Neymar, Messi combine to set up 19-year-old Sandro Ramirez to score winner on Barcelona debut

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: August 31, 2014 - 3:45 PM

LONDON — Returning from his World Cup-ending injury, Neymar combined with Lionel Messi on Sunday to set up a winning goal for a teenage newcomer to Barcelona.

Substitute Sandro Ramirez, a Barca academy graduate, had been on the field only 12 minutes when he scored in a 1-0 victory at Villarreal.

The goal maintained Barcelona's perfect start to the Spanish league. In England, Liverpool convincingly beat Tottenham while Arsenal slumped to its second draw in three matches.

The best of the action from Europe's top leagues Sunday:

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SPAIN

Barcelona was held in check by Villarreal until the 82nd minute, when Messi took Neymar's pass and drew goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo off his line before picking out Ramirez to push the winner into the net.

Messi had previously been denied twice by the goal frame when Asenjo blocked his free kick onto the post in the 28th and his shot stuck the upright in the 76th. But he delivered when hemmed in by Asenjo and a defender on the right side of the goal, squeezing a low pass under the goalkeeper for the streaking Ramirez to tap home from close range.

Neymar came on as a second-half substitute for his first competitive game since fracturing a vertebra at the World Cup. He missed last weekend's league opener with a sprained left ankle.

Barcelona has two wins in two games, and Real Madrid tried to keep pace when it played at Real Sociedad in a late game.

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ENGLAND

Liverpool had the look of Premier League title challengers again during a 3-0 win at Tottenham, while Arsenal's scoring struggles were once more exposed in a 1-1 draw at Leicester.

Alexis Sanchez scored in the 20th minute, his first league goal for Arsenal since joining from Barcelona. The goal was offset within two minutes by Leonardo Ulloa's header for newly promoted Leicester.

Liverpool, though, recovered from its setback at Manchester City at the start of the week with a convincing performance at Tottenham. Newly signed striker Mario Balotelli made his debut, but the goals came from forward Raheem Sterling, captain Steven Gerrard's penalty and new defender Alberto Moreno.

Unbeaten Aston Villa beat Hull 2-1 for its second win in three games.

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ITALY

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