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Soccer PIX: Madrid down Villarreal; Kane nets brace in Bayern win

December 18, 2023 09:46 IST
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IMAGES from the football matches played across Europe on Sunday.

Real Madrid's Luka Modric celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Lucas Vazquez during their La Liga match at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Luka Modric celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Lucas Vazquez during their La Liga match at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/Reuters

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric demonstrated his enduring value with a goal and a brilliant assist in a 4-1 home win over Villarreal on Sunday to put his side top of LaLiga but they lost defender David Alaba to an ACL injury in the first half.


Real's Austria international went off after 35 minutes as he became the third Real player sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury this season after centre-back Eder Militao and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Following a disappointing 1-1 draw at Real Betis last weekend, Real returned to winning ways and lead the standings on 42 points, one ahead of Girona who host lowly Alaves on Monday.

Real also opened a seven point gap over third-placed Barcelona, who drew 1-1 at Valencia on Saturday and are without a win in their last three games in all competitions.

Real were in full control, with Modric the maestro, as they dominated possession and overwhelmed Villarreal.

The 38-year-old struck the bar and then helped Real open the scoring through Jude Bellingham in the 25th minute as his first-time cross from the edge of the area found LaLiga's top scorer who headed past goalkeeper Filip Jorgensen.

It was Bellingham's 13th goal of the season, three ahead of Getafe's Borja Mayoral.

Rodrygo extended Real's lead with a close-range strike from a Modric corner in the 37th, a goal that was initially ruled out by the linesman for offside with the decision overturned by VAR.

Jose Morales pulled a goal back for the visitors after 54 minutes with a tidy finish after a counter-attack.

However, Brahim Diaz scored Real's third in the 64th with a fine individual effort and Modric got on the scoresheet four minutes later, striking a loose ball inside the box.

It was a bittersweet night for Carlo Ancelotti's side though as Alaba had to be helped off the pitch by medical staff after twisting his left knee running to make a challenge in midfield.

"I haven't spoken to him... said Ancelotti.

"The medical report says he has an ACL tear. It's a shame, we are very sad because another player is out. I've never had three ACL tears in just a few months."

Full back Ferland Mendy was also forced off with an injury by the end of the first half, dealing another blow to a club that have struggled with several long-term injuries this season.

"What the team has to do is hang in there like we have done," added Ancelotti. "We have done more than people expected. Despite the problems, this team is hanging in there. We'll see in the next few days if anything can be done..."

PSG stumble as Lille earn last-gasp draw

Paris St Germain's Randal Kolo Muani in action with Lille's Tiago Santos during their Ligue 1 match at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Randal Kolo Muani in action with Lille's Tiago Santos during their Ligue 1 match at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France. Photograph: Abdul Saboor/Reuters

Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint Germain threw away two points as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Lille when substitute Jonathan David headed a last-minute equaliser after the visitors had taken the lead through a Kylian Mbappe penalty on Sunday.

PSG were caught with a sucker punch when substitute Marco Asensio's sloppy pass was intercepted and although Adam Ounas's deflected shot was well saved by Arnau Tenas with his legs David followed up to nod the ball into the net on the rebound.

PSG had gone in front through Mbappe's spot kick in the 66th minute after Bafode Diakite tripped Lucas Hernandez.

The result leaves PSG with 37 points, five clear of second-placed Nice, who lost 3-1 at Le Havre on Saturday. AS Monaco, who are third, went down 1-0 at home to lowly Olympique Lyonnais on Friday. Lille's win leaves them in fourth with 28 points.

"We hardly suffered in the first 80 minutes but a slight lack of control and Lille's pressure meant we ended up with a draw," PSG manager Luis Enrique said.

"It's a shame, but you have to play matches to the last second. It's a result that doesn't necessarily do justice to the game we played, but that's the way it is."

Lille started strongly in front of an enthusiastic home crowd and created chances initially but as the game wore on the visitors gained more control over the match.

Ousmane Dembele had PSG's first clear opportunity when he was played through in the box but his attempt from a tight angle narrowly missed the target.

In the minutes leading up to the break, Vitinha came close for the visitors but his attempt from close range was tipped over for a corner by Lille goalkeeper Lucas Chevalier.

PSG maintained the pressure at the beginning of the second half and went ahead when Mbappe fired his spot kick into the top corner. But there was a sting in the Lille tail for the visitors as David popped up to level the scores at the death.

PSG host lowly Metz on Wednesday, while Lille travel to Strasbourg before the league shuts down for the Christmas break.

