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Football PIX: Real Madrid draw with Sociedad; Everton win

March 02, 2021 09:13 IST
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Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior celebrates with Ferland Mendy after scoring their first goal against Real Sociedad at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid, on Tuesday

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior celebrates with Ferland Mendy after scoring their first goal against Real Sociedad at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid, on Tuesday. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr came off the bench to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad on Monday although the Spanish champions still lost momentum in the title race ahead of next week's showdown at leaders Atletico Madrid.

Still missing key players due to a litany of injuries, Zinedine Zidane's Madrid side hit the bar twice in the first half but the visitors took the lead in the 55th minute with a towering header from forward Portu.

 

Toni Kroos came close to levelling with a curling effort that just missed the target but Brazilian youngster Vinicius eventually found an equaliser in the 89th minute with a deflected effort from inside the area.

Madrid had the chance to move within three points of Atletico ahead of Sunday's derby but the draw left them third on 53 points from 25 games, level with second-placed Barcelona and five adrift of Diego Simeone's leaders, who have a game in hand.

"We had a good first half, we started the second badly then they scored a great goal. We got one back but there was no time left to get a second," said Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois.

The visitors felt they should have had been awarded a penalty in the first half when Nacho Monreal was felled by Casemiro, yet Madrid looked the more dangerous side despite only managing one shot on target before the break.

Striker Mariano's header was glanced onto the crossbar by Sociedad's Andoni Gorosabel while the loose ball fell to Marco Asensio, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner from which Raphael Varane header hit the top of the bar.

Casemiro fizzed a shot from distance just wide, while Luka Modric was the only player who actually tested visiting keeper Alex Remiro.

After taking the lead against the run of play through Portu's thumping header, Sociedad should have killed the game off as Alexander Isak narrowly failed to connect with a cross from Portu, while Robin Le Normand came close with a header.

Madrid lacked composure and ideas but maintained their hunger to find an equaliser and finally got one with a scrappy goal, Lucas Vazquez serving a low cross which bobbled around the box and was knocked in by Vinicius with the aid of a deflection.

"We leave here with a bad taste as we fought for 93 minutes and gave everything," said Sociedad's Portu.

"We tried to hold on for the win but they kept attacking and got the equaliser."

The draw leaves Sociedad fifth on 42 points from 25 matches, six behind fourth-placed Sevilla who have a game in hand.

Everton enjoy rare home win as Richarlison sinks Saints

Everton's Richarlison in action with Southampton's Stuart Armstrong

IMAGE: Everton's Richarlison in action with Southampton's Stuart Armstrong during their Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Pool via Reuters

Everton's Brazilian striker Richarlison struck early to secure a 1-0 win over ailing Southampton in the Premier League on Monday and compound the problems for the free-falling visitors who have taken one point from the last 27 available.

Seventh-placed Everton are now level with Liverpool on 43 points with a game in hand and still very much in the hunt for the European places, while Southampton remain in 14th spot, seven points above the relegation zone.

Everton had the better of the few chances as they claimed a first home victory in six games at Goodison Park.

Richarlison provided a neat finish to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s perfect through ball after nine minutes to secure the points after another toothless display from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

"A very good performance, I really appreciated the teamwork of the players. We deserved to win," Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

"To fight for the European places we have to improve our home form and this victory will help. It will be a dream to be in the top four at the end of the season."

It was a fifth goal in as many games for Richarlison after a slump at the turn of the year, but it owed a lot to the vision of Sigurdsson, who filled the playmaker role vacated by the injured James Rodriguez.

Home defender Michael Keane had the ball in the net from a free-kick midway through the first half, but Mason Holgate was correctly ruled offside in the build-up and the goal ruled out.

Everton found plenty of space from free-kick’s into the Saints box, and Keane twice lost his marker in the first 15 minutes of the second half but could not find the target.

As the game wore on and Everton sat back to protect their lead, Southampton finally created a couple of chances and may feel they should have come away with a point.

Moussa Djenepo fired just past the post when in acres of space on the right-hand side of the box and defender Jannik Vestergaard had a big opportunity in the dying minutes but could not steer the ball in with only keeper Jordan Pickford to beat.

"The goals are missing at the moment and without goals it is tough to win games. We have to work for the luck to come back," Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports.

"When you don't win games you get under pressure. But it is not the same team that played in the first half of the season because we have so many injuries."

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