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European roundup: Leverkusen hold on to beat Freiburg; Inter held by Napoli



Bayer Leverkusen held on to win 3-2 at Freiburg to reopen their 10-point lead over Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Florian Wirtz put the visitors, who are unbeaten across all competitions this season, in front after two minutes with a scintillating solo run but Ritsu Doan’s clever shot in the 10th minute drew Freiburg level.

Leverkusen, who face West Ham in the Europa League quarter-finals next month, deservedly regained their lead five minutes before half-time. Adam Hlozek tapped in from close range after Freiburg keeper Noah Atubolu had spilled the ball into his path after superb work from Wirtz.

Patrik Schick gave Xabi Alonso’s side a two-goal cushion with a stunning flick that went in off the post in the 53rd minute. Leverkusen eased off, though, allowing Yannik Keitel to pull one back with 10 minutes to go. Wirtz then struck the post before Kiliann Sildillia missed a golden change to equalise with a stoppage-time header.

Wolfsburg have fired their head coach, Niko Kovac, after Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Augsburg, the team’s 11th straight league game without a win. “We regret this development but regard it as necessary to give the team a new impulse, in order to stabilise the situation,” said the club’s managing director, Marcel Schäfer.

In Serie A, the runaway leaders Internazionale drew 1-1 with Napoli after Matteo Darmian’s first-half goal was cancelled out by a late header from Juan Jesus.

Napoli’s Hamed Traorè (left) attempts to get away from Inter’s Matteo Darmian. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/EPA

Inter deservedly broke the deadlock two minutes before the break when Alessandro Bastoni delivered a cross into the box and an unmarked Darmian finished first time. While Inter controlled most of the match, their usually solid defence slipped up in the 81st minute as a Napoli corner was deflected to an unmarked Juan Jesus, who headed in the equaliser to grab a share of the spoils.

Inter are top with 76 points, 14 ahead of Milan, who won 3-1 at struggling Verona with Theo Hernández, Christian Pulisic and Samuel Chukwueze all on target for the visitors.

Left-back Hernández opened the scoring just before half-time when he drilled the ball home from a tight angle. Pulisic doubled Milan’s lead at the start of the second period as the US forward pounced on a rebound to net from close range. Tijjani Noslin gave Verona a lifeline with a thunderous strike but any hopes of a comeback were ended when Milan substitute Samuel Chukwueze volleyed home in the 79th minute.

Milan are three points clear of Juventus in second place, after the Bianconeri lost ground in a goalless home draw with mid-table Genoa.

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Kylian Mbappé scored his second hat-trick in Ligue 1 this season as the leaders, Paris Saint-Germain, won 6-2 at Montpellier, securing their first league win in four matches. PSG, with 59 points from 26 matches, extended their lead at the top over Brest to 12 points while Montpellier, with 26 points, remain one point above the relegation playoff spot.

The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute when Mbappé’s cross from the left found Vitinha who evaded two defenders to score from the edge of the box. Mbappé scored eight minutes later after a one-two with Randal Kolo Muani. Montpellier drew level before the break with Arnaud Nordin scoring on the half-hour mark before Teji Savanier converted a penalty in first-half added time after the PSG goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, brought down Tanguy Coulibaly.

Mbappé restored PSG’s lead in the 50th minute, three minutes before Lee Kang-in scored the fourth. Mbappe netted his third goal soon after with an assist from Vitinha, who also set up Nuno Mendes for PSG’s sixth in the 89th minute.

Monaco’s Champions League hopes were hit by their former player as Tiémoué Bakayoko earned a late point for lowly Lorient in a 2-2 draw. Adi Hütter’s side also missed the chance to climb above Brest into second, after the Bretons were held to a 1-1 draw by Lille.

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