Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2016 Contents A55
August 21, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
order is fighting back in these early
days of the English Premier League
season---and there are some familiar
names atop the scoring charts, too.
Manchester City and Chelsea both
won yesterday to join Manchester
United in achieving back-to-back
victories at the start of the new cam-
Sergio Aguero scored two first-
half goals---one from the penalty
spot---to lead City to a 4-1 win at
Stoke, continuing the team s impres-
sive start to life under new coach
Like Guardiola, Chelsea coach
Antonio Conte also is in his first
season in English football and has
begun with consecutive 2-1 wins,
the latest coming at Watford. Diego
Costa scored an 87th-minute winner
at Vicarage Road, five days after an
89th-minute clincher against West
City, United and Chelsea all failed
to finish in the top three last season,
capping an unpredictable campaign
that saw 5,000-1 shot Leicester win
the league in an upset for the ages.
The chastened trio has spent a com-
bined $500 million in the offseason
to avoid a repeat and early results
suggest it is unlikely to happen.
As for Leicester, the champions
are still searching for the first win
of their title defence after a 0-0
draw at home to Arsenal, in a game
between the top two teams from last
season. Both sides are on one point.
The only other team on maximum
points from the opening two games
is Hull, which comes as something
of a surprise.
The northeast club has started the
season with only 13 fit senior players,
no permanent manager, no new
signings and with owners looking
to sell up. But Hull followed up the
win over Leicester by beating
Swansea 2-0 away, through late goals
by Shaun Maloney and Abel Her-
Hull plays Man United next week-
Also yesterday, Liverpool lost 2-
0 at promoted Burnley, puncturing
the optimism generated from its win
at Arsenal on the opening weekend.
Everton came from behind to beat
West Bromwich Albion 2-1 and Tot-
tenham beat Crystal Palace 1-0
thanks to a first goal for the club by
new signing Victor Wanyama.
Aguero has three league goals
already this season, along with Man
United s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Costa
has also scored in his first two games.
Today, Sunderland plays Middles-
brough and West Ham hosts
scored a hat trick and Lionel
Messi added two more goals as
Barcelona started its Spanish
league title defence in style by
routing Real Betis 6-2 yesterday.
Suarez, who led scoring in La
Liga with 40 goals last season,
helped to put the result beyond
doubt before halftime and struck
twice afterward to complete the
Even better for the Catalan club,
Messi destroyed any hopes of title
rivals that a difficult summer could
have affected his game.
Messi was found guilty in June
of tax fraud in Spain---he is appeal-
ing---and lost another Copa Amer-
ica final with Argentina. But he
was his normal brilliant self at
With the score at 1-1, Messi
restored Barcelona s lead for good
in the 37th minute with his first
of two unstoppable strikes from
the edge of the area. He was just
as impressive as a playmaker, tak-
ing part in setting up three more
"(Messi) is incredible. He is the
best player in the world," Suarez
said. "You have to enjoy playing
with a player like that."
Arda Turan had put Barcelona
ahead before Real Betis striker
Ruben Castro equalised with the
first of two goals.
Barcelona s biggest title rivals
play their opening matches today,
when Real Madrid visits Real
Sociedad and Atletico Madrid hosts
the promoted Alaves.
For Suarez, the six-goal victory
over Betis was a message that
Barcelona is still the team to beat.
"Barca is always the favourite,"
Suarez said. "Today s game was to
show why we have been the cham-
pion in recent seasons."
Before kickoff, Messi and Andres
Iniesta received the trophy for last
season s title.
After Iniesta, who is recovering
from a leg injury, returned to the
stands, Messi got down to helping
Barcelona make its first step toward
a third straight league crown.
Messi needed six minutes to
catch Betis defence off-balance
with a cross-field pass to Jordi
Alba, who then found Turan to
sidefoot in his assist.
Turan continued to make the
most of Neymar s Olympic duty
for Brazil by scoring his third goal
in as many matches. Turan scored
twice to help win the Spanish
Super Cup this week, and has
meshed well with Messi and
Suarez up front.
The other big benefactor of the
lopsided win was Sergi Roberto.
The versatile Roberto has been
tapped to replace the big boots of
Dani Alves on the right side of the
defense. He excelled against Betis
with passes for Messi and Suarez
to score their first goals.
Castro pulled Betis level in the
21st with a free kick that goalkeeper
Claudio Bravo couldn t keep out
in what could be his last match
for Barcelona. Barcelona sports
director Robert Fernandez said
after the match that the club had
reached a deal in principle to sell
Bravo to Manchester City.
But it didn t take long for Messi
to quash Betis comeback.
Messi had already struck the bar
before getting his first goal, a trade-
mark left-footed curler after he
had received the ball from Rober-
to.Suarez made it 3-1 just before
halftime when Messi played
Roberto clear on the right. The
Uruguay striker rolled Roberto s
pass off the far post and into the
Barcelona increased its domi-
nance after halftime as Messi led
a counterattack that ended with
him finding Suarez all alone to
push in the ball in the 55th.
Two minutes later Messi rifled
a low strike past Adan, who then
could do nothing to reach Suarez s
free kick that sailed just inside the
post in the 82nd.
Betis Castro scored the last goal
of the match.
Elsewhere, Villarreal drew 1-1 at
Granada as it settles in under new
coach Fran Escriba following its
loss to Monaco in their Champions
League playoff match. Villarreal
will try to overturn a 2-1 home leg
loss on Tuesday. (AP)
Suarez, Messi share
5 goals as Barcelona
starts title defence
FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez reacts
after scoring during the Spanish
La Liga soccer match between FC
Barcelona and Betis at the Camp
Nou in Barcelona, Spain,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
Leicester 0 v 0 Arsenal
Burnley 2 v 0 Liverpool
Swansea 0 v 2 Hull City
Watford 1 v 2 Chelsea
Tottenham 1 v 0 Crystal Palace
W Brom 1 v 2 Everton.
Chelsea's Diego Costa, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring during the English Premier League
soccer match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road stadium in London, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, foreground, scores his side's first goal of
the match from the penalty spot, during the English Premier League soccer
match between Stoke City and Manchester City, at The Bet365 Stadium, in
Stoke-on-Trent, England, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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