European roundup: Vinícius double gives Real Madrid victory over Elche

Vinícius Júnior took over the scoring duties from Karim Benzema by netting twice to help Real Madrid win 2-1 at 10-man Elche on Saturday and move to the top of La Liga.

Vinícius opened the scoring with a 22nd-minute strike. After Elche midfielder Raúl Guti was sent off for a second booking, the Brazilian winger then put the result beyond doubt in the 73rd.

Elche substitute Pere Milla pulled one back with four to play, but it was not enough to keep his side unbeaten at home this campaign.

The 21-year-old Vinícius once again showed his much-improved finishing. The double took his tally in all competitions to nine in 14 appearances this season, compared to six goals in 47 outings in 2020-21.

“This is thanks to the work I have been putting in since I arrived,” said Vinícius, who debuted for Madrid aged 18 after the club had secured his transfer from Brazil’s Flamengo when he was 16.

In their first match since the sacking of Ronald Koeman, Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Alavés.

Juventus’s miserable start to the Serie A season continued as they lost 2-1 at Hellas Verona on Saturday, with an early double from Giovanni Simeone dropping Massimiliano Allegri’s side to ninth in the standings.

Simeone, eldest son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego, scored four in last weekend’s 4-1 win over Lazio, and he added two more goals inside 14 minutes in Veneto.

The first was a poacher’s finish from close range and the second was a sensational, dipping effort from distance to stun a static Juve defence.

Allegri rang the changes in the second half as he looked to turn things around, with one of his substitutes – American Weston McKennie – firing home 10 minutes from time. The visitors could not find an equaliser, however, as they slipped to their second league defeat in four days to stay 13 points behind leaders Napoli having played one game more, while Verona climbed to eighth with a deserved victory.

“We just need to work,” Allegri told DAZN. “We have to take responsibility and accept reality, that we are a mid-table team. The qualities are there, but we need to do so much more. In some way we will come out of it. Things will settle down.”

Elsewhere in Serie A on Saturday, Atalanta came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw with Lazio in Bergamo, Marten de Roon earning the hosts a point in the 94th minute, while Torino won 3-0 at home to Sampdoria. Dennis Praet scored 17 minutes in Wilfried Singo made it two just after half-time. Sampdoria then had Adrien Silva sent off, before the substitute Andrea Belotti completed the scoring in added time.

In the Bundesliga Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern Munich secured a 5-2 victory at Union Berlin on Saturday as the German champions bounced back from their shock midweek German Cup exit to stay top of the league table.

The Pole struck with a 15th-minute penalty and then hammered in a free kick for his 12th goal of the campaign, with Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman and Thomas Muller also on target in a rollercoaster encounter.

Borussia Dortmund did not need many chances to beat Cologne 2-0 with an efficient display that kept them a point behind Bayern.

Dortmund, missing more than half a dozen players through injury including top scorer Erling Haaland, squandered a couple of golden early opportunities to captain Marco Reus but Thorgan Hazard did better in the 40th minute. Jude Bellingham delivered a superb chip into the box and the Belgian timed his run to perfection to head home.

Cologne missed a string of chances and Dortmund’s Steffen Tigges headed in a corner in the 64th minute to give them a two-goal cushion with his first Bundesliga goal.

RB Leipzig, hosting Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, failed to keep pace with the top spots after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser for a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt that dropped them to eighth.