso. The new Marseille manager has been at the club for three days and three training sessions, and he had to take his team down the road to Monaco for a hot derby against one of the best teams in Ligue 1 so far this season.

If the Italian was smiling after 31 seconds and his side's first goal, scored by Iliman Ndiaye (his first one since joining the club), his frustration was visible at the end after yet another defeat, this time 3-2. L'OM lost against a better team. They lost despite leading twice, and they lost because once again, they were not strong enough defensively while not being efficient enough in front of the opposition goal.

When you struggle so much in both boxes, you can't expect much in a game of this calibre. The rivalry between the two clubs is massive and you could see how much this victory meant to the Monaco players, fans and staff, especially a week after losing another derby, against Nice, 1-0.

It means Monaco and Adi Hutter are back at the top of the table after PSG's disappointing draw at Clermont (0-0) and before Brest's game at Nice on Sunday. As for Gattuso, he has already moved on to the next game: Brighton away in the Europa League on Thursday. It's another massive challenge for him without much time to prepare. -- Laurens

News of the day

Where does this 'underwhelming performance' leave Ten Hag?

Rob Dawson reacts to Manchester United's 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

And finally ...

Wrexham came from behind three times, including in stoppage time, as they claimed a 3-3 draw to Crewe Alexandra despite playing much of the match with 10 men.

Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds' Wrexham went a goal down on 25 minutes when Crewe's Mickey Demetriou broke the deadlock, and their task was made harder 10 minutes later when they saw a red card handed to winger Ryan Barnett for a mistimed tackle.

Paul Mullin levelled the scores on 40 minutes with an improvised overhead kick, but Crewe restored their advantage on the stroke of half-time through a penalty from Chris Long.

Mullin netted again just two minutes after the restart, but a goal from Shilow Tracy midway through the second half put the visitors ahead for a third time. However, Wrexham remained in the contest and managed to rescue a point when replacement forward Steven Fletcher netted a 96th-minute header -- his first goal since joining the club on a free transfer earlier this month. -- Tyler