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Soccer PIX: Leverkusen thump Schalke; Milan win

December 07, 2020 11:19 IST
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Bayer Leverkusen's Aleksandar Dragovic and teammates celebrate after Schalke 04's Malick Thiaw scores an own goal

IMAGE: Bayer Leverkusen's Aleksandar Dragovic and teammates celebrate after Schalke 04's Malick Thiaw scores an own goal during their Bundesliga match at Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday. Photograph: Leon Kuegeler/Pool via Reuters

Bayer Leverkusen moved up to second in the Bundesliga and closed the gap to leaders Bayern Munich to one point after a pair of goals from set pieces and a Patrik Schick effort gave them a 3-0 win at bottom team Schalke 04 on Sunday.

Levekusen have 22 points from 10 games, just behind Bayern who were held in Saturday's rip-roaring 3-3 home draw with third-placed RB Leipzig, who are two points off top.

Schalke, who extended their winless league run to 26 games, are rooted to the foot of the table on three points.

 

Schalke keeper Michael Langer pulled off a string of superb saves but the porous defence in front of him could not keep the visitors at bay.

Schalke's miserable afternoon was compounded by a penalty miss as Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky saved Steven Skrzybski’s spot-kick and Benito Raman’s follow-up header.

Under pressure from visiting defender Aleksandar Dragovic, Malick Thiaw beat his own keeper in the 10th minute to put Leverkusen in front as the ball came off his shoulder and trickled through Langer's hands after Leon Bailey floated in a corner.

Langer then denied Bailey and Schick time and again before Julian Baumgartlinger made it 2-0 in the 67th minute from another Bailey corner, with the ball coming off the midfielder's head and shoulder as it sailed inside the far post.

Skrzybski then missed a gilt-edged chance to pull one back as Hradecky parried his tame penalty and the keeper then did superbly to push Raman's follow-up header over the bar.

Schalke were punished swiftly as Schick latched on to Nadiem Amiri's pass and smashed a left-footed shot past Langer from inside the penalty area.

Sociedad drop off La Liga summit

Real Sociedad were unable to break down 10-man Alaves in a 0-0 draw on Sunday as they failed to return to the top of the La Liga standings, leaving Atletico Madrid clear at the summit.

In bizarre circumstances, Alaves midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia was shown a straight red card in the 61st minute, possibly for making an offensive remark to the referee or opponent Roberto Lopez while Alaves were about to take a throw-in.

Sociedad had been dominating the Basque derby before then and increased the pressure once they had the man advantage, but Alaves comfortably repelled their many crosses into the box.

Alaves keeper Fernando Pacheco was also on top form and made five saves during the game, the best of which came when he flew to his right to tip away a vicious strike from Willian Jose in the second half.

Sociedad had started the weekend top of the table but the draw left them second in the standings on 25 points after 12 games.

Leaders Atletico, who beat Real Valladolid 2-0 on Saturday, have 26 points after 10 matches.

Sociedad have drawn their last four games, having been held 1-1 by Villarreal last Sunday while failing to beat AZ Alkmaar and Rijeka in their last two Europa League outings. Before the draw with Villarreal, they had won their previous six league games.

Next up for Sociedad is Thursday's Europa League group stage decider away to Napoli, which they need to win to guarantee their place in the knockout stages.

"I think the team did enough today to get the three points, but lately we have been unable to take our chances to win games. We have to keep trying," said Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil.

"The hardest thing in football is creating chances and this team creates many, many chances, but once again our opponents' best player was their goalkeeper."

The visitors were hoping to benefit from the return of David Silva from injury but the playmaker hurt a muscle in the warm up, dealing another blow to the team after forward Mikel Oyarzabal, the league's top scorer, was injured against Rijeka.

Alguacil said he expected Silva to return for the trip to Naples but admitted Oyarzabal was unlikely to make it.

The coach also said the team were feeling frustrated after the result but still believed they could win against Napoli.

He added: "Right now our spirits are a little low because we didn't win but we've played well enough to win every game this season and we'll go to Napoli with that same aim. No-one in the team has any doubt we are capable of winning there."

Milan battle to 2-1 win at dogged Samp to stay five points clear

AC Milan's Franck Kessie celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates

IMAGE: AC Milan's Franck Kessie celebrates with teammates on scoring their first goal against Sampdoria at Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy on Sunday.Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Serie A leaders AC Milan battled their way to a 2-1 win away to a dogged Sampdoria side to remain unbeaten in the league this season and stay five points clear at the top on Sunday.

Franck Kessie broke Sampdoria's resistance from a penalty in the 45th minute and substitute Samu Castillejo rifled in the second for Milan in the 77th minute before Albin Ekdal headed one back to set up a nerve-wracking finale for the visitors.

Milan, again missing leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury, have 26 points from 10 games, with Inter Milan on 21 and Napoli and titleholders Juventus on 20. Sampdoria are 12th with eleven points.

The hosts wore special blue and white halved shirts, the original kit of the Andrea Doria club which merged with Sampierdarenese to form Sampdoria in 1946.

Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri, whose side are winless in their last six games in all competitions, was determined to make life as tough as possible for Milan and turned the first half into a midfield war of attrition with precious few chances.

The hosts had the first opening when Lorenzo Tonelli's header was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Tonelli was also in action at the other end where he performed a miraculous clearance off the line to deny Ante Rebic.

Rebic ran onto a long ball forward and flicked it over goalkeeper Emil Audero towards goal but Tonelli managed to hook it away with centimetres to spare, the ball hitting the post before bouncing away to safety.

Milan finally broke the deadlock in the final minute of the first half, Kessie scoring from the spot after Theo Hernandez's header was blocked by Jakob Jankto's trailing arm.

Sampdoria enjoyed their best spell of the game after the break with Morten Thorsby heading over from Antonio Candreva's cross.

Castillejo came on in the 76th minute and scored with his first touch one minute later, firing into the roof of the net after Rebic pulled the ball back from the byline.

Yet Milan had to cling on after Ekdal headed one back, and the Swede nearly grabbed an equaliser with another header but sent his effort over the bar with the very last move of the match.

Napoli brush aside lowly Crotone to go third in Serie A

Napoli won 4-0 for the second successive league game as they brushed aside lowly Crotone with a convincing performance on Sunday to move into third place in Serie A.

Lorenzo Insigne, Hirving Lozano, Diego Demme and Andrea Petagna shared the goals for Gennaro Gattuso's side, who have 20 points from 10 games and moved ahead of Juventus on goal difference.

After surviving an early scare when Simy headed over for the hosts, Napoli went ahead in the 31st minute with a typical Insigne goal.

Piotr Zielinski got away from his marker and found the Napoli captain who scored with a curling shot into the far corner.

Bottom-of-the-table Crotone, who have only managed two points this season, were in more trouble in the 50th minute when Jacopo Petriccione was given a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Demme.

Insigne also set up the second in the 58th minute as his cross found an unmarked Lozano and the Mexican known as Chucky had time and space to chest the ball down and volley home.

Demme added the third with an angled shot in the 76th minute from a Dries Mertens pass and the Belgian also set up Petagna for the fourth in the last minute.

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