Conte turns attention to Atleti

Having watched his Chelsea side dispatch Stoke City 4-0 on Saturday, Antonio Conte shifts his sights to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Alvaro Morata helped the Blues forget about Atleti-bound Diego Costa with his first Premier League hat trick, while fellow Spaniard Pedro also got in on the action against the Potters

"It wasn't easy despite the 4-0 result," Conte told Sky Sports. "We must be pleased and satisfied to win away against Stoke because they are a strong team at home.

"We took our chances but it's normal to come here and suffer. Arsenal lost here, Manchester United drew but we won and we deserved to win.

"In the second half we scored twice and made more chances to improve the result, but it wasn't easy. We are in good shape. We are rotating and the answer from my players is positive.

"It was a really good performance from Alvaro. It means we have created chances for the striker to score, it happened last season, and it will happen again this season.

"Now it's important to rest well and prepare for another game against Atletico Madrid. We have to prepare in the right way for this tough game against Atletico."

The Blues will face Los Rojiblancos on Wednesday at their new home, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, where Conte will be looking to keep his hold on top spot in Group C.

"In the last few years they've been strong in the Champions League," the Italian said of the Spanish side. "We must pay great attention but we are ready and want to do our best."

Allegri tips his hat to in-control Juve

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was understandably happy on Saturday after his team swept aside Torino 4-0 at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Paulo Dybala opened the scoring 16 minutes in and capped it off in stoppage time, either side of goals from Miralem Pjanic and Alex Sandro, while a 24th-minute red card for Torino’s Daniele Baselli also helped Juve dominate the Turin derby.

"The lads had a really good game, including the opening 20 minutes, then once Torino went down to 10 men we controlled the match," Allegri said.

"Even then, we allowed a couple of situations that could've been avoided. We slowed the tempo a bit too much after the break, but still created a great deal.

"It wasn't easy, as this Torino side is tough to beat, but it was the best way to prepare for Wednesday's Champions League game (against Olympiakos)."

Allegri chose to exclude striker Gonzalo Higuain from his starting XI, preferring Dybala and Mario Mandzukic up front before Higuain replaced the Croatian for the final 10 minutes.

"Higuain was on the bench because there are many games and I preferred to give him a rest," Allegri told Mediaset Premium.

"He's an important player for us, there are moments when things work better at one time than another. There will be times when everyone gets time out, otherwise we won't be able to maintain our consistency.

"I preferred to leave him out, he has already scored two goals this season and will score many more. He just needs to rediscover – or perhaps he never lost it – the calm of not feeling the need to score at all costs.

"I thank Mandzukic for his performance. I'm sure he could happily play in midfield too, he's got physicality and technique, so can do a job anywhere."

Alba credits Valverde for Barca's good start

Barcelona defender Jordi Alba says Ernesto Valverde is managing the squad to perfection after they made is six wins in a row against Girona on Saturday.

Two own goals and a fine finish from Luis Suarez saw Barca emerge as 3-0 winners at Estadi Municipal de Montilivi, keeping them top of the Liga standings.

"The coach is managing the squad to perfection, we are all getting a chance to play," Alba told Movistar.

"He is working with us very well. We are responding to his methods and, while there is a lot of football to be played, I feel as though everyone has a positive feeling."

The match saw Lionel Messi neutralised by the man-marking of Pablo Maffeo, the young Spanish defender on loan from Manchester City whose talent was noticed by the Argentinian playmaker.

"Messi came to me in the 10th minute to ask how I wanted him to deal with his marker, Valverde added. "Messi did well, he was calm and helped the team."

"I had to mark him and I had to be close to him and not watch the ball," Maffeo said after the match. "[Messi] asked me a couple of things, like if I was loaned by City and how old I was.

"It is difficult, not just from a football perspective, but also psychologically. I appreciate the trust the coach placed in me."

