Barcelona stumbled to a 1-1 draw at home to Alaves on Saturday in their first match since the sacking of coach Ronald Koeman.
Barca’s third consecutive La Liga game without a win left them ninth in the standings, eight points behind leaders Real Madrid.
After a cagey first half, Dutch forward Memphis Depay put Barcelona ahead four minutes after the interval with a fine strike from outside the penalty area.
The lead lasted only three minutes, however, as Alaves winger Luis Rioja conjured up an excellent equaliser, playing a neat one-two with Joselu before rounding Barca ‘keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to score.
Barcelona suffered another setback when striker Sergio Aguero was forced off late in the first half due to injury ahead of their Champions League clash at Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Vinicius Junior took over the scoring duties from Karim Benzema by netting twice to help Real Madrid win 2-1 at 10-man Elche and move to the top of La Liga.
Vinicius opened the scoring with a 22nd-minute strike. After Elche midfielder Ral Guti was sent off for a second booking, the Brazilian winger then put the result beyond doubt in the 73rd.
Elche substitute Pere Milla pulled one back with four minutes to play.
The 21-year-old Vinicius once again showed his much-improved finishing. The double took his tally in all competitions to nine in 14 appearances this season, compared to six goals in 47 outings in 2020-21.
Real Sociedad are level on points with Real before hosting Athletic Bilbao in a Basque Country derby on Sunday. After that, Real will still have a game in hand.
Elsewhere, goals either side of half-time from Diego Carlos and Lucas Ocampos helped Sevilla beat Osasuna and move them level on 24 points with Real.
Bundesliga: Bayern Munich bounce back
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski scored twice to lead Bayern Munich to a 5-2 victory at Union Berlin on Saturday as the German champions bounced back from their shock midweek German Cup exit to stay top of the league table.
The Pole struck with a 15th-minute penalty and then hammered in a free-kick for his 12th goal of the campaign, with Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman and Thomas Muller also on target in a rollercoaster encounter and Union’s first home loss of the season.
The Bavarians, who stunningly lost 5-0 to Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday in their heaviest German Cup loss ever, moved up to 25 points.
But their backline, that proved so vulnerable against Gladbach, was again far from solid, angering ‘keeper Manuel Neuer, who made a string of good saves as Union kept attacking.
“We obviously wished for such a start and it really worked well in the beginning,” Neuer said. “The two goals we conceded are frustrating.
“But we are satisfied that we managed to show a different performance today.”
Borussia Dortmund did not need many chances and scored once in each half to beat Cologne 2-0 with an efficient display that kept them a point behind leaders Bayern.
Dortmund, missing more than half a dozen players through injury including top scorer Erling Haaland, squandered a couple of golden early opportunities to captain Marco Reus but Thorgan Hazard did better in the 40th minute.
Jude Bellingham delivered a superb chip into the box and the Belgian timed his run to perfection to head home.
Steffen Tigges added another for the hosts in the 64th minute, heading in a corner to give them a two-goal cushion with his first Bundesliga goal, much to the relief of the 67,000 fans in the stadium.
High-flying Freiburg stayed third with a 3-1 win over last-place Greuther Furth, and Wolfsburg defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 away in Florian Kohfeldt’s first game as coach. Also, Mainz won 2-1 at Arminia Bielefeld.
Serie A: Juventus misery continues
Juventus‘ miserable start to the Serie A season continued as they lost 2-1 at Hellas Verona, with an early double from Giovanni Simeone dropping Massimiliano Allegri’s side to ninth in the standings.
Giovanni Simeone, eldest son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, scored four in last weekend’s 4-1 win over Lazio, and he added two more goals inside 14 minutes in Veneto.
The first was a poacher’s finish from close range and the second was a sensational, dipping effort from distance to stun a static Juve defence.
Allegri rang the changes in the second half as he looked to turn things around, with one of his substitutes — American Weston McKennie – firing home 10 minutes from time.
The visitors could not find an equaliser, however, as they slipped to their second league defeat in four days to stay 13 points behind leaders Napoli having played one game more, while Verona climbed to eighth with a deserved victory.
Ligue 1: Lyon weather Lens storm to go fifth
Lyon hung on for dear life in the second half to claim a 2-1 home win against second-placed RC Lens and move up to fifth in the Ligue 1 standings on Saturday.
After opening up a 2-0 lead in a clinical first half thanks to goals by Karl Toko Ekambi and Houssem Aouar, Lyon then struggled and Lens pulled one back through Arnaud Kalimuendo.
They now have 19 points from 12 games and trail Lens by two points. Leaders Paris Saint-Germain have 31 points after beating champions Lille 2-1 on Friday.