Boateng gives Frankfurt win as fans protest Monday football

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Fans throw tennis balls on the pitch as they protest against scheduling football games on Mondays (Montagsspiele) during the German Bundesliga football match between Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday. — AFP

BERLIN — Kevin-Prince Boateng fired Eintracht Frankfurt to a 2-1 victory over RB Leipzig on Monday in a game overshadowed by protests against the introduction of Monday fixtures in the Bundesliga. Frankfurt turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in the space of four minutes in the first half, securing victory over their top six rivals and climbing to third in the table.

"We want to stay up at the top," Boateng told Eurosport. "If we get to Europe, it will have been an incredible season." Having started the weekend in second, Leipzig dropped to fifth. The game was the first of five Monday fixtures to be scheduled this season, a development which has invited fierce criticism from fan groups across Germany.

Kick-off was delayed by four minutes as Frankfurt fans were allowed into the area between the stands and the advertising boards to protest. "As a Bundesliga club, we have to accept this and be able to deal with protest culture," Frankfurt board member Axel Hellmann had told regional television station Hessische Rundfunk in the build-up to the match.

Banners were raised reading "Eintracht says no to Mondays" and "the street takes football back". The game began to boos, and the fans maintained a chorus of whistling throughout. With 12 minutes played, Konrad Laimer launched a darting run into the box to set-up Jean-Kevin Augustin, who swept in the opener for Leipzig.

Ten minutes later, Timothy Chandler got the better of Laimer at the far post to stab home the equalizer for Frankfurt. Even when Boateng fired Frankfurt in front on 26 minutes, the celebrations remained muted as the protests continued.

Leipzig were awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark, only to see the decision reversed by VAR. The second half was also delayed as Frankfurt fans launched toilet paper and tennis balls onto the pitch.

"It is obviously not a normal evening, but everything unfolded peacefully," injured Frankfurt forward Alex Meier told Eurosport. Protests are set to continue next Monday, with fans threatening to boycott Borussia Dortmund's home game against Augsburg.

Immobile double ends crisis and lifts Lazio

Ciro Immobile scored twice in a five-minute blitz to end Lazio's three-match Serie A losing streak and lift the Roman side up to fourth with a 2-0 victory over Verona on Monday. Immobile grabbed his first after 55 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico and doubled his account five minutes later to bring his tally to a Serie A-leading 22 goals this season.

"We've won an important match," said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi ahead of hosting Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League last 32 second leg on Thursday after losing 1-0 in Romania last week. "I saw the guys were tense but I told them to stay calm. Once the result was unlocked everything became easier."

Lazio overtake Inter Milan, who drop out of the Champions League places into fifth after their 2-0 loss in Genoa on Saturday. Verona remain stuck second from bottom after their seventh defeat in eight games. Napoli matched Juventus with a 1-0 win over SPAL on Sunday to hold top spot in Italy ahead of the champions who won the Turin derby by the same score.

The two Serie A pacesetters both bounced back from European setbacks to claim their ninth consecutive league wins. Lazio were wasteful in the first half with Immobile missing two early chances and Luis Alberto also unsuccessfully trying his luck from distance before rattling the crossbar on 33 minutes.

Immobile finally got the breakthrough off a Luis Alberto cross 10 minutes after the break. Moments later the Spanish midfielder sent the ball wide before Immobile headed in a rebound after Brazilian goalkeeper Nicolas blocked a Senad Lulic shot.

Luis Alberto almost added a third with a curling effort but Nicolas pushed it over the bar.

The victory comes after club sporting director Igli Tare revealed Lazio had withdrawn their contract renewal offer for Dutch international center-back Stefan de Vrij.

Getafe defeats Celta Vigo 3-0

Getafe followed its surprise draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou Stadium with a comfortable 3-0 win against Celta Vigo on Monday, halting its four-game winless streak in the Spanish league.

After holding off the league leader in the previous round, Getafe took care of mid-table Celta with a pair of goals by Angel Rodriguez and another by Jorge Molina.

The southern Madrid club had drawn four straight matches in the league. Getafe moved to ninth in the standings. Celta dropped to 11th, staying one point behind Getafe.

The win at Alfonso Perez Coliseum increased Getafe's unbeaten streak to six matches. Celta has only one point from its last three games.

Rodriguez opened the scoring shortly before halftime with a great run following a breakaway that started with a bad pass by Celta star Iago Aspas in the attack.

The Getafe forward set up the second goal less than 10 minutes into the second half by sending a perfect low cross to Molina inside the area, then closed the scoring a few minutes from the end with a shot from close range after a long pass by Mauro Arambarri. — Agencies


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