A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…
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La Palmas 0-1 Sevilla
Joaquín Correa kept Sevilla within three points of league leaders Real Madrid on Sunday after rescuing his side in the final 10 minutes against Las Palmas. Despite posting just three shots on target in the match, Sevilla managed to keep its title hopes alive in Spain, which is shaping up to be a three-team race. Las Palmas currently sits in 11th place on 28 points, however, the club is just eight points out of the top six.
Atletico Madrid 3-2 Celta Vigo
Late goals from Yannick Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann helped rescue Atletico Madrid on Sunday at the Vicente Calderon after a tough test from Celta Vigo. The visitors jumped out to a 1-0 lead inside of five minutes before Fernando Torres equalized in emphatic fashion with a brilliant overhead volley. John Guidetti restored the Celta lead in the 78th minute before Atleti turned it up in the final 10 minutes to pull out the victory.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Villareal 1-1 Malaga
Leganes 0-2 Sporting Gijon
Cagliari 0-2 Juventus
Gonzalo Higuain’s brace helped restore Juventus’ seven-point cushion at the top of Serie A on the road. The Bianconeri stymied the Cagliari attack on the afternoon, allowing just one shot on target, while the hosts had their chances of nicking a result diminished after the sending off of Nicoló Barella in the 67th minute.
Crotone 0-2 Roma
Roma continues to fight for a Champions League spot in Serie A after another solid performance on Sunday against Crotone. Radja Nainggolan and Edin Dzeko each found the back of the net for the visitors, who now overtake Napoli for second position in Italy’s top flight. Meanwhile, Crotone remains in the relegation zone on 13 points in 24 matches.
Torino 5-3 Pescara
When there’s three goals in the opening 15 minutes chances are you’re in for a great match, and that’s exactly what happened at the Olimpico di Torino. The hosts jumped out to a comfortable 3-0 advantage in the opening quarter of an hour before expanding the lead to 5-0 in the second stanza. However, Pescara did its best to make it a compelling match after netting three goals in 10 minutes in the second half. Pescara remains at the bottom of Serie A on nine points, while Torino currently sits ninth in Italy.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Inter Milan 2-0 Empoli
Palermo 1-3 Atalanta
Sassuolo 1-3 Chievo Verona
Sampdoria 3-1 Bologna
PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.
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The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”
His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”
Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.
Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.
In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.
He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.
Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.
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The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.
“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.
“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”
Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.
PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.
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Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.
Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.
There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.
Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.
Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.
Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.
Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.
The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.
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On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.
With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.
According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.
“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.
“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”
Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.