Monday 19 March 2018

Mourinho bemoans Real's failure to take chances

Jose Mourinho lamented Real Madrid's failure to put the ball in the net as his side were held to a humbling 0-0 draw at Levante in La Liga on Saturday.

The nine-time European champions dominated the match but, as in recent games, they lacked fluidity and appeared anxious when chances fell to the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Angel di Maria or Cristiano Ronaldo (right).

"We've had eight clear opportunities but we haven't scored," said Mourinho. "The only game where we created fewer was in San Sebastian (against Real Sociedad) and we scored twice."

An opening-day draw was followed by three consecutive victories with only one goal conceded, but the Bernabeu faithful expect more and they grumbled and whistled at their side during the laboured 3-0 win over Espanyol in midweek.

Valencia swept to a 2-0 victory at Sporting Gijon ahead of their Champions League clash with Manchester United on Wednesday, while Barcelona beat 10-man Athletic Bilbao 3-1 away in a bruising encounter which also saw their striker David Villa sent off.

Barca proved they could live without the injured Lionel Messi at San Mames as they quickly took control against a hard-running Bilbao side.

Villa had already hit the post when Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta's foot-up tackle on Andres Iniesta earned him a straight red card in the 34th minute. The visitors struck the woodwork just after the restart but Barca made the extra man tell.

Seydou Keita slipped through on to Villa's pass to score in the 55th minute and Xavi fired in a deflected shot from outside the area after 74.

Villa was sent off four minutes from time after tangling with Carlos Gurpegi and Igor Gabilondo pulled one back for Bilbao. But as the hosts poured forward, Sergio Busquets settled the match after a swift Barca counter-attack.

Inter Milan remain top of Serie A despite Saturday's defeat at AS Roma, because most of the chasing pack lost yesterday.

Promoted Brescia could have surged to the summit but lost 2-1 at Bari while Mauro Zarate's second-half goal gave Lazio a 1-0 win at Chievo to end the home side's hopes of top spot and lift the Romans level on points with champions Inter.

In France, Olympique Lyon's 1-0 defeat to fierce rivals St Etienne left the club in crisis after seven Ligue 1 matches. Lyon, French champions from 2002-08, spent about €30m recruiting France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, striker Jimmy Briand and defender Pape Diakhate but lie second from bottom on five points.

Olympique Marseille geared up for their midweek Champions League clash at Chelsea with a 2-1 home win over Sochaux, which took them up to fifth on 11 points.

Irish Independent

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