Emery: We must learn to win without Neymar

PSG coach Unai Emery said Neymar should be fit in time for Tuesday's Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, after his side recorded a disappointing 0-0 draw at Montpellier on Saturday.

Neymar was ruled out after suffering an injury to his right foot as PSG’s perfect start to the Ligue 1 season ended in their first match without the Brazil star since his big-money move from Barcelona.

"We will wait until tomorrow (Sunday) to see about his return," Emery said.

"There are three days left to prepare for the match, but I think that if everything goes normally he will be back."

PSG’s lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table no stands at just one point after champions Monaco smashed Lille 4-0 on Friday thanks to a brace from Radamel Falcao.

Emery said his side needed to be able to get results when key players are missing.

"We need all the players, when a player is missing it's important to maintain the level and pace,"  Emery said after a poor showing by the Parisians.

"Others have had time to play and they've helped the team, but we can't say that the match would have been different with Neymar.

"We will play more matches with Neymar this season, but we also need to work (when we're) without a player."

Kylian Mbappe had PSG’s best chances, but the 18-year-old  enjoyed a frustrating day in front of goal, missing several straightforward chances.

Klopp: We are not the Harlem Globetrotters

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp emphasised the need for Liverpool to get results and not worry about the performance, adding that his team were “not the Harlem Globetrotters".

The Anfield club earned their first win in five games on Saturday after eventually overcoming Leicester 3-2 at the King Power Stadium.

Goals from Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho with a free-kick earned the Red’s all three points after Jamie Vardy saw a late penalty saved by Simon Mignolet.

And after the game, Klopp talked about the pressure that he had been under ahead of the game.

"I know about pressure a lot – I actually had it all my life because of different reasons," he said.

"Pressure when it is the right pressure, it always helps. When it is without sense then it doesn't help – and I'm very good at ignoring it.

"But, you can imagine, we want to be successful. We know the quality we have makes us responsible for being successful. I know that.

"But I said to the boys before the game that we are not the Harlem Globetrotters. We don't go out and try to play really good football, we are here for results and so we play for results.

"I loved how we fought for it. It could have been clearer but, after a few games with no results, or not the right results, you have to fight back.

"That's what we did and now we can build on this."

Liverpool’s next game is against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Sundowns' CAF title defence ends in Morocco

Last year's CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Wydad Casablanca at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah on Saturday night.

  • Wydad Casablanca 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 0
  • 1-1 aggregate score-line
  • Said puts the hosts ahead in the 26th minute 
  • Tau, Soumahoro and Zakri miss their penalties

Match Summary

The first half saw the home side the more dangerous team and they took a deserved lead into the break. A tense second half saw the teams evenly matched before the tie went to penalties.

Full Report

Sundowns soon found themselves on the back foot and Wydad Casablanca could have gone ahead on 11 minutes when Guillaume Nicaise went clean in on goal, but Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango made a brilliant stop.

The hosts continued to threaten and went in front on the night in the 26th minute when Achraf Bencharki's teasing cross was headed in by an unmarked Salah Said at the far post.

Pitso Mosimane's Sundowns had some more defending to do before half time as an increasingly confident Casablanca team, buoyed by the packed stadium behind them, went looking for another goal, but the South Africans managed to stand firm as they went into the break with the aggregate score locked at 1-1.

Hlompho Kekana should have pulled a goal back for the Brazilians six minutes into the second half after being picked out by Oupa Manyisa, but from close range he missed the target.

At the other end, Ismail El Haddad could have extended the hosts lead on the hour mark, but he volleyed over the bar.

The final 20 minutes of the second half had the crowd on their feet as both teams showed their intent to get on the score-sheet.

But it wasn't to be as some excellent defending coupled with the lack of a final ball resulted in the match going to a penalty shoot-out.

Misses from Percy Tau, Bangaly Soumahoro and Yannick Zakri were to end Downs' hopes of successfully defending their crown.

