Tuesday 14 August 2018

Real fail to close gap on Barca

Real Madrid remain 8 points adrift of Barcelona. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Real Madrid remain 8 points adrift of Barcelona. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Jamie Holland

Real Madrid were unable to capitalise on Barcelona's dropped points against Celta Vigo as they were forced to settle for a goalless draw against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga.

Real could have cut the gap to Barca back to six points with victory in the late game after the league leaders had been surprisingly held 2-2 at home by Celta.

However, despite starting with the same XI that beat Juventus in June's Champions League final for the first time since that match, Real could not find a winner at a rain-swept San Mames.

They were also left hanging on for a point at the end after captain Sergio Ramos was sent off in the 86th minute - the 24th time he has seen red in his Real career. Gareth Bale was forced off with a recurrence of a calf injury.

The draw keeps defending champions eight points adrift of Barca, who had earlier recorded a second successive draw after Celta emerged from the Nou Camp with a hard-fought point.

Wrongly

In-form Iago Aspas put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes, only for Lionel Messi to equalise within two minutes.

The hosts had further chances - Luis Suarez had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside before Messi hit the outside of the post from a tight angle - before Suarez did edge Barca ahead just after the hour mark.

Celta were far from done, though, and Maxi Gomez earned them a point when he netted with 20 minutes left.

Unlike Real, Atletico Madrid did manage to take advantage as they moved to within six points of Barca with a 2-1 comeback win against Real Sociedad.

Elsewhere in Italy, Benevento goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli scored an injury-time equaliser against AC Milan to earn his team the first Serie A point in their history.

The keeper, on loan from Juventus, headed in Danilo Cataldi's free-kick to end a record-breaking run of 14 defeats.

Ivan Perisic scored a hat-trick as unbeaten Inter Milan went top of Serie A thanks to a comfortable win over mid-table Chievo.

Bayern Munich went six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga by beating Hannover thanks to goals from Arturo Vidal, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski.

Irish Independent

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