By NICK IUELE
Going undefeated for an entire season is near impossible, but Barcelona looked like they would never be beaten. However, even the greatest teams falter at times and the clock struck midnight on Barca’s amazing run this weekend.
Real Sociedad became the first club to beat Barcelona this term. Imanol Agirretxe sunk the La Liga table-toppers with a goal in second half stoppage time. After Barca went up 2-0 after 25 minutes, getting goals from Leonel Messi and Xavi, Sociedad got a double from Gonzalo Castro before Agirretxe struck the winner. Barca is still up nine points on the competition.
In England, American international Clint Dempsey helped Tottenham Hotspur salvage a point against Manchester United at White Hart Lane. Robin van Persie put the home side up in the 25th minute and it looked like all three points were going to United. Dempsey, however, came to the rescue with a strike in second-half stoppage time to hold the table-toppers.
Juventus got their first Serie A win of the second half with a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing of Udinese. Paul Pogba hit a brace, while Mirko Vucinic and Alessandro Matri had a goal each. Juve lost the first game after break and was held last weekend. The Old Lady is five points clear in the table.
Here are the rest of the results from Europe’s top leagues:
By IVES GALARCEP
The Minnesota Stars are under new ownership, and the signs of that new ownership group’s influence are starting to show.
The Stars have been known for fielding one of the best teams in the NASL on a consistent basis under head coach Manny Lagos despite not having the financial backing of an owner. Now, with new Stars owner Bill McGuire backing the team, the Stars look poised to build a powerhouse.
Enter Pablo Campos, the reigning NASL MVP. The Stars are set to sign Campos to a new deal, snatching the free agent away from the San Antonio Scorpions , sources told SBI on Sunday.
By FRANCO PANIZO
Clint Dempsey is officially a thorn in Manchester United’s side.
For the second time this season, Dempsey punished Manchester United by scoring a vital goal for Tottenham on Sunday. Dempsey, who scored the winner the last time these two teams met in September, donned the hero’s cape by tucking away a 93rd-minute shot from close range to give Spurs a 1-1 draw inside of a snowy White Hart Lane. The goal was Dempsey’s fifth in the Premiership and seventh in all competitions this season.
Jozy Altidore also found the back of the net this weekend, scoring a hat-trick in AZ Alkmaar’s 4-1 win against Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday. Altidore netted all three goals in a span of 22 minutes in the second half and now has 14 goals in league play and 18 across all competitions this season. The hat-trick was Altidore’s second of the campaign.
A pair of players also made their respective debuts for their new clubs. Maurice Edu came off the bench and played 25 minutes in Bursaspor’s 2-1 triumph over Kayserispor on Saturday afternoon, and Jose Torres started and played 71 minutes as Tigres UANL defeated Atlas, 1-0, on Saturday night.
Here’s how the Americans Abroad did this weekend:
BY DAN KARELL
As each day passes, it seems more likely that the Mario Balotelli experiment at Manchester City will be coming to an end.
A.C. Milan is interested in making a bid for the the 23-year-old Italian, though according to a report from Italian publication Gazzetta Dello Sport, Manchester City are holding out for a £31 million transfer fee.
Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani, who has been very busy the last month securing transfer deals for players in and out of the club, was quoted as saying he would wait until Monday to speak with Manchester City again.
Balotelli has scored just one goal this season in 14 league appearances, and has not started for the Citizens since December 9.
Here are some other stories to get your Sunday started:
Four of the top six teams in the English Premier League square off in a pair of high-profile match-ups that will headline a packed Sunday of quality matches across the globe.
London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea square off, while EPL leaders Manchester United will look to extend their league lead to seven points with a win against fourth-place Tottenham.
In Africa, Ghana takes on Congo in what should be an action-packed Africa Cup of Nations clash. In Italy, Roma take on Inter Milan in what should be a closely-fought and intense battle between Serie A powers.
Looking to watch some Americans play? You can see Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna take on DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla, while Michael Parkhurst could be making his debut for German side Augsburg as they take on Fortuna Dusseldorf in a clash of bottom-table German sides.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s TV Schedule is after the jump):
Jozy Altidore returned from the Dutch League’s winter break in style, recording a hat-trick in AZ Alkmaar’s 4-1 win against Vitesse Arnhem.
All three of Altidore’s goals came in a 15-minute span in the second half and the hat-trick haul gives him 14 league goals on the season, tied for second-most in the Eredivisie. He scored on a pair of headers and a close-range finish.
Here are the goals: