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Soccer PIX: Barca beaten; Atletico slump to biggest defeat

Last updated on: May 05, 2019 09:52 IST

IMAGE: Iago Aspas scores Celta Vigo's second goal from the penalty spot against Barcelona in Saturday's La Liga match. Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

Barcelona fell to their first La Liga defeat since November as the champions were beaten 2-0 at struggling Celta Vigo after making 11 changes but forward Ousmane Dembele suffered an injury setback ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game at Liverpool.

The win took Celta to 40 points and a step closer towards guaranteeing survival but it meant 19th-placed Rayo Vallecano became the first team to be relegated, after a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Levante left them on 31 points from 36 games.

 

Uruguay forward Maxi Gomez gave Celta a deserved lead in the 67th minute, sliding to the floor to divert a low pass beyond Barca’s reserve goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, after the home side saw a goal ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR review.

Celta’s captain and talisman Iago Aspas then sealed the win by converting from the penalty spot after another VAR review ruled that Barca’s Samuel Umtiti had handled the ball.

Barca’s players were given a guard of honour by Celta when they came out of the tunnel before kick off after lifting an eighth title in 11 seasons last Saturday by beating Levante 1-0 at the Nou Camp.

Many of the players who received the tribute, however, had done little to contribute to the title win.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were among a number of high profile players to be rested ahead of the trip to Anfield, where the Catalans are aiming to book their place in the Champions League final for the first time since 2015.

Dembele was one of few regular starters to face Celta but he had to be taken off in the sixth minute after hurting a muscle when attempting a sprint.

Barca said in a statement that Dembele had injured his right hamstring and that he would undergo further tests on Sunday, although the France forward is doubtful for the remainder of the campaign.

Barca, who lost for the first time since a 4-3 defeat to Real Betis nearly six months ago, have 83 points while second-placed Atletico have 74 after losing 3-0 at Espanyol earlier on Saturday.

Atletico slump to biggest defeat

Atletico Madrid

IMAGE: Borja Iglesias scores Espanyol's third goal from the penalty spot. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Atletico Madrid fell to their heaviest league defeat of the season as they were crushed 3-0 by Espanyol on Saturday, missing the chance to mathematically guarantee they finish second in La Liga ahead of neighbours Real Madrid.

Espanyol took the lead right before halftime when Atletico captain Diego Godin slid the ball into his own net as he scrambled to clear a cross from 20-year-old left back Adria Pedrosa, who had burst forward from his own area on the break.

The Catalans’ top scorer Borja Iglesias doubled the home side’s lead early in the second half as they again pounced on the counterattack after an Atletico giveaway, with the striker calmly tucking the ball past Jan Oblak from inside the box.

Espanyol missed several chances to score again but Iglesias deepened Atletico’s humiliation by converting from the penalty spot in the 89th minute and also completing his side’s biggest league win of the campaign.

Atletico, who have now lost six times this season, are second in the standings on 74 points after 36 matches, nine behind champions Barcelona who play at Celta Vigo later on Saturday, and nine ahead of Real, who host Villarreal on Sunday.

Espanyol climbed up to eighth with 47 points.

Neymar hits half-century as PSG are held by Nice

PSG

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Neymar celebrates scoring their first goal with Edinson Cavani and Marco Verratti. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Edinson Cavani missed a stoppage-time penalty as Paris St Germain continued their stuttering end to the season with a 1-1 Ligue 1 draw at home to Nice, with Neymar notching his 50th goal for the club.

The visitors took the lead early in the second half through Ignatius Ganago before the Brazilian equalised from the penalty spot.

PSG were then awarded a second spot kick late on following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review, but Walter Benitez saved Cavani's effort.

Thomas Tuchel's side have now won just one of their last seven games in all competitions, losing four and drawing two.

Despite the recent slump, PSG secured the Ligue 1 title last month and remain 17 points clear at the top of the table, while Nice are seventh on 52 points.

Bayern make hard work of table-propping 10-man Hanover 96

Bayern Munich

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry in action with Hannover's Miiko Albornoz. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich stuttered to a 3-1 win over bottom club Hanover 96 on Saturday as substitute Jonathas scored and was sent off in 10 eventful minutes for the visitors.

The Brazilian came on at halftime, converted a penalty six minutes later and was given two yellow cards -- the first for tussling with Bayern goalkeeper in the net -- within four minutes of each other.

Bayern moved closer to a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title as it put them on 74 points, five clear of Borussia Dortmund who visit Werder Bremen later on Saturday. Both teams have two games left after that.

Hanover were spared relegation for at least another week because VfB Stuttgart, who are in the relegation playoff spot, lost 3-1 at Hertha Berlin, leaving them six points clear of Thomas Doll's team.

Robert Lewandowski headed in from Joshua Kimmich's cross in the 27th minute and Bayern were cruising when Leon Goretzka scored with a low shot from the edge of the area, perfectly placed just inside Michael Esser's near post, in the 40th minute.

Kingsley Coman curled a ball just wide and Goretzka contrived to fire against the crossbar from six metres as Bayern threatened a rout.

The game took a different turn in the second half when Jerome Boateng blocked a Linton Maina shot with his elbow and the referee gave a penalty after consulting the VAR amid furious Bayern protests.

Jonathas converted but then pushed Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich as both players tried to collect the ball from the net.

Shortly afterwards, Jonathas was sent off for hitting Kimmich in the face as they went for the ball, although it appeared unintentional.

Bayern struggled against 10 men but finally sealed the points with six minutes left through veteran substitute Franck Ribery who collected a Coman pass, cut inside and scored with a deflected shot.

Oldest club Notts County relegated from Football League

Notts County -- the world's oldest professional football club -- have dropped out of the Football League for the first time after they were relegated from League Two following a 3-1 defeat at Swindon Town on Saturday.

County, founded in 1862, needed to beat Swindon and Macclesfield Town lose at home to Cambridge United to ensure they prolonged their stay in the Football League.

At one point, a great escape looked on as County took the lead at Swindon and Macclesfield trailed Cambridge with 65 minutes gone.

But moments after Macclesfield equalised, County were pegged back and they conceded two more goals to seal their relegation to the fifth tier of English football for the first time in their history.

Nuremberg closer to the drop after Wolfsburg defeat

Lowly Nuremberg moved closer to an immediate return to the second division when they were beaten 2-0 at VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The defeat left Nuremberg, who are one place off the bottom of the table, with 19 points, five adrift of VfB Stuttgart who are in the relegation playoff spot above them with two games each to play.

Stuttgart themselves lost 3-1 at Hertha Berlin, sparing Nuremberg the drop for at least one more week.

Wolfsburg, who are sixth and still challenging for a Champions League place, went ahead when Felix Kraus turned in a loose ball from close range in the 38th minute and Marcel Tisserand headed the second with 12 minutes left.

Wolfsburg have 52 points, two behind fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt who visit Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. The top four qualify for the Champions League.

Hertha Berlin ended a seven-match winless run as they saw off Stuttgart.

The match turned Hertha’s way in the five minutes before halftime as Vedad Ibisevic fired them ahead and Ondrej Duda turned in the second after Ron-Robert Zieler parried an Ibisevic shot.

Veteran Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou added a third for Hertha in the 67th minute before former Bayern Munich and Germany forward Mario Gomez pulled one back for Stuttgart.

Stuttgart were left six points behind Schalke 04 and will be forced at least into a relegation playoff if the Royal Blues take a point off Augsburg on Sunday.

Source: source
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