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Soccer PIX: Real drop points at Getafe; Juve lose

April 19, 2021 09:29 IST
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Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Eibar

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Eibar. Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

A heavily depleted Real Madrid side scraped a 0-0 draw at struggling Getafe on Sunday, falling three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in the La Liga title race.

Real beat Barcelona 2-1 last week and overcame Liverpool in midweek to reach the Champions League semi-finals but were crippled by the absence of nine players due to either injury, suspension or COVID-19 positives.

 

Forward Mariano had an early goal ruled out for offside after a VAR review but Getafe had far more and far better opportunities, hitting the woodwork in the first half and being thwarted by two fine saves from Thibaut Courtois in the second.

The draw interrupted a run of four straight league wins for Zinedine Zidane's side and left them second on 67 points after 31 games, three behind leaders Atletico who thrashed Eibar 5-0 earlier in the day.

Getafe are 15th on 31 points, three above the relegation zone.

"I don't see this as two points dropped, it's always difficult to come here," said Real defender Marcelo.

"We knew what it would be like here, the pitch was very dry and we couldn't get the ball moving quickly. We have hardly any time to rest but we have to keep on giving everything, that's what football is like right now."

Despite the many absences, Zidane chose to start without top scorer Karim Benzema and left Toni Kroos on the bench, handing a first start to defender Victor Chust and a debut for 20-year-old midfielder Antonio Blanco from the bench.

Getafe could have scored three times in the opening 10 minutes and then striker Jaime Mata struck the post with a header.

Real's Mariano saw a shot cleared off the line from David Timor, adding to his frustration after his goal was chalked off for a fractional offside.

The home side continued to dictate the play after the interval as Real grew ever more tired but Getafe could not get past Real keeper Courtois.

The Belgian flew towards the top corner to beat away a shot from Angel Rodriguez and then reacted quickly to tip a long range effort from Nemanja Maksimovic over the bar after it took a deflection off Chust.

Getafe had two penalty appeals waved away for incidents involving Real centre back Eder Militao, who brought down Enes Unal in the first half and then collided with Angel just as the forward was getting his shot away.

Atletico hammer Eibar 5-0 to reassert title claim

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid thrashed basement club Eibar 5-0 on Sunday in an emphatic response to a stuttering run of results which had let their rivals back into the title race.

Atletico were missing two of their top forwards in Luis Suarez and Joao Felix but Argentine striker Angel Correa took responsibility in attack, scoring twice at the end of the first half to put the hosts in charge.

Yannick Carrasco further stretched their lead soon after the interval before Marcos Llorente struck twice to complete the rout as his side picked up a first victory in three matches after drawing 1-1 at Real Betis and losing 1-0 at Sevilla.

Atletico top the standings on 70 points after 31 games and extended their advantage with second-placed Real Madrid to three points after the champions were held 0-0 at Getafe later on Sunday.

Barcelona are third on 65 with a game in hand while fourth-placed Sevilla stayed in contention to move on to 64 points after beating Real Sociedad 2-1.

"It gives us enormous joy to win this game so comfortably and so convincingly," Correa told reporters.

"The game was pretty tight until the first goal but then the game opened up and we were able to wrap it up."

Eibar are bottom with 23 points and have failed to win in their last 14 matches, 10 of which they have lost.

The visitors did not have a single shot on goal although they gave Atletico a fright midway through the first half when Alejandro Pozo whipped in a cross to an unmarked Kevin Rodrigues, who narrowly failed to make contact with the ball.

Atletico dominated possession but did not have a clear opportunity until Correa broke the deadlock, arriving at the far post to prod a freekick into the net.

The Argentine forward struck again moments later, swivelling past a defender before producing a classy finish to further make amends for missing several opportunities against Betis.

"The great thing about football is that every week you have a chance for revenge. I was feeling a little due to missing those chances but today I'm happy as this time they went in," added Correa.

Sevilla stay in title race with comeback win at Sociedad

Sevilla came from behind to win 2-1 at Real Sociedad on Sunday and stay in contention for an unlikely La Liga title bid.

The visitors, who won a dramatic match at Celta Vigo 4-3 in their last fixture, fell behind in the fifth minute to a goal from their former forward Carlos Fernandez.

