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Soccer PIX: Modric stunner helps Real extend lead; Ramos nets late equaliser

February 26, 2024 11:07 IST
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IMAGE: Real Madrid's Luka Modric celebrates scoring their first goal with Lucas Vazquez. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric came off the bench to net a stunning strike from the edge of the box late in the second half to secure a 1-0 home win over Sevilla on Sunday and stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to eight points.

It takes Real to 65 points ahead of Barcelona, in second after they beat Getafe 4-0 on Saturday, and nine in front of third-placed Girona before they host Rayo Vallecano on Monday.


It was a compelling encounter with Real, who dominated possession in the first half, having an early Lucas Vazquez effort ruled out by VAR for a foul in the build-up.

But they were often exposed on the counter and Andriy Lunin had to save several times used his feet as a sweeper keeper.

IMAGE:  Sevilla's Sergio Ramos in action with Real Madrid's Alvaro Rodriguez. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters

Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland had himself put in an almost perfect performance until the 38-year-old Modric latched onto a rebound and blasted an unstoppable curling shot that shaved the post on its way into the net after 81 minutes.

He made two outstanding one-handed saves to deny efforts by Vinicius Jr and Federico Valverde, who also hit the post with a close-range strike early in the second half.

Jet-heeled winger Vinicius was a constant menace on the left and forced Nyland to make another brilliant one-handed stop to keep out a curling strike by the Brazilian in the 56th minute.

Real had almost 65% possession and 16 goal attempts against four by Sevilla, who were kept on level terms by Nyland's heroics with six superb saves before Modric secured the points.

"It takes a lot of practice every day, every day," Modric told DAZN regarding his stunning winner. "You can see me practising shooting at goal for hours every day... In football you have to shoot, I did it today and it went in.

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior in action with Sevilla's Loic Bade and Jesus Navas. Photograph: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters

"Persistence is one of our strengths, we never stop, we insist, we create and we look for it until the end. We knew that we couldn't let the points slip away from us today because Barcelona had come so close and we couldn't let that happen.

"That insistence throughout the match paid off. These are three very important points for this league."

The result leaves Sevilla in 15th spot with 24 points, six points above the relegation zone.

IMAGE: Stade Rennes' Baptiste Santamaria in action with Paris St Germain's Warren Zaire-Emery. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Ramos replaces Mbappe and nets late equaliser

Paris St Germain striker Goncalo Ramos came off the bench to replace Kylian Mbappe and rescued a point for the Ligue 1 leaders with a last-gasp penalty that salvaged a 1-1 draw against Stade Rennais at Parc des Princes on Sunday.

PSG, now unbeaten in their last 18 Ligue 1 matches, have 54 points from 23 games and an 11-point lead over second-placed Brest, who won 3-0 at Strasbourg on Saturday.

Mbappe, linked with a move to Real Madrid, had an uneventful night before being taken off in the 65th minute.

The France captain, who leads the Ligue 1 scoring charts this season with 21 goals, made way for Ramos, who was brought down by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for the penalty.

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Goncalo Ramos is fouled and awarded a penalty. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

"We have to get used to not playing with Kylian, sooner or later it's going to happen," PSG manager Luis Enrique told reporters. "When I consider it appropriate, he will play or not play, as all coaches do with their players.

"I want maximum competitiveness for next season. I want every starting player in this PSG team to think that this is a great opportunity. That's what I'm looking for this season and next season."

Rennes, who could have extended their winning streak to seven matches, took the lead in the 33rd minute after a bursting run by Amine Gouiri who slotted into the top-right corner.

They looked set to walk away with all three points before Ramos converted his spot kick in added time to level the scores. PSG were handed the penalty following a VAR review. 

IMAGE: AC Milan's Yunus Musah in action with Atalanta's Ederson. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Milan lose ground in title race

Third-placed AC Milan continued to lose ground in the Serie A title race as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta after Teun Koopmeiners' penalty cancelled out Rafael Leao's superb early opener for the hosts on Sunday.

Milan, who last weekend missed the chance to go second when they lost 4-2 at mid-table Monza, are 13 points behinds leaders Inter Milan, who won 4-0 at Lecce earlier on Sunday and still have a game in hand.

Stefano Pioli's Milan side remain third on 53 points from 26 games, four points off second-placed Juventus.

"Tonight we lost two points. If there was a team that deserved to win it was us," Pioli told DAZN.

"We played our best match against Atalanta, we played with personality and quality without letting them shoot. The best performance of the week."

IMAGE: AC Milan's Christian Pulisic in action with Atalanta's Matteo Ruggeri. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Atalanta, with one more game to play than the teams immediately above them, are fifth with 46 points, two behind Bologna in fourth.

Milan got off to a flying start when Leao broke the deadlock in the third minute, capping a solo run with a stunning shot into the top corner from a tight angle.

The Portugal forward ended his goal drought in Serie A, scoring in the competition for the first time in five months.

But Atalanta levelled against the run of play from the spot shortly before the break as Koopmeiners sent Mike Maignan the wrong way after a penalty awarded for Olivier Giroud's foul.

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