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THRILLING EUROPEAN FOOTBALL RECAP: BARCELONA'S DRAMATIC WIN, LEVERKUSEN LEADS BUNDESLIGA, AND INTER'S COPPA ITALIA UPSET

Sergi Roberto's Heroics, Schick's Hat-Trick, and Bologna's Coppa Italia Shock: A Rollercoaster Week in European Football

21.12.2023
BY JACKSON KEEFE
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In a gripping La Liga encounter on Wednesday, Barcelona managed to secure a hard-fought 3-2 home victory against bottom-placed Almería, thanks to two second-half goals from Sergi Roberto.

Barcelona dominated the first half, creating 15 chances, with Raphinha breaking the deadlock in the 33rd minute after a rebound from close range. However, Almería managed to equalize just before halftime, as Leo Baptistão scored with a chipped finish, with VAR confirming the goal after an offside check.

Sergi Roberto then restored Barcelona's lead in the 60th minute with a header from a corner, but Almería, still seeking their first win in the league, leveled the score 11 minutes later through Edgar González, capitalizing on Iñaki Peña's error. With time running out, Roberto emerged as the hero once again, sealing the victory with a close-range nutmeg on Almería's goalkeeper Maximiano.

The win propelled Barcelona into third place, surpassing Atlético Madrid in the La Liga standings.

In other La Liga action, Villarreal secured a crucial 3-2 home win against struggling Celta, while Unai Gómez's stoppage-time strike earned Athletic Bilbao a victory over Las Palmas.

Bayer Leverkusen Dominates Bundesliga Heading into Winter Break

Bayer Leverkusen heads into the Bundesliga's winter break as the league leaders after a commanding 4-0 victory against Bochum. Patrik Schick's first-half hat-trick paved the way for Leverkusen's triumph, with the Czech striker netting two goals from open play and one from Álex Grimaldo's corner.

In a closely contested Bundesliga clash, Bayern Munich secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Wolfsburg, with Harry Kane scoring his 21st league goal of the season. Maximilian Arnold pulled one back for Wolfsburg, but Bayern held on to stay within four points of the league leaders.

Stuttgart continued their push for a Champions League spot with an impressive 3-0 home victory against Augsburg, while Union Berlin boosted their survival hopes with a 2-0 win against Cologne.

Eintracht Frankfurt produced a late turnaround to secure a 2-1 victory against 10-man Mönchengladbach, with Buta and Robin Koch scoring in stoppage time. Heidenheim also scored two late goals to beat Freiburg 3-2 and move into the top half of the Bundesliga table.

Inter Milan Suffers Coppa Italia Upset; Bologna Advances

In a shocking turn of events in the Coppa Italia, Serie A leaders Internazionale crashed out at the last-16 stage, losing 2-1 at home to Bologna in extra time. Lautaro Martínez missed a penalty in the regular time, and Carlos Augusto's extra-time header for Inter was not enough, as Bologna fought back with goals from Sam Beukema and Dan Ndoye.

The upset has raised eyebrows in Italian football, and Bologna's late heroics secured their spot in the quarter-finals.

Mbappé Double Seals PSG Victory in Ligue 1

In Ligue 1 action, Kylian Mbappé delivered a stellar performance, scoring twice as Paris Saint-Germain maintained their five-point lead over Nice with a 3-1 victory against Metz. Vitinha opened the scoring in the second half, and Mbappé added a superb second from the edge of the box on his 25th birthday. Nice continued their push for a top-three finish with a 2-0 win over Lens, while Strasbourg ended Lille's 10-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 home win.

In other Ligue 1 results, Monaco came from a goal down to beat Toulouse 2-1, and Brest climbed to fourth place after a dominant 4-0 rout of Lorient. Marseille secured a point at Montpellier with a 1-1 draw, and Lyon moved out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over Nantes. Rennes fought back to win 3-1 at bottom club Clermont, while Keito Nakamura's goal secured victory for Reims over Le Havre.

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