But they responded with two quick-fire strikes by midfielder Fernando and striker Youssef En-Nesyri in the 22nd and 24th minutes to move into the lead.

Brazilian Fernando created the danger for the equaliser and then pounced on a poor clearance from Robin Le Normand to score.

En-Nesyri also showed good anticipation when he put his side in front moments later, following up a deflected shot which came off the post to steer the ball into the unguarded net.

Sevilla comfortably defended their lead in the second half to record a fifth win in six league games which included a 1-0 victory at home to Atletico this month.

Sevilla are fourth in the standings on 64 points after 31 games, six behind leaders Atletico Madrid who thrashed Eibar 5-0 later on Sunday. Real Madrid are second on 67 after drawing 0-0 at Getafe while Barcelona third on 65 with a game in hand.

Sevilla have not won the Spanish title since 1946 and have not finished in the top two since 1957 but En-Nesyri dared to dream.

"We'll go all out to win the seven games we have left and try to win La Liga. We're going to fight for the title," he told reporters.

Sevilla visit Levante on Wednesday before home games against Granada and Athletic Bilbao. They travel to Real Madrid on May 9.

Eriksen earns Serie A leaders Inter point at Napoli

AC Milan's Ante Rebic scores their first goal against Genoa

IMAGE: AC Milan's Ante Rebic scores their first goal against Genoa. Photograph: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

Christian Eriksen's first league goal of the season earned Inter Milan a 1-1 draw at Napoli on Sunday, moving the league leaders nine points clear at the top of the Serie A standings.

In a thrilling first half, Inter hit the woodwork twice but found themselves behind as goalkeeper Samir Handanovic diverted what appeared to be a comfortable low cross into his own net nine minutes before the break.

Inter, chasing a 12th successive league win, stepped it up a gear in the second half, with Dane Eriksen arrowing a fine strike into the net in the 55th minute.

Napoli hit the crossbar and thought they had won a late penalty only for VAR to overturn the decision, as Inter hung on to move on to 75 points from 31 games, nine clear of second-placed AC Milan.

"On other occasions we would have lost the game, we would have fallen after that goal we conceded," Inter coach Antonio Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"Instead the team reacted, they are there, they know their means and never lose their way. We faced a complete Napoli, a team that I considered among the best equipped to win the Scudetto.

"Today we gave Milan two points in their chase, but I think we can allow for this as it was a hard-earned draw."

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli stayed fifth, but closed to within two points of champions Juventus in fourth.

With AC Milan earning a narrow 2-1 win over Genoa earlier on Sunday, Inter's lead at the top had been cut to eight points as they faced a real test against a Napoli side who had won five of their last six league games.

Conte's team had chances to take the lead in the opening period, but Romelu Lukaku could only divert the ball onto the crossbar from close range, before Eriksen's deflected freekick came out off the upright.

Napoli then edged in front, and it was a real mess from Handanovic, as he let Lorenzo Insigne's cross squirm from his hands and back into his own goal.

After Eriksen had arrived right on cue to break his Serie A season duck, Inter settled in for a point, knowing every one earned would take them a step closer to a first Scudetto in 11 years.

But they rode their luck as Diego Demme thundered a strike onto the underside of the crossbar, before the referee elected to change his original decision to penalise Stefan de Vrij for a foul in the penalty area.

Juve slip to fourth in Serie A after late loss to Atalanta

Juventus slipped to a last-gasp 1-0 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday as Gian Piero Gasperini's side leapfrogged the champions into third place in the Serie A standings.

Juve, missing Cristiano Ronaldo due to injury, struggled to break down the in-form hosts without their Portuguese talisman and were forced to defend for much of the second half against Serie A's top scorers.

It looked as though Juve had done enough to hold on for a point, but substitute Ruslan Malinovskiy snatched a fifth successive league win for Atalanta in the 87th minute, sparking wild scenes of celebration.

Atalanta moved on to 64 points, two ahead of Juventus, from 31 games played after a first league win over Juve for more than 20 years.

Juve's hopes of a 10th successive Scudetto are now all but over as they trail leaders Inter Milan by 13 points.