Kane double helps Bayern's title chase in 3-0 win over Stuttgart

Bayern Munich's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal with Thomas Mueller

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal with Thomas Mueller during their Bundesliga match at Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany. Photograph: Angelika Warmuth/Reuters

Bundesliga top scorer Harry Kane struck once in each half to steer Bayern Munich to a 3-0 victory over fourth-placed VfB Stuttgart on Sunday and leave them four points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen with a game in hand.

The England captain, the league's all-time record signing after his 100 million euro ($108.94-million) move from Tottenham Hotspur this season, has scored 20 times in his 14 league games.

Kane is only the third player in the league's history to reach that mark by or before the halfway stage and required also the fewest-ever Bundesliga appearances to score 20 times.

Meanwhile Bayern have netted in a league record-equalling 64th straight Bundesliga home game, matching their 1970-74 run.

Despite a string of injuries and the last-minute absences through illness of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, Bayern bagged the three points and now have 35. Leverkusen are on 39 after a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt earlier on Sunday.

"It was probably our best performance of the season so far," Kane said. "We wanted to be dominant. We knew how dangerous they were and we limited them to just a few chances. It was great to score twice and help the team."

The league takes a break after next week's matches and will resume on Jan. 12.

Bayern were desperate to bounce back from last week's shock 5-1 loss to Frankfurt and they needed just two minutes to score, with Kane tapping in from a Leroy Sane pass.

The Bavarians had the upper hand throughout and missed a bagful of chances with Stuttgart goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel kept busy and the visitors struggling with their top scorer Serhou Guirassy, who has 16 league goals, largely contained.

Kane doubled Bayern's lead in the 55th after being left unmarked to head home following a cross from youngster Aleksandar Pavlovic and an assist from Kim Min-jae.

Eight minutes later they struck again with man-of-the-match Kim Min-jae's deflected header wrongfooting Nuebel and killing off any hopes of a Stuttgart comeback in Bayern's last home game of the year.

Leverkusen down Frankfurt 3-0 to stay four points clear at the top

Bayer Leverkusen's Victor Boniface scored and helped set up two more goals in a 3-0 victory over visitors Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday as the Bundesliga leaders stayed four point clear.

Unbeaten in the league this season, Xabi Alonso's team took a 14th-minute lead with 22-year-old Nigeria forward powering into the box and threading a low shot past two defenders and goalkeeper Kevin Trapp for his ninth goal of the campaign.

Alejandro Grimaldo's 35th-minute free kick slid off the crossbar before Jeremie Frimpong doubled their advantage in the 51st on the rebound after Trapp saved a Boniface shot.

The striker then sent Florian Wirtz through with a clever pass for their third goal six minutes later with the Germany international chipping the ball over the keeper.

Leverkusen, who hit the woodwork twice late in the game through Wirtz and Piero Hincapie, are on 39 points with champions Bayern Munich, who have a game in hand, second on 35 following their 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart.

"We did not have enough control in the first half," Xabi Alonso said. "It was not easy. We improved considerably n the second half. We dominated and created lots of chances."

"As for the Bundesliga lead at the moment it is not something that I think about," he said.

The Bundesliga stops for a winter break after next week's matches on Tuesday and Wednesday and will resume on Jan. 12.

Inter extend Serie A lead with 2-0 win at Lazio

Inter Milan extended their lead at the top of Serie A to four points after goals by forwards Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram gave them a 2-0 win at Lazio on Sunday.

After their seventh win in the last eight league games, Inter top the standings on 41 points from 16 games and have stretched their lead over second-placed Juventus (37), who missed the chance to go top when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Genoa on Friday.

It was Inter's first victory at the Rome side's home in Serie A since October 2018.

"As a coach it feels good to win a match like that. We covered the pitch well, conceding only one chance to (Nicolo) Rovella. We were a team in difficult moments," coach Simone Inzaghi told a press conference.

"We have to continue in this way, playing as a team. The boys have to keep challenging me every training session because we play so much."

Lazio started on the front foot, dominating possession and aggressively fending off Inter's attempts.

However, the visitors were gifted the opener when Lazio defender Adam Marusic gave away the ball as he tried to pass it backwards and Martinez latched on to it to dribble past keeper Ivan Provedel and score from close range in the 40th minute.

The Argentine forward netted his 15th league goal of the season, six more than Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi who is second on the scorers' list.

Lazio pushed for an equaliser after the break and Rovella came close to finding the net from inside the box but was denied by goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Thuram doubled the advantage for Inter in the 66th minute with a low shot inside the far post after collecting a precise pass into the box from Nicolo Barella.

