SPAIN: Barcelona loses in its worst start in Spain for 25 years

MADRID — Not even Lionel Messi's return was enough to prevent Barcelona from making its worst start in the Spanish league for 25 years.

Messi came off the bench in the second half for his first league appearance of the season on Saturday as Barcelona lost 2-0 at promoted Granada.

Barcelona is seventh with seven points from its first five matches. Not since 1994-95 — when it had five points after the first five games — has Barcelona had such a bad start.

"Clearly it hasn't been a good start to the season," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "There are a lot of matches still to be played, but it's obvious that we need to improve."

Ramón Azeez and Álvaro Vadillo scored a goal in each half for Granada, which is top of the league with 10 points after its third win of the season.

Coming off two straight seasons in the second division, Granada hadn't beaten Barcelona in the league since 2014. It had lost six straight matches against the Catalan club.

It is the first time since 1971 that Granada has won three games in a row in the league without conceding. Barcelona, meanwhile, has conceded two or more goals in four consecutive league matches for the first time since 2009.

"We are not creating enough chances," Valverde said. "We need to be more effective and translate our dominance into scoring chances and into victories."

Messi, who had been sidelined with a calf injury since preseason, also came off the bench to play in Barcelona's 0-0 draw at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

His only chance on Saturday came with an 82nd-minute shot from inside the area that was saved by the goalkeeper. That was Barcelona's only shot on target at the Nuevo Los Cármenes Stadium.

Granada opened the scoring two minutes into the game with a close-range header by Azeez after Barcelona defender Junior Firpo lost possession near his own area.

Barcelona improved significantly after Valverde brought on Messi and teenage forward Ansu Fati after halftime, but it was Granada that added to the lead with a penalty kick converted by Vadillo in the 66th. The penalty was awarded after video review showed a hand ball by substitute Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal.

The result kept the two-time defending champion winless in its first three away matches in the league.


Atlético Madrid was held by Celta Vigo to a 0-0 draw, missing its chance to regain the Spanish league lead.

Atlético has the same 10 points as Granada and Sevilla but trails both teams on goal difference. Sevilla has a game in hand, against Real Madrid on Sunday.

It was the third winless match in a row for Atlético, which was coming off a 2-2 home draw against Juventus in the Champions League. Last weekend, Diego Simeone's team lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad for its first setback of the season.

"We tried every way possible," Atlético defender José María Giménez said. "We went for the win until the last minute. At least we didn't concede this time, but we let two important points slip away."

Atlético had conceded six goals in its last three matches.

Atlético striker Diego Costa and Celta defender Lucas Olaza were shown yellow cards after the final whistle as players from both teams got into an altercation.

Celta, which was coming off a home loss against Granada, stayed 14th in the 20-team standings with five points from five matches. It hadn't won a point at Atlético since 2014.


Villarreal defeated Valladolid 2-0 at home with two late goals, while Levante was held by visiting Eibar to a 0-0 draw. Villarreal is fourth after its second straight victory.

-- By Tales Azzoni, AP

GERMANY: Coutinho scores his 1st Bayern goal in 4-0 rout of Cologne

BERLIN — Philippe Coutinho scored his first Bundesliga goal — twice — and Robert Lewandowski kept his scoring run going in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over 10-man Cologne on Saturday.

After scoring a penalty in the 60th minute, Coutinho was forced to take it again as too many players had encroached in the area while he was taking it. He didn't delay at the second asking and scored for the first time since joining Bayern on loan from Barcelona.

Coutinho looked set to score from open play in the 59th but was brought down by Kingsley Ehizibue, who was sent off for Cologne.

Coutinho later set up Ivan Perisic in the 73rd as Bayern moved second, two points behind early leader Leipzig, which defeated injury-hit Werder Bremen 3-0 in the late game.

Lewandowski grabbed the first two goals to take his league-leading tally to nine in five games.

Cologne was already finding its Bundesliga return difficult with three defeats in four games, and any hopes the promoted side had of bucking the trend were given short shrift when Lewandowski got Bayern off to a flying start in the third minute.

The Poland striker matched Carsten Jancker's record of scoring in the first five league games of the season for Bayern. Jancker managed it 19 years before.

