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Football PIX: Barca made to sweat; Juventus extend lead

Last updated on: February 11, 2019 11:27 IST

Barcelona

IMAGE: Athletic Bilbao's Inigo Martinez in action with Barcelona's Luis Suarez. Photograph: Vincent West/Reuters

La Liga leaders Barcelona handed Real Madrid more hope in the title race as they drew 0-0 at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, only avoiding defeat thanks to some outstanding saves by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The Germany keeper twice thwarted forward Inaki Williams and kept out a stinging drive from Markel Susaeta in an intense and entertaining game in which the champions came under heavy pressure throughout.

 

Barca top the standings with 51 points after 23 games, six ahead of a resurgent Real Madrid.

With Lionel Messi hampered by a recent thigh problem and influential left back Jordi Alba suspended, Barca were far from their usual best, creating few clear opportunities and ending the game defending deep as Bilbao continued to attack.

The impressive hosts were left frustrated by the sending off of Oscar de Marcos in added time for a second yellow card, but there was barely any time left for Barca to take advantage and they had to settle for a second straight league stalemate after last week's 2-2 draw at home to Valencia.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde was still upbeat about his side's position in the title race, even though in the last nine days they have dropped four points.

Ronaldo strikes again as Juventus extend Serie A lead

Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo strikes. Photograph: Juventus FC/Twitter

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 20th goal for Juventus helped the Italian champions restore an 11-point lead in Serie A with a 3-0 win at Sassuolo on Sunday.

The Portuguese rose to head in a corner after 70 minutes, his 18th league goal and one that means he has now scored at least 20 times in all competitions in each of the last 13 seasons representing Juve, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Juventus dropped points for just the third time this season when they were held by Parma last weekend to allow second-placed Napoli to reduce the gap to nine points.

But Massimiliano Allegri's side re-established a comfortable advantage with victory at the Mapei Stadium after Napoli drew with Fiorentina on Saturday.

The home side started brightly as Filip Djuricic raced clear only for Wojciech Szczesny to get a hand on the ball as the forward attempted to go around him, and the Pole was called into action again when he palmed away Manuel Locatelli’s shot from distance.

Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli’s sloppy clearance was punished after 23 minutes when Ronaldo pounced on the loose ball and fired a powerful shot at goal which was parried, only for Sami Khedira to knock in the rebound.

Ronaldo then had a neat finish disallowed for offside before Szczesny took a poor touch near the centre circle to offer Domenico Berardi a clear sight of goal, but the Italy international’s long-range effort was just wide of an unguarded net.

Ronaldo, who leads the Serie A scoring charts, doubled his side’s lead by nodding in from six yards and Emre Can came off the substitute’s bench to finish off a flowing team move with a low finish four minutes from time.

The result leaves unbeaten Juventus on top with 63 points from 23 matches, while Sassuolo remain 11th on 30 points.

Wasteful Lyon lose ground in race for second as Lille win

Lyon

IMAGE: Nice's Allan Saint-Maximin in action. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Olympique Lyonnais lost 1-0 at Nice after having two goals disallowed as they conceded ground in the race for second place in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Lyon succombed to Remi Walter's second-half penalty and are now six points behind second-placed Lille, who won 2-0 at En Avant Guingamp to take their tally to 49 points from 24 games.

Runaway leaders Paris St Germain, who beat Girondins Bordeaux 1-0 on Saturday, have 59 points from 22 matches.

Bruno Genesio's side dominated the first half and thought they had opened the scoring in the 15th minute through Bertrand Traore but Nabil Fekir, who set him up, was ruled offside.

Three minutes later, Fekir put the ball past goalkeeper Walter Benitez but the goal was disallowed because Moussa Dembele, who was in front of the striker, was offside.

The visitors continued to push forward but the Nice defence held firm and in the 69th minute a Tanguy Ndombele foul gave Patrick Vieira's side a penalty, which was converted by Walter.

The result took Nice up to seventh place on 37 points.

Lille won at Guingamp with second-half goals by Rafael Leao and Loic Remy, who sealed the win with a stoppage-time penalty.

New signings strike as Milan beat Cagliari

AC Milan’s January signings Krzysztof Piatek and Lucas Paqueta were both on the scoresheet after an own goal put the hosts on the way to a 3-0 win over Cagliari and a return to fourth place in Serie A on Sunday.

Cagliari’s Luca Ceppitelli could do nothing to avoid putting through his own goal in the 13th minute to open the scoring before Paqueta broke his Milan duck nine minutes later.

Piatek, who got 13 league goals for Genoa before joining Milan last month, scored just past the hour for his fourth in four appearances for his new club, finding the net against a 13th different Serie A opponent this season in the process.

Milan are again in fourth place with 39 points, four points behind Inter Milan in third but a point clear of AS Roma, Atalanta and Lazio, who are all in the hunt for a Champions League qualifying spot and won at the weekend.

The Rossoneri were therefore under pressure to deliver a result and they produced a dominant display against a Cagliari team that has not won away to Milan since May 1997.

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