The hosts finished down to 10 men after defender Manuel Lazzari was shown a straight red card four minutes before the end for a remark he made to the referee after Lazio were refused a free kick.

Inter's Sommer, who has now gone 11 games without conceding, is the first goalkeeper to collect at least 10 clean sheets in his first 15 Serie A matches in the three-point era (since 1994-95).

No team has kept more clean sheets than Inter this season in the big five European leagues.

Lazio, who had been unbeaten at their own ground this season since their August defeat to Genoa (1-0), are 11th in the table with 21 points.

Lacklustre Roma slump to 2-0 loss at Bologna

AS Roma suffered a 2-0 defeat at Bologna when a Nikola Moro strike and Rasmus Kristensen's own goal saw the fired-up hosts climb to fourth spot in Serie A on Sunday.

Roma, missing several key players such as forwards Romelu Lukaku and Paulo Dybala due to injuries and suspension, struggled to match Bologna's aggression, failed to retain possession and were never able to control the match.

"Without Paulo, there is no quality in this squad. Without Romelu, there is no physicality in this squad. Without either of them, I knew it would be tough for us," Roma manager Jose Mourinho told DAZN, adding that he wanted to stay with the club beyond the end of the season when his contract expires.

"I will tell you something I have not yet said, because I did not want to say it. I want to continue at Roma. I want to continue here," Mourinho said.

The victory took Bologna to 28 points from 16 games, a point above Napoli and Fiorentina, while Roma are seventh with 25.

Bologna broke the deadlock eight minutes before halftime when Moro netted first time after Dan Ndoye pulled the ball back from the byline.

Four minutes into the second half the hosts went further ahead when the ball deflected off Roma's Kristensen into his own net after Lewis Ferguson's cross was missed by Ndoye.

"I could tell obviously the players wanted to do better but if we had no tactical problems – when they scored the first goal, it was a very balanced match – we did have huge difficulties on a physical level," Mourinho said.

"Bologna have players with intensity, engine and legs, whereas we do not have those characteristics."

Roma will host Napoli in Serie A next Saturday, while Bologna's next fixture will be against Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia round of 16 on Wednesday.

Milan ease to 3-0 win over Monza

AC Milan eased to a 3-0 home win over Monza in Serie A on Sunday, with 18-year-old Jan-Carlo Simic scoring on his debut.

Milan remain third in the standings but are now on 32 points, having closed the gap to second-placed Juventus to five points. Monza are 11th on 21.

Milan raced into the lead in the third minute when Tijjani Reijnders went on a solo run past three Monza players and into the area before poking in a shot through the legs of keeper Michele Di Gregorio.

The home side doubled their lead in the 41st minute when Rafael Leao played the ball across the goal from the right and substitute Simic slid in ahead of Lorenzo Colombo to score.

"It was like a dream but I'm happy to have been able to help the team," Simic told DAZN.

"A good debut and a goal, all kids dream of it. I'm happy for the team, that we won, and that I scored it's even better."

The Serbian had replaced the injured Tommaso Pobega in the 24th minute, with Stefano Pioli moving Alessandro Florenzi into midfield and Simic slotting into the right back position.

"I was already ready for the whole of last week. The coach had warned me. When he called me, I was ready and focused," Simic said.

Milan created plenty of chances in the opening half, with Di Gregorio pulling off two fine saves from Florenzi.

It could have been worse for Monza before half time when Christian Pulisic cut in from the right wing into the area and let fly with a curling shot which rattled the crossbar.

Milan keeper Mike Maignan made his first real save of the game in the 61st minute when Fikayo Tomori's attempt at a clearance fell to Andrea Colpani and his shot from close range was palmed away by the keeper.

Milan wrapped up all three points in the 76th minute with a wonderfully worked move finished off by another replacement, Noah Okafor.

Reijnders got away from Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro before flicking the ball into the path of Olivier Giroud in the box, who laid it back to the unmarked Okafor for a first-time shot into the far corner.

Okafor, who had replaced Leao less than 10 minutes before scoring, went off injured four minutes after his goal to add to Pioli's injury problems.

"Pobega looks like a hip problem while Okafor may be a bit tired, maybe a fatigue cramp. He's just recovered from a problem with his other leg and hopefully it's nothing so serious," Pioli told Sky Sports.

Milan's third consecutive home win followed last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Atalanta, and they also took advantage of Juventus's 1-1 draw at Genoa on Friday.

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