Barcelona held by newly promoted osasuna

Ansu Fati
Ansu Fati (second from right) came on at half-time and scored six minutes later

Barcelona were held by promoted Osasuna as 16-year-old Ansu Fati became the champions’ youngest La Liga goalscorer.

Roberto Torres gave Osasuna the lead early on with a sweet volley from Brandon’s cross.

Fati came on at half-time for his second Barca appearance and headed in Carles Perez’s cross six minutes later to equalise.

Perez then set up Arthur to put Barca ahead with a 16-yard shot but Torres equalised with a late penalty.

That kick was awarded after Gerard Pique handled Oier’s cross.

“We did not play well at all, we were awful,” said boss Ernesto Valverde.

“They went ahead and we couldn’t get close to their area. Then we dominated the play in second half, we took the lead and had the game in our hands but they came back at us and levelled with that absurd penalty.

“We cannot afford to let a game like this one slip, we should have been more assertive on the pitch and kept on attacking.”

Who is Fati?

Winger Fati has been with Barcelona’s youth academy since 2012. He was born in Guinea-Bissau but moved to Spain at the age of six with his family.

He has not played for the country of his birth at any level, and Spanish media claim that Spain want to call him up to their youth teams.

Fati was the youngest player to make his Barca debut since 1941 when he came on last Sunday, with 12 minutes remaining, in a 5-2 win over Real Betis.

And this time he was brought on at a crucial point – when Barcelona were behind – and he got them level with a towering header from Perez’s cross.

At 16 years and 304 days, he is the third youngest player to ever score in La Liga – after former Malaga player Fabrice Olinga (16y, 98d) and Athletic Bilbao’s Iker Muniain (16y, 289d).

Barca’s worst start since 2008

Barcelona really missed star forward Lionel Messi, who is yet to play this season because of a calf injury, in another disjointed performance.

They lost on the opening day to Athletic Bilbao before coming from behind to beat Betis last weekend.

After their draw with Osasuna, they have collected just four points, their worst return from three games since 2008-09. However, they went on to win the league that season under Pep Guardiola.

David Silva
David Silva volleyed in Manchester City’s second just 93 seconds after Gabriel Jesus’ opener

Champions Manchester City narrowed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Two weeks on from a surprise defeat by Wolves, Pep Guardiola’s side made a blistering start to proceedings but had to wait until the 39th minute for the breakthrough to arrive, as Gabriel Jesus met Bernardo Silva’s cross with a clever, flicked header.

It took just 93 seconds for David Silva to double the advantage, the Spaniard allowing Raheem Sterling’s delightful chipped pass to drop over his shoulder before volleying past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Hennessey produced quality saves to deny both Bernardo Silva and Jesus twice apiece as City were prevented from running riot, but Christian Benteke’s powerful header struck the crossbar as the hosts failed to capitalise.

As City sought to extend their lead in the second half, the video assistant referee (VAR) upheld referee Anthony Taylor’s decision not to award a penalty after Wilfried Zaha and Kevin de Bruyne collided in the Palace penalty area.

Guardiola’s side return to second in the table following Leicester City’s earlier victory over Burnley, five points behind leaders Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp’s side set to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday (16:30 BST).

City overcome Selhurst test

Beaten 2-0 by Wolves before the international break, Guardiola’s side arrived at Selhurst Park having lost two of their previous four league games and desperate not to concede further ground to leaders Liverpool.

Roy Hodgson’s in-form Eagles, last beaten at home in the league by City themselves back in April, promised to provide a tricky assignment. It was, ultimately, one they overcame with relative ease.

Setting up without any recognised centre-backs – midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri lining up centrally between wing-backs Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Mendy – the visitors launched wave after wave of attack but were initially frustrated by Hennessey.

Jesus was unable to direct Kevin de Bruyne’s excellent cross on target within the opening five minutes, while Bernardo Silva’s curled effort – bound for the top-corner – was met by Hennessey’s fingertips as the visitors peppered his goal with 11 first-half attempts.

Striker Jesus was given the nod ahead of Sergio Aguero, who was involved in a car crash on his way to training on Wednesday, and the Brazilian repaid his manager’s faith with a moment of quality to score the crucial opener.

Offering Guardiola much food for thought, Jesus has now scored in each of his last seven starts for City – and 21 times in his last 20 games when starting in all.

While Silva’s exquisite finish from Sterling’s equally delicate pass before half-time suggested the flood gates had opened, City were uncharacteristically unable to add more goals as Jesus and Sterling both passed up glorious second-half opportunities.

That did not matter. Despite their recent inconsistency, two quick-fire first-half goals were enough to extend their impressive away record to 11 victories from their past 12 in the top flight – and a favour from cross-city rivals United on Sunday would a big help as the champions look to get back on track.

No joy for Palace despite Hennessey’s best efforts

Indicative of the impressive, yet somewhat under-the-radar, start Palace have made to this campaign, Roy Hodgson’s side began this match with the potential to leapfrog their opponents in the table and climb into the top four after nine games.

The hosts were therefore expected to make life rather uncomfortable for Guardiola’s stuttering side, but despite Hennessey’s superb efforts they were unable to take advantage of the champions’ makeshift defence.

There were unconvincing moments at the back for City, with Wilfried Zaha offering a capable threat on the counter, but their best opportunities did not arrive until the closing stages.

Hennessey touched the ball more than any of his team-mates in the opening half an hour, his initial invincibility suggesting his side could add to their tally of three clean sheets in four home matches this term.

It was, forgivably, two moments of quality that unravelled Hodgson’s best laid plans.