Barcelona ease past Girona

Two own goals and a third from Luis Suarez saw Barcelona comfortably beat fellow Catalan side Girona FC 3-0 at Estadi Montilivi on Saturday night to remain on top of the La Liga table.

  • Girona FC 0 Barcelona 3
  • Aday own goal
  • Iraizoz denies Alba
  • Iraizoz own goal
  • Suarez scores third

Match summary:

Barcelona dominated the contest against a spirited Girona side and took the lead when a Jordi Alba effort was unbelievably turned into the net by Girona captain Aday Benitez for an own goal.

Just two minutes into the second half a good run by Alexi Vidal saw him play the ball towards the goal which deflected off Iraizoz for the second own goal of the night. 20 minutes later Luis Suarez calmly beat Iraizoz for the third goal.   

Full report:

It was a historic night for Girona as they faced Barcelona for the first time in the club's history in a Catalan derby and it was almost a nightmare start as Aleix Vidal got on the end of good ball from Javier Mascherano, to fire a shot at Gorka Iraizoz who saved it comfortably just four minutes in.

It was then Girona's turn as Douglas Luiz picked up a loose ball off Paulinho before getting a shot away which forced a save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who also saved the follow up effort by Christian Portu which was deemed to be offside.

A corner in the 17th minute saw the ball fall to Jordi Alba who let loose an effort towards goal before Aday Benitez made an incredible blunder, as he misdirected the ball into his own net and gave Barca the lead.

Girona would have been happy with their performance in the first half as they went into the break after largely containing Barcelona with just the own goal separating the two sides.

Barcelona had the perfect start to the second half as Aleix Vidal made a great run before backheeling on the edge of the by line towards Luis Suarez, who left the ball which then took a deflection off Iraizoz and rolled in for the second own goal of the match.

Girona almost hit back when Douglas Luiz, who had been the stand out player all night, rose and headed an effort which rose too high to trouble Ter Stegen.

Luis Suarez finally injected some life back into the match just before the 70-minute mark as he eventually found himself onside with the ball at his feet, and made no mistake easily slotting the ball past Iraizoz for Barcelona's third.

The home side kept pushing for a goal and a few minutes before stoppage time, Ter Stegen denied Pere Pons from close range before the midfielder blasted the rebound over.

In the end, it was a spirited performance from Girano but ultimately a very comfortable victory for Barcelona, who remain on top of the log ahead of Atletico Madrid.

Saturday's other results:

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Sevilla
Alaves 1-2 Real Madrid
Malaga 3-3 Athletic Bilbao

AmaZulu and Dikwena share the spoils

AmaZulu consolidated their position in the Premiership top eight and denied Platinum Stars a first win of the season, by coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Saturday night.

  • AmaZulu 1 Platinum Stars 1
  • Sesinyi with first goal for Stars
  • Manzini levels with third goal in two games
  • Usuthu stay in top eight
  • Dikwena still last and winless

Match Summary

Botswana striker Thabang Sesinyi fired Dikwena ahead with a 19th minute thunderbolt. But Rhulani Manzini levelled on the hour from the penalty spot as Usuthu earned a share of the spoils.

The result maintained the home side’s unbeaten start at their Durban base, while Stars stayed bottom of the table, still searching for a first win of 2017/18.

Full Report

The men from Rustenburg went ahead with the first real chance that came their way. A cross from Bongi Ntuli on the left was mis-cleared by Thapelo Nyongo into the body of Sesinyi, who reacted quickly by wrapping his foot around the loose ball and lashing into the top corner.

Sibongakonke Mbatha had a chance to double the lead 10 minutes later when he cut inside from the left and arrowed towards goal, before unleashing a skidding low shot that forced a diving stop to his right by goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha.

In stoppage time, Sesinyi had a second chance after he was played into space on the right, but his effort was tame this time and straight to Mbatha.

In the 61st minute, Manzini won a penalty when his strike came off the arm of Willem Mwedihanga, with the striker stepping up to power in from the spot.

