Argentinos Abroad: Higuaín & Dybala keep Juve on top, Papu impresses, Messi free kick saves Barça, Di María nets in rout, Agüero on target in cup plus much more


In the first Argentinos Abroad of 2017 we take a quick look over all those who caught the eye whilst plying their trades in various leagues around the globe. Any that you feel deserved a mention and are not here then feel free to leave a comment.

Serie A got back underway after the Christmas break and Juventus showed no signs of letting their foot off the gas with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bologna thanks to the Argentine strikeforce of Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Dybala. Pipita’s smart volley sneaked under Antonio Mirante before Dybala tucked away a penalty to double the lead. Higuaín added a simple header after half time to wrap up the points and ensure the Bianconeri remained four clear.

Roma remained on the pace after a 1-0 win over Genoa in which Federico Fazio excelled in central defence, city rivals Lazio also kept up despite Lucas Biglia missing from the penalty spot and Mauro Icardi’s fine season continued with another assist in Inter Milan’s 2-1 win away at Udinese.

Atalanta’s excellent form resumed and once more Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gómez was at the centre of it. The 28-year-old scored twice inside the opening 23 minutes to set La Dea on course for a 4-1 win against Chievo.

Barcelona’s title challenge may now be over but Lionel Messi’s wonderful 90th minute free kick saved Luis Enrique’s side from defeat away to Villarreal. Having already hit the inside of the post it looked as though Barça’s luck was out but Messi salvaged a point to avoid a loss but fall potentially eight points behind Real Madrid.

Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla leapfrogged Barcelona into second after an impressive 4-0 win away to Real Sociedad. Goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli will perhaps not want to see the visitors’ opening goal again but the 24-year-old could hardly be blamed for the defeat.

In France, Paris Saint-Germain made light work of Bastia in the Coupe de France with Ángel Di María coming off the bench to score the sixth in a 7-0 win. Julian Draxler enjoyed a scoring debut but unfortunately Giovani Lo Celso will need to wait for his first official start.

England was also focused on cup competition with the Premier League sides beginning their FA Cup campaigns in the third round. Sergio Agüero scored the fourth in Manchester City’s convincing 5-0 win over West Ham United in the London Stadium while city rivals, Manchester United also cruised into the next round with a 4-0 win against Reading but lost Marcos Rojo to a muscular injury.

Despite the blizzard conditions, Sebastián Leto headed a late winner for Panathinaikos against Kerkyra in the Greek Super League. It was the former Lanús forward’s fourth of the season but one less than ex-Newell’s player Martín Tonso, who struck a brace in Atromitos’ 2-0 win against Levadiakos.

Finally, just a couple of weeks after Tigres were crowned Apertura champions, Liga MX’s Clausura got underway. Toluca were the big winners despite falling behind to Atlas in the opening minute thanks in part to Pablo Barrientos and Gabriel Hauche. Both created goals and Barrientos scored the third in a 4-1 win that put Los Diablos Rojos top after round one.

Pachuca also enjoyed an impressive start and twice came from behind to beat Club León in the Nou Camp. Former Racing and Vélez midfielder Maxi Moralez looked to have the home side in control with an assist and a goal but Los Tuzos could not be denied and while Hirving Lozano was the real star of the show with a hat-trick, Franco Jara scored the second from the penalty spot.

Alexis Canelo made an excellent start to the season with a first half double against Monterrey but couldn’t prevent Puebla slipping to a 3-2 defeat.

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