Tuesday 27 September 2016

Ancelotti defiant as Real title hopes hang by thread

Jamie Holland

Published 11/05/2015 | 02:30

Carlo Ancelotti refuses to give up on Real Madrid's title hopes
Carlo Ancelotti refuses to give up on Real Madrid's title hopes

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti refused to throw in the towel after Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Valencia left their hopes of overhauling La Liga leaders Barcelona hanging by a thread.

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Real fought back from two goals down at the Bernabeu but were unable to snatch a winner and slipped four points behind their arch rivals with two games left.

Barca, who won 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad in the earlier kickoff, can make sure of a fifth title in seven years with victory away to last season's champions Atletico Madrid next weekend when Real play at mid-table Espanyol.

"It's much more difficult for us now but we will carry on," Ancelotti said.

"There are two matches left and we have to try to win them both," added the Italian.

Real have won the European Super Cup and Club World Cup this season but are in danger of ending 2014-15 without their Champions League crown or winning a first domestic league title since 2012.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich's bad week ended with another defeat as they lost 1-0 at home to Augsburg.

Having been dismantled by Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola's men were undone by their Bavarian rivals who kept their Europa League hopes alive by rising to fifth.

Raul Bobadilla scored the only goal of the game as Augsburg made the most of an extra man after Pepe Reina was sent off in the 15th minute. Paul Verhaegh missed the penalty that was a result of that incident.

Champions League football is heading to Borussia Monchengladbach and they beat local rivals Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 to strengthen their claim for a top-three finish.

Max Kruse, Patrick Herrmann and Ibrahima Traore provided the goals for Lucien Favre's men, who are now just one win away from sealing their place in the group stages of next season's Champions League.

Meanwhile in Italy, champions Juventus were held to a surprise 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Cagliari on Saturday as they turned one eye to next week's Champions League semi-final, second leg with Real Madrid.

With a fourth consecutive Serie A title already in the bag after last week's 1-0 win over Sampdoria, Juve were on course for a routine victory when Paul Pogba's deflected strike put them ahead on the stroke of halftime.

Luca Rossettini equalised five minutes from time though to keep Cagliari's survival hopes alive.

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