Thursday 17 January 2019

Bale strike keeps flat Real on Barca's tail

Ancelotti: “We’ll go there and play our usual game. It would be counter-productive to try and park the bus. That’s not how we play.” Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ancelotti: “We’ll go there and play our usual game. It would be counter-productive to try and park the bus. That’s not how we play.” Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ryan Corry

Gareth Bale got the only goal as Real Madrid laboured to a 1-0 win at Huesca yesterday.

La Liga is starting to take a more familiar shape with Real joining Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona in the top four.

Barca, inspired by Lionel Messi, laid down a marker ahead of their clash with Tottenham tomorrow.

Messi's brace of free-kicks in their 4-0 win over city rivals Espanyol prompted high praise from Ernesto Valverde.

"Messi is just extraordinary. The two goals, the chances created and what he gives us, he is extraordinary," the Barca manager said.

"He can unlock any game, having him with us is infinite good fortune."

Valencia welcome Manchester United on Wednesday off the back of a positive 1-1 home draw with high-flying Sevilla.

In Italy, Napoli geared up for their trip to Anfield tomorrow with a thumping victory over Frosinone.

Adamant

Manager Carlo Ancelotti is adamant that his side won't just be playing for the draw that would see them through to the last 16 stage.

"We'll go there and play our usual game. It would be counter-productive to try and park the bus. That's not how we play," he said.

"We'll try to boss the game. We'll go there with an attacking mindset."

For now, they remain eight points behind Juventus in Serie A - the leaders beat Inter Milan 1-0 on Friday night.

Unbeaten Borussia Dortmund remain the pacesetters in the Bundesliga, with Schalke the latest to fall foul of Lucien Favre's team.

Bayern Munich took advantage of RasenBallsport Leipzig's slip-up to creep up the table following an unconvincing start to life under Niko Kovac.

The Bavarians beat Nurnburg 3-0, while Leipzig were on the receiving end of the same scoreline from Freiburg.

Manchester City's midweek opponents Hoffenheim sit in mid-table limbo following a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg.

Just four games went ahead in Ligue 1 due to the 'yellow vest' protests, with second placed Lille relying on Nicolas Pepe's 95th-minute penalty to rescue a point against Reims.

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