x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Real hold off Rayo after second-half scare

Real had to hold off a Rayo fightback in the second half to earn a 3-2 victory on Saturday night while Paul Pogba propelled Juventus to a 1-0 victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice on Saturday after notching a hat trick earlier in the week for Real Madrid. Susana Vera / Reuters
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice on Saturday after notching a hat trick earlier in the week for Real Madrid. Susana Vera / Reuters


Cristiano Ronaldo added a brace to his midweek hat-trick as Real Madrid survived a major second-half scare to defeat derby rivals Rayo Vallecano 3-2 and remain within six points of Primera Division leaders Barcelona.

After a hugely impressive attacking display in their 7-3 mauling of Sevilla on Wednesday, Madrid looked set for another goal glut as their forward trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale again came to the fore.

Ronaldo, who netted three against Sevilla, opened the scoring early on and then Bale set up further goals for Benzema and Ronaldo again as Madrid stormed into a 3-0 lead after 48 minutes.

However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were then stunned as Rayo won, and converted, two penalties in three minutes from Jonathan Viera to set up a thrilling final half-hour in which the home side hit the woodwork and came close on a number of other occasions.

Real Sociedad gave themselves the perfect lift ahead of next week’s Champions League clash with Manchester United by thrashing Osasuna 5-0 at home.

Jon Ansotegui headed the hosts in front after 33 minutes, while Inigo Martinez doubled the lead, heading in a corner two minutes into the second half.

Jordan Loties made things even harder for Javi Garcia’s side when he was sent off shortly after the second goal, while Antoine Griezmann later added the third, appearing at the back post to head in a corner.

With 10 minutes remaining Chory Castro increased the damage, and then Haris Seferovic completed the rout on 87 minutes.

Elsewhere, Almeria striker Rodri scored a highly-contested goal with his hand to give his side all three points in a 1-0 win against Real Valladolid.

The Barcelona B loanee decided the game by netting the only goal shortly before half-time, but Valladolid were incensed it was allowed to stand.

Celta Vigo were also victorious as they claimed a 1-0 win over Sevilla after Alex Lopez capitalised on an error by goalkeeper Beto.

The Sevilla keeper made a hash of a clearance to put the ball at the feet of the Celta midfielder, who then beat him one-on-one to fire home in the 47th minute.


The Serie A chasers did what was necessary to make sure Roma didn’t further distance themselves from the pack while Milan slid further in a disappointing season. Napoli scored twice in the first 20 minutes, with strikes coming from Jose Maria Callejon and Marek Hamsik in a 2-1 win over Catania. Lucas Nahuel Castro responded with a 25th-minute goal for the losing side, but neither club could find net for the next 65 minutes.

Fiorentina took an away win from Milan, orchestrating a clean sheet and taking a goal on each side of half-time for a 2-0 triumph. Juan Vargas and Borja Valero provided the scores for the Florence club.

And Juventus also earned an away win, with Paul Pogba’s 77th-minute strike putting the Turin side over Parma 1-0.

The Serie A table now sees Roma with a two-point advantage over second and third-place Napoli and Juventus with a game in hand. Fiorentina – in fourth with 21 points – left Milan sitting on just 12 points from 11 matches and the possibility of falling behind Torino (who host Roma), Genoa and Cagliari when the three sides within two points of Milan play later today.


Wolfsburg moved to fifth in the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win over Frankfurt while Eintract delivered a disappointing blow to Leverkusen with a 1-0 win, thanks to Dominick Kumbeala’s 81st-minute winner.

Schalke, sitting sixth, leapt over Hertha Berlin with a 2-0 victory. Adam Szalai scored in the first half and Julian Draxler added another tally late into extra time.

Freiburg beat Nurnberg 3-0 in a battle of two sides inside the relegation zone and Gladbach topped Hamburg 2-0, as well.


Lyon, mired in the bottom half of the Ligue 1 table, earned a much-needed 2-0 win over Guingamp - who had been in fifth - with goals from Bafetimbi Gomis and Alexandre Lacazette.

Marseille earned a 1-1 draw away at Rennes and Reims, now sixth, beat Bastia 4-2.