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Fati double keeps Real in Barca's cross hairs

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Barcelona's Anssumane Fati celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona's Anssumane Fati celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

REUTERS

Barcelona's Anssumane Fati celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

Ansu Fati's quick-fire double helped Barcelona to a 2-1 win against Levante as the reigning champions moved back to within three points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi had missed a couple of good opportunities, by his standards, to open the scoring before he laid on two goals in as many minutes for 17-year-old Fati around the half-hour mark.

Levante improved in the second half and got the goal they had been threatening in added time courtesy of Ruben Rochina.

The win saw Barcelona bounce back from their league defeat at Valencia last week while Levante's miserable record continued at the Nou Camp, where they have been beaten on every visit in the club's history.

In Spain, Karim Benzema's strike claimed bragging rights for Real in the Madrid derby, but manager Zinedine Zidane was left apologetic for his poor tactics.

"I wasn't happy with what I saw on the pitch in the first half," Zidane said.

"It wasn't the players' fault. It was mine. So I changed Isco and (Toni) Kroos, but I could have changed two other players. It was just that we needed to make a change to play in a different manner, we were much better in all aspects afterwards."

Climbed

In Germany, Bayern Munich have climbed to the top of the Bundesliga thanks to their sixth consecutive victory combined with Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig drawing 2-2.

Borussia Dortmund moved into the top three with a 5-0 triumph over Union Berlin in which January signing Erling Braut Haaland scored his sixth and seventh goals for the club, despite playing just 137 minutes across three games since arriving.

In Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first Juventus player to score in nine consecutive league games since David Trezeguet in 2005.

He bagged a brace of penalties in the Old Lady's 3-0 win over Fiorentina with Matthijs de Ligt also on the scoresheet. They remain top of Serie A chasing a ninth consecutive domestic title.

In Milan, there was a sense of deja vu as Daniel Maldini, the 18-year-old son of Paolo and grandson of Cesare, came off the bench in their 1-1 draw with Verona to make his first appearance for the club where both father and grandfather before him had become heroes.

Irish Independent