Sixth-placed Lazio moved four points behind Juventus, having played one game less, after an entertaining 5-3 win over Benevento - their fifth league victory in a row - while Bologna beat Spezia 4-1.

In-form Atalanta took the game to Juve early on in Bergamo, with Matteo Pessina wasting a glorious chance to give the hosts the lead.

Atalanta have conceded the most goals of any of the top six and hesitation in his own penalty area from Joakim Maehle gave Alvaro Morata a great chance to break the deadlock. However, the Spaniard's tame effort was cleared off the line late in the opening period.

Paulo Dybala, starting for the first time since early January, tired as the match wore on and had to be replaced, leaving Juve short of options up front.

As a result, Pirlo's side sat back, happy to take the point, but moments after Malinovskiy's stunning freekick was brilliantly saved by Wojciech Szczesny, he popped up with the winner, his strike taking a huge deflection en route to goal.

Roma top-four hopes dealt blow after defeat at Torino

AS Roma's hopes of a top-four finish were dealt a major blow as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat by Serie A strugglers Torino on Sunday.

Seventh-placed Roma, who booked a Europa League semi-final date with Manchester United in midweek, took the lead after three minutes through Borja Mayoral and looked conformable as they went into the break in front.

In the second half, Roma fell apart, with goals from Antonio Sanabria and Simone Zaza turning the match on its head and setting Torino on their way to a vital victory in their quest for survival.

Substitute Amadou Diawara was sent off late on for the visitors after picking up two yellow cards, before Tomas Rincon added a third in stoppage time, leaving Roma seventh in the standings on 54 points, eight off Juventus in fourth.

Torino's second successive win moves them up to 15th, five clear of the relegation zone.

Last-gasp Icardi goal boosts PSG title bid

Paris St Germain stayed in the hunt for a fourth successive Ligue 1 title after Mauro Icardi scored in the dying seconds of stoppage time to secure a dramatic 3-2 win over St Etienne on Sunday.

Icardi headed home a cross from fellow substitute Angel Di Maria to cap a frantic climax after visitors St Etienne took a 78th-minute lead.

Kylian Mbappe then struck twice in eight minutes to hand PSG a 2-1 lead. Romain Hamouma made it 2-2 in the first minute of added time and just when it seemed that the clubs would have to share the points, Icardi sealed the win for the champions.

The result left PSG second in the standings on 69 points from 33 games, one behind leaders Lille who were held to a 1-1 draw by eighth-placed Montpellier on Friday.

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino praised his team's fighting spirit.

"The most important thing is to show character and never give up, always keep fighting and believing that you can get the three points," he said.

"We are all very happy and it was a good performance. I think we deserved to win but we suffered and it was a very emotional finale."

Looking weary from Tuesday's 1-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich which sent the French side through to the Champions League semi-finals on away goals, PSG struggled and missed chances against a packed St Etienne defence.

Mbappe was off target three times and Pablo Sarabia hit the post with a free kick before the visitors punished the home side's profligacy as Denis Bouanga superbly steered in a Miguel Trauco cross from the left.

Mbappe equalised 30 seconds later with a deft finish from close range after controlling a lofted Ander Herrera pass and the France forward fired PSG ahead with an 87th-minute penalty after he was brought down by goalkeeper Etienne Green.

The home side's joy was short-lived, however, as Romain Hamouma levelled with a tap-in from two metres after PSG keeper Sergio Rico failed to deal with Bouanga's shot from the edge of the penalty area.

It looked like it was not going to be PSG's day when Di Maria rattled the post with an inswinging corner but the Argentine curled in a cross from the right moments later for Icardi to head home.

Third-placed Monaco cruised to a 3-0 win at Girondins Bordeaux and Olympique Lyonnais in fourth earned a 2-1 victory at Nantes as both teams kept pace in one of the most exciting title races in years.

Monaco are two points behind Lille after Kevin Volland and Gelson Martins fired them ahead at Bordeaux before Stevan Jovetic sealed the win by heading home a Sofiane Diop corner.

Lyon stayed a further point adrift as a deft fifth-minute finish followed by a penalty by Memphis Depay sent them on their way at second-bottom Nantes before Nicolas Pallois pulled one back for the home side.

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