As the tock ticked along, Mhlengi Cele saw his header cleared on the line by a Stars defender, before dragging an attempt across the face of goal of making gains down the left.

At the other end, Siyabonga Zulu curled a free-kick just over the top as the match headed into the final 20 minutes. In the closing minutes, Samuel Darpoh fired powerfully but straight at Mbongeni Mzimela and Boysen Mbatha headed wide as Stars held on.

Arrows hold Chiefs to go top

There was plenty of action but no goals as Kaizer Chiefs and Golden Arrows settled for a 0-0 league draw at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

  • Kaizer Chiefs 0 Golden Arrows 0
  • Arrows go top of the table on goal difference
  • Chiefs unbeaten in four matches and move to fourth spot 

Match Summary

The first half was fast-paced and saw Chiefs enjoying the better of the scoring chances. The second stanza was evenly-contested as both teams had their moments in front of goal in what was an exciting game despite the score-line.

Full Report

After both teams had played some good flowing football early on it was Chiefs who had the first proper opening of the game when a superbly-worked move ended with Siphiwe Tshabalala crossing for Gustavo Paez, but he volleyed just wide at the back post on 15 minutes.

Paez was also close to scoring just after the half-hour mark, but his cross-cum-shot from the right was brilliantly and bravely tipped over by Arrows keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede.

Amakhosi continued to threaten and Tshabalala was inches away from clipping in a free kick in first half added time.

The Soweto side continued to enjoy openings on goal after the restart, but couldn't convert as William Twala missed with snap shot from close range in the 51st minute, before Abafana bes'Thende defender Siyabonga Dube made a brilliant tackle to stop Paez scoring just before the hour mark.

Proceedings remained tight, the match absorbing, and it was Chiefs who had the next chance in the 76th minute, but Tshabalala's header went straight at Gumede.

Arrows substitute Wayde Jooste made a big impact off the bench late on when he had a shot blocked in the box before a brilliant diving save from Itumeleng Khune kept out his stinging 35-yard effort.

There was another opportunity for the Durban side, inside added time, when Knox Mutizwa went through on goal, but Khune did very well to make the challenge outside of his box in what proved to be the final major action of the night.

There was a major concern however for Chiefs coach Steve Komphela after Khune was stretchered off after having taken a knock to either his head or neck while tackling Mutizwa.

Wits end Bucs' unbeaten streak

Bidvest Wits held onto an early lead to register a 1-0 league win over Orlando Pirates at the Bidvest Wits Stadium on Saturday evening. 

  • Bidvest Wits 1 Orlando Pirates
  • Phiri gives the hosts a fifth minute lead
  • Pirates' first defeat of the season, Wits' first win 

Match Summary

The home side were dominant for the first 20 minutes, with the remainder of the first half an open and even contest. The Soweto team grew stronger as the second half wore on, but couldn’t break down a determined home defence.

Full Report

The Clever Boys were ahead after only four minutes when a deep cross into the box fell kindly for Gerald Phiri, who lashed in a low drive from 10-yards out.

Thabo Qalinge was unfortunate not to level matters five minutes later when he left two defenders for dead before digging out a shot which flew into the bar.

Wits were had a penalty appeal turned down three minutes later when Amr Gamal was tackled from behind by Happy Jele in the box.

The Buccaneers enjoyed some better passages of play in the final 20 minutes of the half, but they struggled to break down the home side's defence. There was a chance for Thabo Matlaba a few minutes before the break, but his grass-cutter was kept out by the feet of goalkeeper Moseneeb Josephs. 

Early second half play saw the two teams trading blows, the game finely balanced, although neither goalkeeper was called into any serious action as chances failed to materialise.

But Josephs had work to do against his former club on 70 minutes when he got down smartly to keep out a testing drive from Mpho Makola.

The home team worked extremely hard in the closing moments of the game to see out the win, while for Bucs coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic, it was a first loss of the season.