Wednesday 21 March 2018

Real slip-up allows Barca to close gap

Sergio Araujo celebrates scoring his late equaliser against Real Madrid. Photo: Reuters
Sergio Araujo celebrates scoring his late equaliser against Real Madrid. Photo: Reuters newsdesk

Substitute Sergio Araujo struck a late equaliser as Las Palmas held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw on Saturday and left Zinedine Zidane's side with a one-point lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Karim Benzema had given Real a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute, three minutes after coming off the bench, but the hosts struck back through Araujo's 85th-minute goal. Barca, who were without the injured Lionel Messi for the first time this season, won 5-0 at Sporting Gijon earlier in the day. Neymar scored twice while Luis Suarez, Arda Turan and Rafinha also got on the scoresheet.

Real, who saw their record-equalling 16-game winning run in La Liga halted in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Villarreal, took a deserved 33rd-minute lead. Marco Asensio headed in the rebound after goalkeeper Javi Varas was unable to hold onto Nacho's powerful strike.

The hosts equalised five minutes later when Raphael Varane's poor clearance from Momo's cross fell to Tana and the Spanish forward slotted the ball in from 10 metres.

In Italy, Juventus needed an own goal from Edoardo Goldaniga on Saturday to squeeze past Palermo 1-0 and preserve their Serie A lead.

Elsewhere, Joe Hart produced a string of fine saves to help Torino to a 3-1 victory over Roma yesterday, denying his former Manchester City team-mate Edin Dzeko three times.

In Germany, Bayern Munich opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday, although they left it late to maintain their 100pc record in Hamburg.

Joshua Kimmich scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute as Carlo Ancelotti breathed a sigh of relief after his eighth win in eight competitive fixtures with the club.

Irish Independent

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