Stoichkov and Brazilians in unstoppable form

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The Independent Online
Hristo Stoichkov and the Brazilians, Ronaldo and Giovanni, turned Barcelona's game with Logrones into a personal goalscoring battle, as Bobby Robson's side swept back to the top of the Spanish First Division with an 8-0 win yesterday.

All three players scored twice against a team that ended the game with just nine players. At one stage the fiery Stoichkov - whose return to Nou Camp has been overshadowed by Ronaldo's goalscoring exploits - had to wrestle the ball from his team-mates in order to take a penalty.

With 20 points from eight games, Barcelona are two ahead of Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna, after both sides scored comfortable wins on Saturday. The Croatian Davor Suker helped himself to a hat-trick as Real came from behind to beat Real Sociedad 6-1.

George Weah and Roberto Baggio helped the Italian champions, Milan, put successive league and European Cup defeats behind them to defeat Napoli 3-1 and open a one-point lead at the top of Serie A.

With five defeats in 11 competitive matches, including a 3-0 thrashing at Roma in their last league outing, Milan were determined to shake off reports of a crisis. But it took 40 minutes for the breakthrough when Baggio's inswinging free-kick created havoc in the Napoli defence, allowing Weah to turn home his sixth goal of the season.

Straight after the break, Weah combined neatly with Marco Simone to put Milan two up only for the Brazilian Andre Cruz to find another hole in the champions' defence with a 25-yard shot. Baggio then made it safe for Milan with a third goal.

Perugia's coach Giovanni Galeone, at odds with club owner Luciano Gaucci, came out of hospital after suffering heart pains and was told to win at Parma or leave - a get-well-soon gift with a difference.

In a remarkable performance, Galeone's players rallied to their besieged manager's aid, scoring two goals in a four-minute spell to inflict upon Parma their first home defeat of the season.

Hamburg and Karlsruhe, Germany's two outstanding sides in the Uefa Cup in midweek, came down to earth with a bump on Saturday as they crashed to Bundesliga defeats. Karlsruhe failed to add to their glittering 3-0 triumph over Roma, losing 3-1 to Werder Bremen. Hamburg, who had beaten Moscow Spartak 3-0, went down 2-0 away to Schalke to give the home side's Dutch coach, Huub Stevens, his first league win since taking over this month.

In the French league, Nigeria's Viktor Ikpeba, who scored twice for Monaco in their 4-2 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Uefa Cup last week, led Monaco to a 4-1 victory over neighbouring Nice.