The Eagles, who had won back to back league games, enjoyed a promising final period, however Ederson was equal to what they could offer – most notably keeping out Zaha’s powerful strike from close range and tipping Benteke’s effort onto the bar – but Palace remain sixth despite the defeat.

Men of the match – Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace) & Ederson (Man City)

‘We still have our hat pegged nicely’ – what they managers said

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: “After the international break, to play here at Selhurst Park and create a lot of chances was good. We played well but didn’t score too many – but we didn’t concede. We conceded chances at the end but Ederson made two incredible saves. It’s three points and we move forward.

“We enjoyed the second goal – it was nice. But in the Premier League we have to score the third and fourth because it was difficult in the end with the pressure.

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson: “They were two very good goals, they had had a lot of possession and they had been pushing us back. I am pleased and proud of the way the players did not drop their heads. I take a lot of comfort from that.

“We are not in a bad place and we are not in a much worse place after today’s game. We could have been if we had collapsed. We have still got our hat pegged nicely in place and we have to accept sometimes we will come across a team as good as they were today.

On goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey’s performance: “He was excellent, absolutely excellent. I was pleased because he’s had to wait for his chance because Vicente Guaita has been so good. He has been working hard in the background to show us he’s still a good goalkeeper and he showed us that today.”

Jesus hits 50 – the stats

  • Manchester City have won 12 of their 14 away Premier League games in 2019 – at least three more than any other club.
  • In all competitions, City have won 16 of their last 19 meetings with Crystal Palace, scoring 47 goals.
  • Gabriel Jesus scored his 50th goal for Manchester City in all competitions.
  • Jesus has been directly involved in 58 goals in his 64 starts across all competitions for Manchester City.
  • David Silva has been directly involved in eight goals in his last seven league starts against Crystal Palace.
  • Raheem Sterling has 13 goals and seven assists in 16 appearances for Manchester City and England combined in 2019-20.
  • Crystal Palace have lost 10 home league games since the start of last season. Of ever-present Premier League sides in that time, only Burnley and Newcastle have suffered more such defeats on home soil.
Andy Murray
Andy Murray recorded his 40th Davis Cup victory before Dan Evans lost Great Britain’s second singles rubber
2019 Davis Cup finals
Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid Dates: 18-24 November
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from Wednesday, 20 November; Live text coverage on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Great Britain’s opening tie at the Davis Cup finals will go down to a pivotal doubles rubber after Dan Evans lost to Dutchman Robin Haase in Madrid.

While that may not have been the contributing factor for a sluggish first-set performance, there was a lack of match sharpness as he found the big-hitting Griekspoor hard to handle.

The 23-year-old Dutchman may have only won two ATP Tour matches in his career but they came against three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka and Russian world number 17 Karen Khachanov, illustrating his capability of causing problems for the very best.

Eleven aces and some impressive first-serve statistics in the mid-80s rocked Murray in the first set, before the Scot showed signs of improvement in the second – although far from his best – to level the match.

Twice Murray looked beaten in the final set, trailing 4-1 and again by the same scoreline in the tie-break, only to dig deep into his reserves to fight back.

A blocked forehand from deep behind the baseline, with Murray almost standing next to the line judge, was almost beyond belief and helped him level at 4-4 to ultimately swing the match back in his favour.

Although Griekspoor won the next point, the momentum remained with Murray who sealed a memorable win when the Dutchman sliced into the net.

Murray pointed to his heart as he celebrated, the gesture signifying the resilience which has helped him win the sport’s biggest prizes and resurrect a career which even he thought was over after “life-changing” hip surgery in January.

“I fought, put every ball in and had to find a way to win. That’s what I did,” Murray said.

Brilliant atmosphere & thrilling finale

Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique has overseen the transformation of the 119-year-old competition into the season-ending finals, which has been met with fierce criticism from some and doubts about the atmosphere such a format would create.

While Spain’s opening match on Tuesday night was unsurprisingly watched by a partisan and full crowd at the Caja Magica, some matches have struggled to attend spectators.

Britain’s opening tie against the Dutch was not expected to be one and so it proved as about 1,000 Union Jack-clad fans created a boisterous atmosphere on a 2,500-capacity third show court which was about three-quarters full by most estimates.

The crowd was given plenty of entertainment by Murray and Griekspoor in a gripping match full of ebbs and flows, a final-set tie-break providing a thrilling finale which eventually separated the pair.

Supporters from both nations were left standing on their feet and roaring their player towards victory in the tie-break, with Murray sealing the type of win he has earned throughout his illustrious career after two hours and 51 minutes.

“The atmosphere was one of the things players were worried about in a neutral venue but both sets of fans were fantastic,” Murray said.

The new Davis Cup format

Eighteen nations are split into six groups of three, with the group winners and two best-placed runners-up progressing to the quarter-finals.

The two semi-finals will be played on Saturday, 23 November with the two winners going through to the final on Sunday, 24 November.

The six groups
Group A: France, Serbia, Japan Group B: Croatia, Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina, Germany, Chile Group D: Belgium, Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands Group F: United States, Italy, Canada
Which of the world’s top 20 are playing?
Rafael Nadal (Spain) [1] Fabio Fognini (Italy) [12]
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) [2] Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) [14]
Matteo Berrettini (Italy) [8] Denis Shapovalov (Canada) [15]
Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) [9] Karen Khachanov (Russia) [17]
Gael Monfils (France) [10] Alex de Minaur (Australia) [18]
David Goffin (Belgium) [11]

Schedule – who plays when?

Group stage: Monday, 18 November – Thursday, 21 November

Quarter-finals: Thursday, 21 November – Friday, 22 November

Semi-finals: Saturday, 23 November

Final: Sunday, 24 November

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September 2019