x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

European football round-up: Real Madrid are determined to stay on pace

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti wants his players to continue to fight in Spain; Bayern Munich lift The Sun ban in Germany while Roma close the gap on Juventus in Italy.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti wants his players to fight until the final match. Clive Rose / Getty Images
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti wants his players to fight until the final match. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti vowed the club would fight until the bitter end for the Spanish Primera Liga title after keeping up the heat on the top two with a 4-0 thrashing of Real Sociedad on Saturday night.

Madrid are two points adrift of Barcelona and three behind leaders Atletico Madrid after their convincing win.

“We played very well, intelligently,” Ancelotti said. “We started at a very high pace and had more intensity in the second half. Everyone had a good game and I’m pleased because it wasn’t easy.

“I’m very proud to manage this team. I have players who like to fight and we’re going to fight until the last match.”

Former France striker Nicolas Anelka has joined Atletico Mineiro, according to the Brazilian club’s president.

Anelka, 35, has been without a club since being sacked by English club West Bromwich Albion last month following his use of the allegedly anti-Semitic “quenelle” gesture when celebrating a goal.

Atletico president Alexandre Kalil posted on Twitter on Sunday “Anelka e do Galo”, which translates as “Anelka is a rooster”, in reference to the club’s nickname.

In Italy, Roma closed to within five points of Serie A leaders Juventus as Mattia Destro’s hat-trick handed Cagliari a 3-1 defeat at the Stadio Sant’Elia yesterday.

Juve, who have seven games remaining, can reopen their eight-point gap with victory over Livorno tonight, but nerves will be frayed in Turin after Roma demonstrated their determination to snatch the scudetto.

Destro scored once in the first half and twice after the break to reach 13 goals for the season before Mauricio Pinilla blotted Roma’s clean sheet with a penalty at the death.

Antonio Candreva and Senad Lulic struck in either half for Lazio to secure a precious 2-0 win over Sampdoria and boost their Europa League hopes. Lucas Biglia was dismissed for Lazio following a second booking shortly before the hour mark.

German champions Bayern Munich have lifted their ban on reporters from English newspaper The Sun from attending Wednesday’s Uefa Champions League home clash against Manchester United after the British tabloid apologised for their “You Schwein!” headline.

“The Sun has apologised to an appropriate extent, so the matter for us is now closed,” said Bayern’s media director Markus Hoerwick.

The European champions had taken offence at the newspaper’s headline after Bayern’s Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was sent off in last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the quarter-final first leg.

Eintracht Braunschweig sent Hannover crashing to their fourth straight defeat in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win at the Eintracht Stadion. Torsten Lieberknecht’s men completed the double over their local rivals and moved to within two points of Hannover, who are just outside the drop zone.

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