Monday, July 24, 2017

La Liga Review: Madrid close on top two, pressure mounts on Neville

SoccerNews in La Liga 20 Mar 2016

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Real Madrid capitalised on slip-ups from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to close the gap at the top of La Liga with a 4-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday.

Karim Benzema scored just six minutes into his return to action from injury and, after Kevin Gameiro and Cristiano Ronaldo each missed a penalty, Madrid took control in the second half.

Ronaldo turned in Danilo’s cross before Gareth Bale reached 43 goals in Spain’s top flight – the most by any British player – after linking up with Benzema.

Jese Rodriguez added a late fourth as Madrid moved to within a point of second-placed Atletico, who were shocked by Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Leaders Barcelona hold a nine-point gap at the top but will be frustrated to have let a 2-0 lead slip away to Villarreal.

Ivan Rakitic and a penalty from Neymar put Luis Enrique’s side in control, but Cedric Bakambu halved the deficit before Jeremy Mathieu’s own goal handed the home side an important point in their top-four push.

Celta Vigo struck twice in the closing minutes to inflict a 2-0 defeat on Valencia and pile further pressure on head coach Gary Neville.

John Guidetti opened the scoring with just 10 minutes to play and Hugo Mallo grabbed the second soon after to seal the win for Celta and leave Mestalla venting its fury at Neville, with Valencia just six points outside the bottom three.

Espanyol came from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 and put some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone.

Pape Diop and Felipe Caicedo scored twice in three second-half minutes to cancel out Eraso’s goal and secure a win which takes Constantin Galca’s side into 12th.

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