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Life difficult for Spanish title chasers as Inter extend Serie A lead over AC Milan

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Real Madrid's Eder Militao reacts after his late equaliser. Photo: REUTERS

Real Madrid's Eder Militao reacts after his late equaliser. Photo: REUTERS

Real Madrid's Eder Militao reacts after his late equaliser. Photo: REUTERS

EUROPEAN ROUND-UP

The Spanish title race has taken a turn in favour of the chasers after Real Madrid stumbled again, turning what once was a foregone conclusion into a tougher fight.

Los Blancos fought back from two goals down at home to rescue a 2-2 draw against lowly Elche yesterday thanks to a last-gasp Eder Militao goal in stoppage time.

Elche opened a two-goal lead with their only two shots on target as Lucas Boye netted in the first half and Pere Milla scored after the break.

Luka Modric reduced the deficit with a penalty after 82 minutes and Vinicius Junior found Militao inside the six-yard box in the 92nd minute and he headed the equaliser.

The goal denied Elche a first-ever win at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium after 25 visits.

Real had earlier dominated from the beginning and were denied on three occasions by Elche keeper Edgar Badia, who made fine saves to keep out shots from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Vinicius Jr in the first half.

Benzema missed a penalty with his effort going a few inches over the crossbar after Vinicius was fouled inside the area. It was Benzema’s first penalty miss in almost 13 years as a Real player, after converting all 16 of his previous efforts for the club.

The result means Madrid wasted a golden opportunity to widen the gap at the top of the table after second-placed Sevilla also failed to secure a win.

They were also 2-0 down to Celta Vigo as Iago Aspas and Co made the club’s bid for a first title since 1945 difficult, before they fought back after the break and drew level midway into the second half, with two goals in three minutes from Papu Gomez and Oliver Torres.

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Real have 50 points from 22 games, four ahead of Sevilla.

Meanwhile, in Italy, AC Milan’s charge at Serie A leaders Inter hit a bump in the road as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Juventus last night, meaning they slip to third behind Napoli on goal difference, four points behind Inter who have a game in hand.

Earlier, Napoli kept pace in the title race after thrashing lowly local rivals Salernitana 4-1 yesterday, their third league victory in a row.

Inter had a 2-1 win against Venezia on Saturday to keep them on top of the table and prepare them for their derby clash with Milan on the first Sunday after the international break.

Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho’s Roma sealed their second win in a row after a winless spell to keep themselves in the race for the top four, a 4-2 victory at Empoli in yesterday thanks to four goals in 13 first-half minutes, including a double from English striker Tammy Abraham.


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