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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Atletico keep pressure on Barca; Neymar on target for PSG

Football Briefs: Atletico keep pressure on Barca; Neymar on target for PSG

Last updated on: February 10, 2018 21:33 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Griezmann's early strike helps Atletico keep pressure on Barca

Antoine Griezmann

IMAGE: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico de Madrid celebrates scoring. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann struck after 39 seconds as Atletico Madrid beat Malaga 1-0 on Saturday to provisionally close the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to six points.

 

Diego Simeone's second-placed side went ahead almost instantly when Griezmann capitalised on Saul Niguez's deflected strike falling at his feet close to goal.

Jan Oblak saved a Roberto Rosales free kick in the second half as Atletico kept their opponents at bay to earn a narrow victory in typical fashion.

Malaga, glued to the bottom of the table, have picked up two points in their last eight games.

Neymar on target as PSG extend Ligue 1 lead

IMAGE: Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar in action. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Paris St Germain were made to wait as Neymar struck in the second half to earn them a 1-0 win at Toulouse that extended the Ligue 1 leaders' advantage to 13 points on Saturday.

The Brazil forward struck in the 68th minute to put PSG on 65 points from 25 games with arch-rivals and second-placed Olympique de Marseille on 52 after a 2-2 draw at St Etienne on Friday.

Monaco will take second place if they win at Angers later on Saturday (1900GMT).

Toulouse, who are 15th on 26 points and only one point above safety, held firm in the first half thanks to a spirited performance by keeper Alban Lafont.

But like most of PSG's opponents this season, they eventually cracked even if coach Unai Emery had rested top striker Edinson Cavani ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 clash at Real Madrid.

Neymar collected Angel Di Maria's cross and found the back of the net as his curled shot was slightly deflected by Toulouse captain Issa Diop.

He came close to doubling the tally 10 minutes later but his right-foot effort crashed on to the post.

Neymar hit the woodwork again in the 80th when his shot struck Lafont's crossbar as PSG finished strongly.

Batshuayi strikes again for Dortmund as Reus returns

Borussia Dortmund

IMAGE: Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates. Photograph: Leon Kuegeler/Reuters

Michy Batshuayi scored his third goal in two games since joining Borussia Dortmund as they celebrated the return of Marco Reus from injury with a 2-0 win over troubled SV Hamburg in the Bundesliga.

Mario Goetze added the second to take Dortmund third and push the Dinos - the only ever-present club in the Bundesliga's 55-year history - a step closer to relegation.

Reus was included in the starting line-up for his first match since suffering a knee injury in the German Cup final last May and was involved in the opening goal four minutes into the second half.

His cross found Christian Pulisic who slid the ball to the far post where Batshuayi, who signed on loan from Chelsea 10 days ago, scored into an empty net.

Goetze, himself struggling in an injury-hit season, finished off a counter-attack by dinking the ball over Christian Mathenia in stoppage time for his second goal of the season.

Dortmund have 37 points, one behind RB Leipzig, while runaway leaders Bayern Munich, on 53, host Schalke 04 in the evening match.

Hamburg are 17th in the 18-team table with 17 points, three adrift of Mainz 05 who are in the relegation playoff spot

Bayer Leverkusen (35 points) missed a chance to go second when they lost 2-0 at home to Hertha Berlin.

Gattuso's Milan continue revival with 4-0 win at SPAL

AC Milan continued their revival under Gennaro Gattuso with an emphatic 4-0 win at SPAL in Serie A, extending their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions.

Striker Patrick Cutrone scored two of their goals and midfielder Lucas Biglia was on target for the first time since his move from Lazio in the close season.

Cutrone, a Milan product who was preferred in the starting line-up to 38 million euro signing Andre Silva, put Milan ahead with a close-range goal in the second minute after SPAL goalkeeper Alex Meret parried Alessio Romagnoli's header.

Milan survived a tricky patch before the 20-year-old struck again in the 65th minute from another rebound after Meret saved Suso's curling shot.

This time, there was an element of fortune as Cutrone's first effort struck the post but ricocheted straight back at him and into the net.

Bigla took advantage of a mix-up in the SPAL defence to add the third and substitute Fabio Borini completed the scoring in the last minute, leaving Milan seventh on 38 points.

"There is always something that needs improving, for example we suffered too much after the first goal," said Gattuso, who took over in November for his first Serie A coaching role after Vincenzo Montella was sacked.

"Now we have to look forward and forget this win. We have to keep on working, thinking about the next game."

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