Lewandowski’s birthday brace leads Barca to 1st league victory | Basketball


By TALES AZZONI – AP Sportswriter

MADRID (AP) — Robert Lewandowski left his mark with a pair of goals on his 34th birthday, and Barcelona saw their top-flight attack finally clinch a 4-1 win over Real Sociedad for their first victory of the season on Sunday.

Lewandowski also netted Ansu Fati’s goal as Barcelona bounced back quickly from a scoreless draw at home in the Spanish league against Rayo Vallecano in which the attack was ineffective.

Ousmane Dembélé also scored for the Catalan club who entered the season amid high expectations after spending big to strengthen their squad despite continuing financial difficulties.

“It was an important game after the setback the other day,” said Barcelona midfielder Pedri González. “We came in very motivated to get the win and that’s what happened.”

Lewandowski scored his first goal of the season a minute into the game with a nice touch from inside the box after a pass from teenager Alejandro Balde.

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“He’s 34 but it looks like he’s only 20,” said Pedri, who is 15 years younger than the veteran Polish striker. “It’s crazy all the goals he scores and how he works to help the team.”

The hosts equalized with a sixth-minute goal from Alexander Isak after a fine through ball from veteran David Silva, but the Barcelona forwards came from behind in the second half. Dembélé scored with a low shot in the 66th after a backheel from Fati, who himself found the net in the 79th after Lewandowski’s assist. Lewandowski’s second goal came from close range in the 68th after another assist from Fati.

The result kept Barcelona unbeaten against Sociedad in 13 league games, with two draws and 11 wins.

Sociedad had started with a victory in Cadiz.

Unai Emery’s unsuccessful run against Diego Simeone is finally over.

Emery’s 12-game league winless streak as manager against Simeone ended with Villarreal’s 2-0 victory at Atlético Madrid.

Emery had seven draws and five losses against Simeone, his worst streak against any other coach in the league.

“It had been tough for me against Simeone,” Emery said. “It shows how good he is. And he just keeps getting better.

Yéremy Pino and Gerard Moreno scored second-half goals at the Metropolitano Stadium as Villarreal picked up their second straight win to start the league.

Atlético also opened the scoring with a win, but this time Álvaro Morata and João Félix struggled in attack and the hosts failed to get past Villarreal. Morata, back from loan with Juventus, had scored twice in the 3-0 win at Getafe, when Félix had three assists.

Villarreal won 3-0 at Valladolid.

Atlético’s new defender Nahuel Molina was sent off in added time.

Atlético had not lost in their last eight league games against Villarreal.

After the match, it was reported that Atlético player Mario Hermoso got into an argument with fans who allegedly insulted him.

Coach Gennaro Gattuso suffered his first Spanish league defeat this season when Valencia lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao.

Álex Berenguer scored the winning goal in the 42nd to give Bilbao their first win of the season after a home opener draw against Mallorca.

Gattuso had made his Valencia debut with a 1-0 win over Girona at home.

Bilbao striker Iñaki Williams was disallowed a late offside goal at San Mamés, while Valencia striker Marcos André nearly equalized in stoppage time with an attempt that hit the woodwork.

Reigning champions Real Madrid won 4-1 at Celta Vigo on Saturday for their second consecutive win at the start of the league.

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