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Monday, September 22, 2014, 09:53

Barca cruise; Chelsea held while ManU fall apart

By Associated Press

PARIS - Manchester United's new-look attack looked impressive once again only for its suspect defense to collapse in spectacular style in a 5-3 loss to newly-promoted Leicester in the Premier League.

 Barca cruise; Chelsea held while ManU fall apart
Chelsea's Andre Schuerrle, right, scores past Manchester City's goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, despite the attentions of Eliaquim Mangala during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Sept 21, 2014. (AP Photo / Jon Super)

The day after Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick helped Real Madrid thrash Deportivo La Coruna 8-2 away from home, Barcelona cruised to a 5-0 win at Levante despite a rare penalty miss from Lionel Messi, who seems to prefer setting up goals these days - especially for Neymar.

Paris Saint-Germain failed to bounce back from a tepid 1-1 midweek draw away to Ajax in the Champions League as it drew 1-1 at home to Lyon to slip three points behind the league leader Marseille.

Here is a roundup of the action in Europe's top leagues on Sunday:


Frank Lampard scored a late equalizer against his former club Chelsea to earn 10-man Manchester City a 1-1 draw in the Premier League and end the leaders' winning start to the season.

 Barca cruise; Chelsea held while ManU fall apart
Manchester City's Frank Lampard left, and Chelsea's Andre Schurrle contest a header during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo / Clint Hughes)
Lampard, released by Chelsea this summer after scoring a club-record 211 goals in 13 years, refused to celebrate after his side-footed shot deflected in off John Terry in the 85th minute.

"I'm a bit lost for words - I didn't expect to score like that,'' Lampard said. "I'm a bit stuck in the middle.''

Chelsea dropped points for the first time in five games but still holds a three-point lead over Southampton and is five clear of defending champion City.

Man United, which has won just one league game so far under new manager Louis van Gaal, led 3-1 before newly-promoted Leicester scored four times in 20 minutes to secure a stunning 5-3 win.

Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria and fellow new signing Ander Herrera all scored to illustrate United's attacking verve, but Van Gaal has deep concerns over the balance of his team.

"We have too many players who want to seek for the goal,'' he said.


 Barca cruise; Chelsea held while ManU fall apart
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, right, duels for the ball with Levante's Simao, from Mozambique, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Valencia, Spain, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Messi shrugged off his penalty miss and another injury to Neymar by scoring one goal and setting up two more as Barcelona stayed top of the Spanish league with a perfect record after four games.

Messi has played a direct part in nine of Barcelona's 12 goals in its five wins across all competitions, scoring three and assisting on six more.

"Messi is one-of-a-kind,'' said Barcelona coach Luis Enrique. "He doesn't just dribble and score goals, he also assists like he did today.''

Neymar went off early in the second half with a left ankle injury, although he did not appear seriously hurt.

The win moved Barca two points ahead of Sevilla, which won 3-1 at Cordoba to remain undefeated. Colombia striker Carlos Bacca scored twice.

Defending champion Atletico Madrid trails Barcelona by four points with Real Madrid another two points adrift.

Villarreal roared back from a two-goal deficit to beat Rayo Vallecano 4-2, while Almeria held on for a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad.


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