News of all that's transpired on and off the football field
Cristiano Ronaldo struck late with a bullet header to give Real Madrid a 2-1 win at Eibar in La Liga on Saturday, taking his side to within four points of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo scored for the seventh successive game in all competitions by blasting into the net in the 34th minute after chesting down a long ball by Luka Modric, but eighth-placed Eibar pegged the champions back when Ivan Ramis outjumped Sergio Ramos to head home from a corner in the 50th.
Ronaldo was denied by an inspired save by Eibar's Marko Dmitrovic, who clawed away the Portuguese's header following a cross from Gareth Bale.
The irrepressible striker had the final say, however, meeting a cross from Dani Carvajal in the area and powering the ball beyond the Serbian goalkeeper in the 84th minute, scoring a 13th goal in his last seven games in all competitions.
Real are third in the Liga standings on 57 points, 12 behind runaway leaders Barcelona, who visit basement club Malaga later on Sunday. Atletico host Celta Vigo on Sunday.
'Nature calls' for Real captain Ramos
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos took an unexpected pitstop during his side's La Liga game against Eibar on Saturday, running from the pitch and down the tunnel to go for an emergency toilet break.
Ramos spoke to referee Jose Luis Munuera Montero in the 73rd minute of the game then darted off to the visiting dressing room, with Real match delegate Miguel Noguera, known as Chendo, going in to check on the player after a few minutes.
The Spain international returned to the pitch in the 78th minute, shortly before Cristiano Ronaldo struck the winning goal in a 2-1 win for Zinedine Zidane's side.
The French coach started laughing when he was asked about the incident in the post-match news conference and said "he went for a s**t."
Ramos poked fun at himself after the game on social media, tweeting "nature calls" along with a picture of him and Ronaldo celebrating the goal.
ISL: Chennaiyin FC rally to hold FC Goa to 1-1 draw
Chennaiyin FC rallied to hold FC Goa to a 1-1 draw in the second semi-final of the Indian Super League in Margao on Saturday with the visitors heading home with an away goal advantage.
After a barren first half, FC Goa, who had the lion’s share of possession and exchanges, took the lead in the 64th minute through Manuel Lanzorate.
But Chennaiyin FC, who defended well and came up with dangerous counter moves, restored parity in the 71st minute through substitute Anirudh Thapa.
With this result, Chennaiyin FC, who are now heading home to play the second leg of the semi-final, have the away goal advantage and now need just a goalless draw against FC Goa March 13 to advance to the summit clash.
Backed by a vociferous home crowd, FC Goa went into attacking mode from the start and enjoyed better share of ball possession.
Mandar Rao Desai, who posed a lot of threat on the left, came up with a 25-yard shot which rival keeper Karanjit Singh did well to put the ball out by diving to his right.
Chennaiyin FC, who did well in defending their citadel for better part of the first half, too came up with dangerous counter-attacks with Jeje and Gregory Nelson's low shot narrowly missing the target.
Changing over the visitors had two golden chances to take lead.
First Jeje, who went past defender Juste, saw his effort being blocked by keeper Kattimani in the 48th minute before Nelson Alves's try was brilliantly saved by the custodian.
After the close shaves, the home team quickly settled down into a rhythm and made inroads into the rival box but Chennaiyin FC put up stiff resistance until the home team finally drew the first blood in the 64th minute.
From the left, Mandar Rao Dessai sent a cross inside the box for Ferran Corominas who took a crack at the goal which keeper dived to his right and blocked the shot, but the deflection landed on Manuel Lanzarote's feet who slammed the ball into the net.
But FC Goa's joy was short-lived as the visitors found the equaliser seven minutes later.
A quick build up on the left saw Gregory Nelson get past rival defender inside the box and laid a through pass to substitute Anirudh Thapa, who got the better of a rival defender before despatching the ball into the net.
Both the teams made couple of changes in the final stages to break the deadlock but they failed as they match ended in a stalemate.
Bayern close in on title and send Hamburg nearer to relegation
Bayern Munich closed in on a sixth successive title and sent Hamburg SV closer to a first-ever relegation from the Bundesliga with a 6-0 rout of the beleaguered Dinos on Saturday.
Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick and missed a penalty as he reached 100 Bundesliga goals for Bayern in an embarrassingly one-sided match which was over as a contest after 20 minutes.
It was a sadly familiar story for Hamburg who have conceded 50 goals in their last eight Bundesliga games at Bayern, including two 6-0 defeats, two 8-0 losses and one 9-2 reverse.
Leaders Bayern stayed 20 points clear of Schalke 04, who won 1-0 at Mainz 05 on Friday, with eight games to go and are only two wins away from clinching the title.
