Sunday 18 February 2018

Real maintain grip on La Liga but Barcelona stay in touch

Karim Benzema's goal helped Real Madrid to victory Photo: PA News
Karim Benzema's goal helped Real Madrid to victory Photo: PA News

Jamie Holland

Real Madrid retained their grip on top spot in La Liga after goals from Karim Benzema, Isco and Nacho secured a 3-0 win over Alaves at the Bernabeu yesterday.

Real took the lead through Benzema in the 31st minute, but they had to wait until the dying stages to make sure of the three points with two late goals.

Barcelona responded with a 4-1 victory over Granada. Paco Alcacer put Barca back in front after Luis Suarez's opener was cancelled out.

Granada retained hope until Uche Henry Agbo was sent off, shortly before a Matthieu Saunier own-goal put Barcelona out of sight with less than 10 minutes to go. Neymar scored his 100th goal for the club late on.

Atletico Madrid's fourth successive victory took them up to third. Koke's fourth goal of the season set Atletico on their way to a 2-0 win away against Malaga.

Deserved In Italy, Serie A leaders Juventus consolidated their position at the top with a 1-1 draw at third-placed Napoli.

Sami Khedira put the visitors ahead after just seven minutes but Marek Hamsik secured a deserved point for Napoli as he struck after an hour.

In Germany, Thilo Kehrer earned Schalke a share of the spoils as Borussia Dortmund were held to a 1-1 draw.

Dortmund's faint hopes of catching Bayern Munich are all but extinguished, after the leaders hammered Augsburg 6-0 to leave BVB 18 points off the pace in fourth. Robert Lewandowski hit a hat-trick, while Thomas Muller bagged a brace and Thiago Alcantara notched the other goal.

Elsewhere, PSG won the French League Cup for the fourth straight season with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Monaco on Saturday. Edinson Cavani's double, after earlier strikes from Julian Draxler and Angel Di Maria, sealed the win.

Irish Independent

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