Napoli’s no-show, Kramaric on fire, Real on top: European football talking points


Paris (AFP) – Serie A was thrown into chaos by coronavirus, Croatia’s Andrei Kramaric surprisingly tops the Bundesliga’s goal scoring charts and Real Madrid took top spot in La Liga in the last weekend of European top-flight football before a two-week international window.

AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points from the action across the continent:

Napoli no-show

Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli are in danger of a 3-0 forfeit after refusing to turn up in Turin for Sunday’s Serie A match with reigning champions Juventus after a row over coronavirus protocol.

Napoli players Eljif Elmas and Piotr Zielinski tested positive for Covid-19 and Gattuso’s men were put into isolation but the Italian top-flight authorities insisted all the health protocols were in place for the match to safely go ahead. 

The southerners’ fate depends on a meeting of Italian league officials on Tuesday.

Clinical Kramaric

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski hit home four times in the 4-3 win over Hertha Berlin, Erling Braut Haaland claimed a double in the 4-0 victory over Freiburg but it’s Hoffenheim’s Andrei Kramaric who leads the Bundesliga’s goal-scoring charts.

Crotia forward Kramaric added a sixth to his account for the new campaign in Saturday’s loss 2-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt and joins up with his national side under pressure to continue his club performances with AC Milan attacker Ante Rebic unavailable through injury for three matches, which include a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final with France.

Mastering Madrid

Champions Real Madrid moved to the top of La Liga this weekend with their third win in as many games as Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema scored in the 2-0 victory at Levante.

Despite missing the creativity of Eden Hazard and experience of Toni Kroos through injury Zinedine Zidane’s side kept their unbeaten start to the season and claimed their third clean sheet of the campaign to remain as league leaders having played a game fewer than their current top-four rivals, Real Betis, Real Sociedad and Villarreal.

On-form Atalanta

Champions League quarter-finalists Atalanta have continued their form into the new campaign topping Serie A by scoring 13 goals on the way.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s free-flowing side are unbeaten after hammering Cagliari 5-2 on Sunday with club captain Papu Gomez leading Serie A’s goal-scoring charts — and they will have been licking their lips after seeing their future Champions League group-stage opponents Liverpool thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa.

Neymar back to it

Neymar opened his account for the new season with a double in Paris Saint-Germain’s 6-1 win over Angers on Friday after missing half of his side’s first six games of the season after contracting Covid-19 and a suspension.

After the fixture PSG’s sporting director Leonardo said neither he nor the club “appreciated” coach Thomas Tuchel’s belief the squad had been weakened since August’s Champions League final.

Tuchel complained last week the club had not done enough ahead of what promises to be an unusually demanding and compressed season.

The likes of captain Thiago Silva and striker Eric Choupo-Moting have left the French capital during the transfer window. 

The club have signed 20-year-old Italian forward Moise Kean on loan from Premier League side Everton, where he has failed to make a significant breakthrough, while experienced midfielder Danilo Pereira has come in from Porto, also on loan.

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family

Leave a Reply

Translate »