x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

European football round-up: Betis defeat leaves Madrid adrift of Barcelona

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 200th league goal as Paris Saint Germain powered to a 4-0 win at the top of Ligue 1, while Inverness proved to be Celtic's bogey team once again in Scotland.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores for PSG against Rennes at the Parc des Princes
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores for PSG against Rennes at the Parc des Princes

SPAIN

Real Madrid's hopes of defending the Primera Division title suffered another blow as they lost 1-0 at Real Betis.

Benat Etxebarria netted the game's only goal after 17 minutes as Pepe Mel's side went some way to redeeming themselves after last weekend's 5-1 derby mauling at the hands of Sevilla.

The result left Jose Mourinho's champions in third place in the standings - eight points adrift of arch rivals Barcelona.

Malaga earlier registered their first league win in five games as they hammered Valencia 4-0 at La Rosaleda to move back into the top four.

The margin of victory could have been even greater for the hosts, who controlled the game from the off and went ahead just eight minutes in when Francisco Portillo curled home from Eliseu's cutback.

Javier Saviola made it 2-0 15 minutes from time - a goal that was quickly followed by a third from Roque Santa Cruz.

Valencia were then reduced to 10 men as Adil Rami saw a second yellow card and Isco rounded off a fantastic evening for Malaga with a fourth in stoppage time.

Elsewhere, Real Valladolid stretched their unbeaten home run to six games as Manucho's second-half strike secured a 1-0 victory over Granada.

The Angolan had come close to breaking the deadlock in the first half with an overhead kick but made no mistake just after the hour when he was played in by Oscar Gonzalez and sent a fierce shot beyond Tono into the top corner.

Rayo Vallecano left it late to see off out-of-form Real Mallorca 2-0.

A match utterly devoid of excitement looked headed for a goalless draw until Leo Baptistao broke the deadlock with a goal totally out of keeping with what had gone beforehand, firing home low from 30 yards.

He then turned provider as substitute Andrija Delibasic got a second in the 90th minute to keep the hosts well placed in the top half and condemn the visitors to a seventh defeat in eight league games.

 

PORTUGAL

In-form Benfica moved three points clear at the top of the Liga standings after beating Olhanense 2-0 at home.

Oscar Cardozo's 26th-minute penalty put Benfica ahead and Luisao's 72nd-minute strike sealed a sixth successive league win for the Libson giants.

Benfica, who also beat Celtic in the Champions League in midweek, now have daylight between themselves and second-placed Porto at the top of the standings, although having played a game more.

 

FRANCE

Paris St Germain got back to winning ways and the top of the Ligue 1 table after what proved to be a relatively easy 4-0 win over Troyes at the Parc des Princes.

Maxwell gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half before Blaise Matuidi doubled their advantage with just over 20 minutes left.

It was then left to star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to bag a brace and with it his 200th competitive league goal.

Nancy remain rooted to the bottom of the table after they could only draw 1-1 with mid-table Ajaccio at the Stade Marcel Picot.

Djamel Bakar put the home side ahead after seven minutes, but it was a lead they could not hold onto as Adrian Mutu tucked a penalty away 15 minutes before the end after Romain Grange handled in the area.

The result leaves Jean Fernandez's side seven points off safety and with just one victory to their name so far.

Bastia defiantly hauled themselves clear of the relegation zone as they snatched a 2-1 win from Lorient despite playing almost the entire match a man short.

Anthony Modeste went from hero to villain as he opened the scoring on 11 minutes only to see red moments later.

The striker was perhaps unlucky to be dismissed, after he dived in on Kevin Monnet-Paquet, but Bastia looked set to be punished nonetheless when Lamine Kone levelled on the half-hour.

But rather than roll over the Corsicans immediately grabbed back the lead through Wahbi Khazri before holding the visitors at bay for an hour to move three points clear of the drop zone.

Evian climbed to 15th place courtesy of a 1-0 victory at the Stade de la Route de Lorient, ending Rennes' four-match winning run.

Substitute Zouheir Dhaouadi netted the game's only goal 11 minutes from time to earn the visitors only their fourth win of the campaign.

Brest finally claimed their first away point of the season and may feel they deserved to take all three after enjoying the better of their clash with Reims.

Brest went into the match with the worst away record in Ligue 1, losing all seven of their matches and scoring just three goals in the process, but they were able to lay that ghost to rest at Stade Auguste Delaune.

Nice moved into the top half after Dario Cvitanich's first-half penalty inspired them to a 1-0 win at struggling Sochaux.