The visitors were unable to keep up with the home side's pace. Coutinho, who was leading Bayern's attacking play, struck the post with a free kick.

Cologne regrouped toward the end of the half but couldn't force an equalizer.

Lewandowski grabbed his second in the 48th with a header from a corner, before Coutinho went on to steal the limelight.


Javairo Dilrosun scored a brilliant solo goal as Hertha Berlin defeated fellow struggler Paderborn 2-1 for its first win of the season.

The Dutch winger said afterward he did not know how many Paderborn defenders he passed before opening the scoring in the 10th minute.

"I'll have to look at the replay," Dilrosun said.

Hertha's plan was to let the visitors have the ball and then hit on the counterattack. But Ante Covic can't have anticipated his side would allow so many chances. Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein ensured it remained 1-0 ahead at the break.

Marius Wolf scored his first goal for Hertha in the 52nd, prompting a streaker to venture onto the pitch. The home fans' celebrations continued as stewards went to catch him.

Perhaps distracted, Hertha allowed Ben Zolinski to pull one back for Paderborn two minutes later.

But the home side improved, had two goals ruled out for offside, and ultimately held on to move level on four points with city rival Union Berlin.

Union lost 2-0 at Bayer Leverkusen, which was keen to atone for its loss to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Also, Augsburg salvaged a 1-1 draw at Freiburg.

-- By Ciaran Fahey, AP

ITALY: Ramsey and Buffon help Juventus beat Verona 2-1

MILAN — Aaron Ramsey scored in his debut to send Juventus on its way to a 2-1 win over newly promoted Hellas Verona amid a strained atmosphere at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

His goal canceled out Miguel Veloso's opener for Verona, which also missed a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo was more successful with his spot kick for Juventus in the second half.

"I've waited a long time for this moment," said Ramsey, who has only recently returned to fitness following a hamstring injury. "I'm really happy, both for the victory and for the goal."

Juventus also needed Gianluigi Buffon to pull off a number of crucial saves to stop Verona from equalizing in the second half.

Ronaldo put Juve's sub-par performance down to the players' exertions midweek in the 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

"It was a difficult game, but the important thing is that the team did well, we were losing and we recovered," he said. "After the Champions League we were tired, it's normal after such an intense game like the one against Atletico, but we take three points and go ahead."

There was a small protest outside the stadium before the match in Turin in support of the 12 hardcore Juventus "ultra" fan leaders who were arrested Monday after allegedly making illegal demands to the club to obtain more tickets.

A group of around 20 fans chanted for their release while others handed out leaflets. There were also no flags or banners displayed in the Curva Sud, where the ultras normally watch the match from.

As well as Ramsey making his debut after joining from Arsenal in the offseason, Buffon was playing his first match since his return after a season at Paris Saint-Germain. It was his 902nd club match as a professional, equaling Paolo Maldini's record for an Italian player.

Buffon could do nothing as Verona surprisingly took the lead in the 21st minute.

Samuele Di Carmine was tripped over by Merih Demiral but sent the resulting penalty onto the upright. However, Juventus failed to clear and Velose fired into the top corner from 20 yards out.

Juventus leveled 10 minutes later when Ramsey's effort was deflected into the bottom corner.

And the Bianconeri went in front four minutes after the interval as Ronaldo converted the penalty after Juan Cuadrado was fouled by Koray Günter.

Verona defender Marash Kumbulla was sent off in stoppage time following a second yellow card.


Inter Milan maintained its perfect start to the season as it beat city rival AC Milan 2-0 in an entertaining derby match.

Both teams had a goal ruled out in the first half and Inter hit the woodwork. The Nerazzurri broke the deadlock shortly after the interval with a deflected strike from Marcelo Brozovic.

Romelu Lukaku all but sealed the result in the 78th minute with his third goal in four Serie A matches.

It would have been worse for Milan had it not been for several impressive saves from goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

This was a fourth successive win for Inter in its first season under Antonio Conte. It was Milan's second defeat of the fledgling campaign.

Inter is the only team in the Italian league to have won all of its matches.

Newly promoted Brescia won 1-0 at Udinese.

-- By Daniella Matar, AP