European football: Porto thrash Benfica 5-0


If you were to find the most deadly strike force in Europe, Portugal’s bwin Liga might not automatically sound like the most obvious destination. But Porto’s lethal duo, Hulk and Falcao, have struck a formidable partnership over the last two seasons, and are currently busy destroying teams in the Portuguese top flight on a weekly basis. Hulk, in particular, has been a sensation. The 24-year-old hit another brace against rivals Benfica on Sunday evening – taking his tally to 10 league goals for the campaign – helping Porto storm to a stunning 5-0 victory in the process. His strike partner, Colombia international Falcao, also grabbed two in the rout, while Silvestre Varela netted the other.

08-11-2010 --  Across the border, into Spain, and a clear three-horse race is now emerging between Real Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal at the top of the Primera Liga. The trio all won again on Sunday evening, but it was the Yellow Submarine who sealed the most impressive win: a 4-1 victory against Athletic Bilbao.




As always, Barcelona produced some scintillating football this weekend. The imperious Lionel Messi scored his 101st goal under manager Pep Guardiola after a stunning team move against Getafe, and the Argentina international created both David Villa and Pedro’s goals to inspire Barca to a 3-1 away win.




Not to be outdone, Real Madrid continued their fine record over local rivals Atletico Madrid, beating the Europa League champions 2-0, thanks to goals from Ricardo Carvalho and Mesut Özil.




Meanwhile, the game on everyone’s lips in Italy was the derby of the capital – Lazio v Roma. League leaders Lazio had been going great guns in the league, but the old cliché of throwing the formbook out of the window for a derby of this magnitude held some truth at the weekend.




Despite their poor start to the campaign, it was Claudio Ranieri’s Roma who won the derby. Two penalties – one from Marco Borriello and another from Mirko Vučinić – sealed a precious three points for the Giallorossi, without the services of their ageing legend, Francesco Totti.




The result allowed both Milan clubs to close the gap at the top of Serie A, although Inter slip down to third after they could only draw 1-1 with Brescia. AC Milan did manage to win, though, a 3-2 victory away at Bari moved the Rossoneri up to second – two points behind the league leaders.




Over in France, it was PSG who came out on top in ‘The Classic’ against southern rivals Marseille. First half goals from Mevlut Erdinc and Guillaume Hoarau won the match for the hosts, although Lucho González did grab a consolation for Didier Deschamps’ side.




Elsewhere, leaders Brest were beaten convincingly, 3-1, by Lille at Stadium Lille Metropole. Rennes would have taken top spot had they not drawn with Lyon, although a 1-1 draw was still a credible result.




And in the Bundesliga, Stuttgart are finally back on track following their dismal start. Jens Keller’s side thrashed the hapless Werder Bremen 6-0 to move up to 14th place, while Bayer Leverkusen climbed to third thanks to a 3-1 win against Kaiserslautern.




But there was more disappointment for Mainz, who are in danger of sliding down the table after losing three of their last four matches. Another defeat against Freiburg at the weekend wasn’t enough to move them out of second place, but Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win against Hannover moves them four points clear at the top.




Finally, Bayern Munich are still floating in mid-table after playing their part in a thrilling 3-3 draw with bottom side Borussia Monchengladbach. Philipp Lahm spared Louis van Gaal a large dose of humiliation with an 84th-minute equaliser, but the Bayern manager was left furious with his team’s abject display, and will be concerned that the Champions League finalists have struggled to get into second gear so far this year.




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