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Soccer PIX: Real drop points, Bayern stunned

February 13, 2022 10:55 IST
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Images from matches played across European leagues on Saturday

Real held at Villarreal with LaLiga lead down to four points

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale tries to head the ball as Villarreal's Geronimo Rulli punches it out during  their La Liga match at Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal on Saturday

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Gareth Bale tries to head the ball as Villarreal's Geronimo Rulli punches it out during their La Liga match at Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal. Photograph: Pablo Morano/Reuters

La Liga leaders Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw away at Villarreal on Saturday, as their lead at the top of the table was reduced to just four points.

Real came into the game without injured talisman Karim Benzema and it told as they struggled to gel in an uncharacteristically sluggish first half, before looking more like their old selves after the break.

 

"We had a number of opportunities to win it but in football you need to take your chances," said Real midfielder Casemiro.

"The coach ensured we were much better in the second period, which is a performance we will take encouragement from. We're coming into the business end of the season and we are all working well, pushing in the right direction.

"The coaching staff are always pushing us and we want to win everything this season."

Real coughed up a number of chances in the opening stages, with Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze a menace throughout, as Real skipper Marcelo struggled against the Nigerian's pace and directness.

Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma hit the post before Real keeper Thibaut Courtois produced a fine save to deny Alberto Moreno from the edge of the box as the home side pushed for an opener.

Real had calls for a penalty waved away as Vinicius Junior went down clutching his face after a coming together with Raul Albiol, while Villarreal were incensed that Marco Asensio was not shown a red card for a high challenge on Vicente Iborra.

The visitors were much-improved after the break, with Gareth Bale -- making his first appearance for the club since August -- clipping the bar before he and team mate Vinicius were denied in quick succession by Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.

Substitute Luka Jovic then hit the bar in stoppage time as Real sought a late winner with fellow replacement Nacho's follow-up cleared off the line by Serge Aurier.

Madrid move onto 54 points, four ahead of second-placed Sevilla with both sides having played 24 games. Villarreal, meanwhile, are fifth on 36 points.

Ten-man Atletico secure last-gasp win in seven-goal thriller

Atletico Madrid's Mario Hermoso celebrates scoring the winner against Getafe during their La Liga match at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Mario Hermoso celebrates scoring the winner against Getafe during their La Liga match at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

A last-minute goal from substitute Mario Hermoso gave Atletico Madrid victory in a seven-goal thriller as they beat Getafe 4-3 at home on Saturday.

The helter-skelter game saw six goals in the first-half, as well as a missed penalty, before Hermoso -- who had been brought on after Atletico defender Felipe was dismissed in the second period -- sent the Wanda Metropolitano into raptures and his team into fourth place in the table.

Luis Suarez won the first of three first-half penalties within the first 10 minutes, however his spot-kick was saved by Getafe keeper David Soria.

Nevertheless, Atletico appeared in control as strikes from Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha put them 2-0 up after 27 minutes.

However, the reigning champions fell behind after a mad 15 minutes in which they conceded two penalties for handball.

Borja Mayoral and a Enes Unal double from the spot put the visitors into an unlikely lead before Correa equalised in added-on time at the end of the first half.

Just before the hour mark Felipe was dismissed for a high foot on Mauro Arambarri, which led Diego Simeone to reshuffle his defence and bring on Hermoso, with the defender ultimately proving to be the hero at the other end.

Leaders Bayern suffer shock thrashing at Bochum

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich slipped to a shock 4-2 defeat at VfL Bochum on Saturday, conceding all four goals in the first half.

Bayern had already scored a record 68 goals this Bundesliga season before Saturday, putting them on course for an all-time best return, but it was Bochum who had the better day.

The champions took the lead from a familiar source in the ninth minute, when Robert Lewandowski scored his 25th league goal of the season to set the visitors seemingly on course for another victory.

However, Christopher Antwi-Adjei's superb equaliser less than five minutes later got the hosts back into the contest, before Juergen Locadia's 38th-minute penalty turned the match.

Cristian Gamboa arrowed an unstoppable strike into the top corner two minutes later, before Gerrit Holtmann curled another fine goal into the net on the cusp of halftime to stun the champions.

Lewandowski did score again, 15 minutes from time, but it was too little, too late for Julian Nagelsmann's team as Bochum held on for a famous win.

The defeat, just Bayern's fourth league loss of the season, does not affect their position too much, and they remain nine points clear at the top of the standings as they close in on a record-extending 10th successive league title. Bochum stay 11th.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Wolfsburg continued to turn their season around as goals from Max Kruse and Dodi Lukebakio earned them a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, while bottom side Greuther Fuerth won just their third match of the season, a 2-1 success over Hertha Berlin.

The story of the day, however, took place in Bochum.

"We put in our worst performance of the season over the whole game today," Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich said.

"We lacked everything you need to win a game. If something like this happens once a season, then it can happen - but it already happened against Gladbach, so we need to be careful," he added referring to Bayern's 5-0 defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the German Cup.

Wins for Lyon and Lille as battle for European places intensifies

Moussa Dembele netted an early penalty and Karl Toko Ekambi added a second after the break as Olympique Lyonnais beat Nice 2-0 in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

The victory allowed Lyon to jump three places to sixth in the standings while Nice stayed third.

Dembele converted from the spot after eight minutes and Toko Ekambi, back after playing at the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon, scored in the 52nd minute.

Earlier on Saturday, champions Lille beat Montpellier 1-0 away in a boost to their hopes of competing in European club competition again next season.

A fortunate goal from Xeka some 13 minutes from time ensured the victory but it was their goalkeeper Leo Jardim who proved the hero of the day.

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