x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

European football round-up: Pressure mounts on Mourinho as Real Madrid lose more ground

Suspension-hit Real Madrid struggled to leave Osasuna with a point, while Inter Milan narrowed the gap at the top of Serie A.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema laments a wasted chance against Osasuna.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema laments a wasted chance against Osasuna.

SPAIN

The pressure on Jose Mourinho is set to increase after a poor performance by Real Madrid saw them come away from bottom side Osasuna with just a point.

It was a miserable night for Madrid, who were without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, with Kaka sent off 19 minutes after coming on as a substitute while Jose Maria Callejon had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside decision.

The result means Madrid are 15 points behind Primera Division leaders Barcelona, who play Malaga tonight, and four behind neighbours Atletico.

"I liked my team's attitude, Raul Albiol and Fabio Coentrao have come in and played well and the others have done a job," Mourinho said afterwards.

"It's not easy to create here, we did enough to score but we didn't make many chances."

Roberto Soldado took his tally to 17 goals for the season as Valencia continued their improvement since Ernesto Valverde replaced Mauricio Pellegrino as coach with a 2-0 win over Sevilla.

Valverde's side made it seven wins from eight games move up to seventh a point behind Malaga in the final Champions League spot in fourth. Sevilla remain 12th in the table following the loss.

Soldado netted from close range five minutes into the second half then wrapped up the win in the closing moments with a header from a Pablo Piatti corner to make it 11 La Liga goals for the season.

Patrick Ebert inspired Valladolid with two goals and an assist as they claimed their first win in five games over Mallorca with a 3-1 victory.

The German fired the hosts into the lead with a wonderful strike from 20 yards after 21 minutes but Mallorca were level before half-time as Victor rose to head home Javier Arizmendi's cross 16 minutes later.

Ebert proved the difference in the dying minutes as Oscar Gonzalez turned home his cross three minutes from time and the former Hertha Berlin man then went through on goal and jinked past Dudu Aouate before slotting into an empty net.

Sergio Garcia's first-half goal was enough to hand Espanyol a crucial three points as they moved out of the Primera Division relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.

The former Spanish international gave the hosts the perfect start as he tapped home Christian Stuani's cross from close range on 23 minutes, and despite having more of the ball after the break, Celta struggled to create clear-cut chances.

 

ITALY

Inter Milan edged closer to the top of Serie A with a comfortable 2-0 win against struggling Pescara, who can count themselves lucky to have got away with such a modest score line at the Stadio San Siro.

Goals from Rodrigo Palacio and Fredy Guarin earned Andrea Stramaccioni's side all three points in a game Inter controlled from start to finish.

Only a case of poor and tame finishing denied Inter a greater victory, yet the three points took them above Napoli into third place, a point behind Lazio and six adrift of leaders Juventus, who travel to Parma tomorrow.

"We're happy because despite having so many players unavailable we played a creative game and gave very little away," said Stramaccioni,

"I'm happy for Benassi, and all the other players."

Bologna eased their relegation worries with a convincing 4-0 win over Chievo in a one-sided game.

Panagiotis Kone got the home team on the way in the 12th minute, with Alberto Gilardino doubling their lead two minutes before the interval.

Gilardino effectively wrapped things up on the hour mark, with Chievo showing no signs of a recovery, although Alberto Paloschi hit a post late on before Manolo Gabbiadini added a fourth in the 89th minute.

The win lifted Bologna to within three points of their opponents and five points clear of the relegation zone.

 

PORTUGAL

Braga missed the chance to strengthen their grip on third place in the Portuguese Liga after slipping to a 3-2 loss at Nacional.

Braga took the lead through Helder Barbosa in the 37th minute, but efforts by Edson Mexer (58) and Diego Barcelos (60) allied to Ismaily's 77th-minute own goal ensured the points went to Nacional.

Antonio Eder pulled one back for Braga in the 83rd minute, but a minute later the visitors lost Hugo Viana to a second yellow card.

In the day's other game, Amido Balde's 90th-minute strike rescued a 1-1 draw for Guimaraes at home to Maritimo, who took the lead through Danilo Dias in the second minute but were made to pay for the 72nd-minute dismissal of Marcio Rosario.

 

FRANCE

Lyon took full advantage of their opportunity to return to the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-1 win over Troyes at the Stade de L'Aube.

Following Paris St Germain's draw with Ajaccio on Friday, Les Gones had Maxime Gonalons (11) and Samuel Umtiti (75) to thank for the goals that took them two points clear of the capital club.

Defeat for second-bottom Troyes, who replied through Benjamin Nivet in the 38th minute, leaves them six points adrift of safety after one win in 11 matches.

Yoan Gouffran (57) and Henri Saivet (66) scored the goals as Bordeaux defeated Rennes 2-0.

Rennes went into the game in fourth place and looking to close the gap on the top three but Bordeaux had other ideas to record their first win since mid-November.

Gaetan Charbonnier's late double lifted Montpellier to their fourth straight home win with a 2-0 triumph over Lorient.

Charbonnier struck 11 minutes from time and again at the death to condemn Lorient to a first defeat in six on their return from the winter break.

The win takes Montpellier into eighth, two points behind Lorient who drop to sixth.

Managerless Nancy came from behind twice to earn an impressive 2-2 draw against Lille.

Ligue 1's basement club went into the game winless in the league since the season's opening day and having been rocked by the resignation of coach Jean Fernandez.

Head of youth Patrick Gabriel stepped in as caretaker but had just one training session with the team, and saw his charges fall behind after only a minute to Nolan Roux's goal.

But Romain Grange equalised and, after Dimitri Payet restored Lille's lead, Thomas Ayasse volleyed a second leveller.

The draw leaves Lille with only two wins in eight games, denting their European ambitions, while Nancy are now seven points adrift of safety after a seventh draw in eight league games.

Struggling Evian had goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait sent off early on as they slipped to a third straight loss in a 2-0 reverse at home to Brest.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men after 14 minutes when Laquait conceded a penalty for bringing down Eden Ben Basat when through on goal.

Ben Basat took the spot-kick himself, beating replacement keeper Stephan Andersen.

Evian did well to stay in the game despite being a man down, but Bruno Grougi added a second at the death to seal Brest's win.

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