Hamburg, the only ever-present team in the Bundesliga's 55-year history, will now have to pull off a great escape to keep their proud record intact. They are 17th in the 18-team table and seven points adrift of Mainz in the relegation playoff spot.
Hoffenheim added to VfL Wolfsburg's problems with a 3-0 win which left their opponents in 15th place and ahead of Mainz only on goal difference.
Nico Schulz and Serge Gnabry scored for seventh-placed Hoffenheim before Joshua Guilavogui put through his own net.
Michael Gregoritsch scored twice to lead Augsburg to a 3-1 win at Hannover 96, who replied with a long-range effort from Salif Sane, while Hertha Berlin and Freiburg played out a goalless draw.
Messi misses Malaga game following birth of his son
La Liga leaders Barcelona allowed Lionel Messi to miss their fixture at Malaga on Saturday following the birth of his third son.
"A last minute change to the FC Barcelona squad. Leo Messi has withdrawn for personal reasons and Yerry Mina takes his place," said the statement on the club's official website (www.fcbarcelona.com)
It is the first time this season that Messi, La Liga's top scorer with 24 goals, has not been included in the matchday squad for a league game. He has started 26 of Barca's 27 games, while he came off the bench against Espanyol on Feb. 4.
Barca lead the Liga standings on 69 points, enjoying an eight-point lead over nearest challengers Atletico
AIFF withdraws interim suspension on FC Pune City coach
All India Football Federation's disciplinary committee on Saturday provisionally withdrew the suspension imposed on Indian Super League franchise FC Pune City's coach, Ranko Popovic.
Ushanath Banerjee, disciplinary committee's chairman, in a revised interim decision, said, "…in the interest of fair play and in particular forthcoming semi-final match of FC Pune City, the interim suspension imposed upon Mr. Popovic is provisionally withdrawn subject to FC Pune City providing in writing an undertaking that there would be not an iota of indiscipline on the part of Mr. Popovic nor there would be any scope of complain against him till final adjudication of the subject issue following hearing on 16/3/2018."
The revised decision allows the PuneCity coach to be on the technical line for the second leg of their semi-final match against Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.
De Rossi helps Roma win on emotional night
AS Roma captain Daniele De Rossi was among the scorers as they beat mid-table Torino 3-0 in Serie A on Friday and boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
De Rossi helped his team win after attending the Florence funeral on Thursday of his friend and former Roma and Italy team mate Davide Astori, who was found dead on Sunday aged 31.
There was a minute's silence for the Fiorentina captain before kickoff on an emotional night at the Stadio Olimpico.
The match was goalless until 10 minutes into the second half when Roma's Greek international Kostas Manolas headed them in front and then dedicated his goal to the memory of Astori.
De Rossi pounced on Radja Nainggolan's headed ball forward to knock in Roma's second in the 73rd, while his replacement Lorenzo Pellegrini wrapped up the win in stoppage time.
Roma are third in Serie A on 56 points, four ahead of city rivals Lazio who travel to Cagliari on Sunday and five in front of Inter Milan who host leaders Napoli in that day's late game.
Monaco cement second place with 3-1 victory at Strasbourg
Monaco consolidated second place in Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win at Racing Strasbourg thanks to three first-half goals on Friday.
Stevan Jovetic, Rony Lopes and Fabinho all scored for the visitors with the hosts equalising through Stephane Bahoken.
Monaco have 63 points from 29 games and lead Olympique de Marseille, who are third with a game in hand, by seven points. Paris St Germain, who host Metz on Saturday, are top on 74.
Strasbourg's defeat leaves them in 15th spot on 31 points, three points above the relegation zone. Jovetic scored after five minutes, heading home Djibril Sidibe’s cross from the right, before Strasbourg drew level through Bahoken, who netted from close range in the 19th.
However, Monaco had too much firepower for the hosts and went ahead again two minutes later when Lopes scored with an effort on the turn after a fine cross by Keita Balde.
Balde was on hand again four minutes before halftime, perfectly setting up the unmarked Fabinho who doubled the principality side's advantage with a right-foot effort.
Schalke tighten hold on second place with win at Mainz
In-form Schalke 04 edged past hosts Mainz 05 1-0 on Friday thanks to Daniel Caligiuri's spectacular second half winner to tighten their hold on second place in the Bundesliga and open up a four-point gap to their followers.
Caligiuri sliced past the Mainz defence and fired in an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box ten minutes after the restart to lift Schalke to 46 points with their fourth league win in a row.
Mainz were in control after the goal but failed to beat Schalke keeper Ralf Faehrmann despite several clear scoring chances.
Bayern Munich top the table on 63 points and host strugglers Hamburg SV on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt, four points behind Schalke 04 in third and fourth place, face each other on Sunday as all battle for a top three finish and an automatic Champions League group stage spot next season.