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PIX: Real Madrid held to draw; Lazio floor Inter

February 17, 2020 10:20 IST
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IMAGE: Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring the second goal for Real Madrid. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid's La Liga title bid took a dent after Zinedine Zidane's leaders were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Celta Vigo on Sunday, denied all three points by a late strike from Santi Mina.

 

Mina latched on to a classy through ball from former Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez and produced a clinical low finish to equalise in the 85th minute, trimming Real's lead over Barcelona to one point.

Celta took an early lead through Russian striker Fedor Smolov and Real struggled to respond, leading to the home fans booing their players off the pitch when the halftime whistle was blown.

But the league leaders came out stronger after the break and Toni Kroos levelled in the 52nd minute, shortly after Real captain Sergio Ramos had a goal ruled out for offside.

Ramos then scored from the penalty spot to put Zidane's side in front in the 65th minute after Eden Hazard, making his first outing in almost three months after recovering from an ankle injury, was tripped by Celta keeper Ruben Blanco.

"Dropping two points at home hurts me a lot," Zidane told reporters.

"Celta are a good team that don't deserve to be near the bottom of the league but it's painful to lose the two points after we made such a big effort."

IMAGE: Toni Kroos celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Real Madrid. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real forward Gareth Bale meanwhile avoided a possible red card for a wild tackle on Celta's Rafinha, escaping with only a booking.

The draw ended a five-game winning streak in the league for the leaders and left them on 53 points after 24 games, one ahead of second-placed Barcelona who beat Getafe 2-1 at home on Saturday.

Celta, who had lost on their last seven league visits to the Santiago Bernabeu, climbed out of the relegation zone into 17th place in the standings.

"I'm happy with my performance, not so happy with the draw but I think we can do better in our next game," said Hazard.

"When you are winning 2-1 you should win the game. They are good players but they came here just to defend, they had only two chances and scored two goals."

Lazio go second as second-half fightback floors Inter

IMAGE: Lazio's players celebrate after winning their match against Inter Milan. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Lazio mounted a superb second-half comeback at the Olympic Stadium to beat Inter Milan 2-1 and move above Antonio Conte's side into second place in Serie A on Sunday.

The visitors drew first blood when Ashley Young fired home his first Inter goal on the brink of halftime.

But Lazio drew level through a Ciro Immobile penalty early in the second half, before Sergej Milinkovic-Savic found space in a crowded box to curl in the winner on the 69th minute.

The victory moved Lazio into second on 56 points, one behind leaders Juventus and two ahead of Inter in third.

The result also saw the Roman club extend their club record unbeaten run in Serie A to 19 games as they ended Inter's own sequence of 16 games without a league defeat.

"We played a great game tonight," Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.

"In the first half we were so convinced we would win that we allowed a few avoidable Inter counter-attacks.

"At halftime, I said that if we continued to play like that with a little more quality in the final ball, we could turn this around and win the game."

Lazio came agonisingly close to the lead after just nine minutes when Milinkovic-Savic's long-range shot cannoned back off the crossbar.

But it was Inter who broke the deadlock a minute before the interval, when Thomas Strakosha parried an Antonio Candreva shot into the path of Young, who fired a volley off the ground and into the roof of the net.

The hosts mustered a rapid response in the second half when Immobile was bundled over from behind by former Lazio defender Stefan De Vrij, and the Italy striker dispatched the resulting penalty to take his tally for the season to 26 league goals.

Lazio took the lead when Marcelo Brozovic's goal-line clearance from an Adam Marusic shot fell into the path of Milinkovic-Savic, who found a pocket of space and guided a composed finish into the bottom corner.

"I thought it was a very balanced game, neither team dominated the other," said Inter coach Conte.

"It was decided by two goals that in my view were entirely avoidable."

Bayern score three in first 12 minutes to return to top

IMAGE: Robert Lewandowski maintained his average of over a goal a game this season as he gave Bayern Munich the lead in the third minute. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Bayern Munich scored three goals in a devastating opening 12 minutes as they thumped Cologne 4-1 away on Sunday to go back to the top of the Bundesliga.

Robert Lewandowski maintained his average of over a goal a game this season as he put the Bavarians ahead in the third minute and goals from Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry left Cologne reeling.

After Cologne had two goals disallowed for offside, Gnabry added a fourth in the 65th minute before Mark Uth scored a consolation for the Billy Goats, who deserved more for their second-half effort.

Bayern, chasing an eighth successive title, have 46 points from 22 games, one ahead of RB Leipzig who had gone top with a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday. Cologne are 14th with 23 points and have a six-point cushion over the relegation playoff spot.

"We could have scored 10 goals but we could have conceded a few more," said Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

His opposite number Timo Horn said that Cologne "just went to sleep for the first few minutes."

"In the first half, you could see that we are still in the development phase," said Cologne coach Markus Gisdol.

"Bayern used their quality extremely effectively. We were too passive, we gave them too much room and didn't go forward with enough courage."

Bayern's opening goal came after a throw-in led to a quick exchange of passes which freed Lewandowski to fire his shot into the roof of the net for his 23rd league goal of the season and 36th in all competitions.

Two minutes later, Bayern sliced open the Cologne defence with incisive passing and Coman placed his shot under Horn.

It got worse for the hosts when a corner flew over the Cologne area and landed at the feet of Gnabry, who took it past a defender and drilled his shot into the bottom corner.

Bayern, who were sixth in early December, had 18 shots on goal in the first half and could easily have doubled their tally as Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich hit the Cologne woodwork and Thomas Mueller scooped another effort over the crossbar.

Cologne pulled themselves together after the break and Jhon Cordoba twice had the ball in the net but both efforts were ruled out for offside, the first after a long VAR delay.

But it was Bayern who scored again when Gnabry collected the ball in midfield, ran into the heart of the Cologne defence and curled his effort past Horn in the 65th minute.

Uth pulled one back in the 70th minute and Neuer needed to make several saves to keep the hosts at bay.

Sixth-placed Schalke 04 lost ground on the Champions League places with a 0-0 draw at Mainz 05 in Sunday's other game.

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