There were considerable helpings of relief for some of Europe's biggest names this weekend and not least Manchester United FC, for whom Robin van Persie struck a hat-trick to grasp a sensational victory from the jaws of defeat. Real Madrid CF and Paris Saint-Germain FC were similarly grateful as they claimed their maiden league victories this season, while VfB Stuttgart were probably relieved to hear the final whistle as they lost 6-1 to inspired Bundesliga top dogs FC Bayern München. UEFA.com recaps the action.
Van Persie earned plenty of plaudits with a thrilling hat-trick as Manchester United – trailing 2-1 with four minutes to go – fought back to win 3-2 at Southampton FC. The Netherlands forward, who also had a penalty saved, racked up his 100th Premier League strike in the process, in manager Sir Alex Ferguson's 1,000th league game at the club. "I have to say a big thank you to Paul Scholes," explained Van Persie afterwards. "Every single pass he hit was the right one. It was unbelievable." Elsewhere, the 29-year-old's former team Arsenal FC registered their first victory this term, prevailing 2-0 at Liverpool FC, while Manchester City FC beat Queens Park Rangers FC 3-1 and Tottenham Hotspur FC drew 1-1 with Norwich City FC.
FC Barcelona showed no signs of losing momentum following their Spanish Super Cup reverse as Adriano secured a 1-0 success at home to Valencia CF that gave the Liga leaders nine points from three outings. That is five more than Madrid, although the defending champions – and Super Cup winners – at least managed a first championship triumph this term, beating Granada CF 3-0 in the capital thanks in part to a Cristiano Ronaldo double. "The team didn't play badly, but I want more," Merengues coach José Mourinho said afterwards. "We had little time to prepare during the week but we must be in top form." Elsewhere, Levante UD staged a rousing 3-2 comeback win against RCD Espanyol and RCD Mallorca saw off Real Sociedad de Fútbol 1-0.
Three teams boast two victories from their first two Serie A fixtures including champions Juventus, who made light work of ten-man Udinese Calcio to seal a 4-1 away success, Sebastian Giovinco scoring twice. "This shirt's a different thing entirely when compared to the others I've worn, but that's something I already knew," said the diminutive forward, back for his second spell at the club. "It was important to win today and send out a message." Also on six points are SSC Napoli, who edged ACF Fiorentina 2-1 in Naples, and S.S. Lazio, 3-0 victors at home to US Città di Palermo. Meanwhile, AC Milan prevailed 3-1 at Bologna FC but FC Internazionale Milano slumped to a 3-1 home reverse at the hands of AS Roma.
Bayern are beginning to look like the team to beat in the Bundesliga this season after subjecting Stuttgart to a punishing 6-1 loss, having initially fallen behind. "When my team went 1-0 down, they woke up and responded," explained Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "After that, we played an outstanding game. You can see that the players enjoy playing football." The result left Bayern as one of only two sides still possessing a perfect record alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, who swept aside hosts TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 4-0 – also the scoreline as Hannover 96 triumphed at VfL Wolfsburg. Champions Borussia Dortmund could only draw 1-1 at 1. FC Nürnberg, on the other hand.
Paris Saint-Germain have their first Ligue 1 success of the season at the fourth time of asking after Zlatan Ibrahimović found the net twice to help his side earn a 2-1 win at LOSC Lille, his opener coming with just 27 seconds gone. "It's a great win against an in-form team," commented PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. "It was important to put all the work we've done this week to good effect." Olympique de Marseille continue to hold sway at the top of the standings, though, as they made it four wins from four by downing visitors Stade Rennais FC 3-1, André-Pierre Gignac notching his third strike this term, while Olympique Lyonnais overcame Valenciennes FC 3-2.
FC Lokomotiv Moskva sealed local bragging rights in Russia after Roman Pavlyuchenko scored in their 2-1 home victory over FC Spartak Moskva, who dropped a place below their rivals. Fresh from their 9-0 UEFA Europa League play-off triumph in midweek, PSV Eindhoven flexed their goalscoring muscles again by firing five past AZ Alkmaar, though they remain three points behind table-topping FC Twente who posted a fourth consecutive win. Óscar Cardozo struck twice against CD Nacional as SL Benfica continue to set the pace in Portugal, while Club Brugge KV stay at the summit in Belgium after condemning R. Standard de Liège to a 4-2 defeat.
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