Cvitanich netted from the spot to give the visitors a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time after Roy Contout was adjudged to have handled in the area.

 

HOLLAND

Rock-bottom Willem II struck two late goals to end their five-game losing run with a 2-2 draw at home to Heracles Almelo.

Heracles were on course for a comfortable success thanks to goals in either half from Samuel Armenteros (34 and 62 minutes) until Niek Vossebelt pulled one back 13 minutes from the end.

The visitors then shot themselves in the foot in injury time as substitute Milano Koenders saw red, seven minutes after coming on, and Jordens Peters equalised.

NEC Nijmegen were 2-0 winners over fellow European hopefuls FC Utrecht thanks to first-half goals from Rick Ten Voorde (16) and Melvin Platje (39).

Utrecht's hopes of a recovery were ended when Dave Bulthuis was dismissed 11 minutes from the end.

VVV-Venlo are a point away from safety following a 1-1 home draw with Heerenveen.

VVV led for just five minutes as Alfred Finnbogason struck on 61 minutes to cancel out Brian Linssen's goal.

Ard Van Peppen equalised 10 minutes from full-time to give RKC Waalwijk a share of the spoils 1-1 with 10-man Groningen.

Kees Kwakman scored first after 43 minutes for Groningen, who had Michael De Leeuw red carded two minutes from the end.

 

GERMANY

Bayern Munich marched further clear at the top of the Bundesliga following a 5-0 demolition of Hannover.

Javi Martinez set the hosts on their way at the Allianz Arena with his first goal for the club after three minutes and Toni Kroos made it two midway through the half.

Franck Ribery killed off the Hannover challenge in the 37th minute and Dante added to their misery with a fourth just after the half-hour mark.

Mario Gomez, off the bench for his first Bundesliga appearance of the season following injury, completed the rout in the 67th minute, a minute after coming on.

The win extended Bayern's lead at the top to 10 points after Schalke were held at home by fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Royal Blues had to settle for a 1-1 draw, Klaas Jan Huntelaar's 11th-minute opener cancelled out two minutes later by Stefan Aigner.

Frankfurt had Karim Matmour sent off in the 87th minute.

The result dropped Schalke to third as Borussia Dortmund moved up a place by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Mainz.

The champions' coach Jurgen Klopp was facing his former club, who went in front after only four minutes through Marco Caligiuri.

Marco Reus replied in the 11th minute, though, and Robert Lewandowski got the winner two minutes before the break.

Werder Bremen drew 1-1 at Wolfsburg.

The visitors went in front after 35 minutes through Marko Arnautovic, but had Lukas Schmitz sent off in the 62nd minute and conceded an equaliser to Bas Dost two minutes later.

Greuther Fürth drew 0-0 at home to fellow strugglers Nurnberg.

Both sides had a man sent off, the visitors losing Markus Feulner after 35 minutes and Greuther Sercan Sararer after 61.

 

SCOTLAND

Billy McKay netted the second-half winner as Inverness pulled off the shock of the day with a 1-0 victory over leaders Celtic at Parkhead.

Neil Lennon had claimed fatigue was impacting on his Celtic squad and it looked that way as they never got going against the neat and tidy visitors.

Hibernian missed the chance to go top of the table after losing 1-0 to Aberdeen. Niall McGinn struck 14 minutes from time to give the visitors the spoils as they moved level on points with Hibs, with both clubs just a point behind Celtic.

Dundee remained rooted to the bottom of the table after they going down 3-1 at second-bottom St Mirren.

Steven Thompson was on target either side of a Ryan Conroy penalty, before Dougie Imrie put the gloss on the win with his first goal for the club against Dundee, who had Colin Nish sent off.

Ross County stayed one place above the drop zone after they were beaten 2-1 by Dundee United.

After a goalless first half Iain Vigurs gave County the lead in the 48th minute with a glancing header.

Johnny Russell equalised within four minutes after he beat County goalkeeper Michael Fraser to a long ball on the edge of the 18-yard box - and United grabbed the winner in the 65th minute when Stuart Armstrong nodded in a Jon Daly knock-down.

Motherwell failed to find the net at Fir Park as they were held by Hearts in a disappointing contest.

Rowan Vine struck two minutes from time to hand St Johnstone a 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock in a bad-tempered clash at Rugby Park.

Home captain Manuel Pascali was controversially sent off after four minutes, for a two-footed challenge on Nigel Hasselbaink.

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