Spain Roundup: Top three manage two points total; Whose is it to lose?

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Barcelona’s 2-2 Saturday draw with Getafe should’ve signaled a new champion. The Blaugranas couldn’t find another miracle, instead choking away a late 2-1 lead and gaining just a single point as they try to chase down Atletico Madrid for the La Liga title.

But Atletico made Barca’s choke look like a cough, losing 2-0 at mid-table Levante. It began with an own-goal before David Barral’s seventh of the season increased Diego Simeone’s plight. Atleti outshot Levante 23-7.

And to top it all off, Real Madrid couldn’t take all the points at home against Valenica. While it did give us this moment of brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time — Watch, you must — it also stopped Galacticos from owning its destiny.

Now on 88 points, Atletico’s lead over Barca has shrunk to three points, and Real is five points back of Atleti with a match in hand.

What’s it all mean? Well, Atleti holds the keys. They win out, they win La Liga. If Barca beats Atleti and Real drops any points, the title remains in Barcelona.

And there’s this:

The run-in for the title:

Atletico Madrid (88 points)
May 11 vs. Malaga
May 18 at Barcelona

Barcelona (85 points)
May 11 at Elche
May 18 vs. Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid (83 points)
May 7 at Valladolid
May 11 at Celta Vigo
May 18 vs. Espanyol

ELSEWHERE

  • Rayo Vallecano 0-3 Athletic Bilbao— The match was more or less dusted by the 30th minute, when De Marcos’ sixth of the year made it 2-0. Athletic had much more to play for, and it showed; The lead over Sevilla for fourth, and the UEFA Champions League, is safe.
  • Malaga 0-1 Elche — Massive road win from a desperate Elche team has Los Franjiverdes joining its opponents in relative safety. Dutchman Garry Rodrigues provides the winner.
  • Osasuna 0-2 Celta Vigo — The hosts’ despair is high after the weekend has it poised for the drop on 35 points. Goals 15 & 16 for Nolito pace the winners.
  • Valladolid 1-0 Espanyol — Unlikely hero Antonio Rukavina netted just his second of the season in boosting Valladolid’s survival hopes. Though still in 19th, they have one more game remaining than most of its fellow relegation-scrappers; Real Madrid, Betis and Granada remain on its slate to safety.
  • Almeria 3-2 Real Betis — Already-relegated Betis gives the hosts a fight, posting a 2-1 lead in the second half, but Aleix Vidal tied it before Ramon Azeez found the winner in the 90th minute to send Almeria a point clear of relegation.
  • Sevilla 0-0 Villarreal – A draw was almost as good as a win for the hosts, who just didn’t want Villarreal to snag all three.
  • Real Sociedad vs. Granada – Monday

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Atlético Madrid 36 28 4 4 75 24 51 15-3-0 13-1-4 88
Barcelona 36 27 4 5 99 32 67 16-1-1 11-3-4 85
Real Madrid 35 26 5 4 100 34 66 15-1-2 11-4-2 83
Athletic 36 20 8 8 65 38 27 13-3-2 7-5-6 68
Sevilla 36 17 9 10 66 50 16 10-4-4 7-5-6 60
Real Sociedad 35 16 9 10 59 51 8 11-3-3 5-6-7 57
Villarreal 36 15 8 13 54 43 11 8-6-4 7-2-9 53
Valencia 36 12 10 14 49 50 -1 9-3-6 3-7-8 46
Celta Vigo 36 13 7 16 46 52 -6 5-7-6 8-0-10 46
Levante 36 11 12 13 33 42 -9 6-6-6 5-6-7 45
Rayo Vallecano 36 13 4 19 45 74 -29 8-0-10 5-4-9 43
Espanyol 36 11 8 17 39 47 -8 7-4-7 4-4-10 41
Málaga 36 11 8 17 37 45 -8 7-2-9 4-6-8 41
Elche 36 9 12 15 29 47 -18 6-7-5 3-5-10 39
Granada 35 11 4 20 30 53 -23 7-1-10 4-3-10 37
Almería 36 10 6 20 41 71 -30 6-5-7 4-1-13 36
Getafe 36 9 9 18 32 53 -21 5-6-7 4-3-11 36
Osasuna 36 9 8 19 29 60 -31 5-5-8 4-3-11 35
Valladolid 35 7 14 14 34 54 -20 6-8-3 1-6-11 35
Betis 36 5 7 24 31 73 -42 4-3-11 1-4-13 22

Lyon winger Terrier stretchered off after collapsing

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A scary moment gripped Lyon’s home match against Toulouse as winger Martin Terrier was stretchered off after collapsing off the ball in the 26th minute.

Television cameras caught Terrier slowly bend forward then collapse backwards, lying motionless as his Lyon teammates immediately reacted with concern. After appearing unconscious for several seconds as teammates turned him on his side, the 22-year-old then woke violently, causing more concern.

Eventually, Terrier was conscious as he was loaded onto a stretcher and taken off the field, with his close friend Moussa Dembele visibly emotional on the pitch. Play resumed and Lyon took the lead just three minutes later through Maxwel Cornet.

The club released a statement on Terrier’s status at halftime, delivering good news that he was awake and recovering under close supervision. Lyon confirmed that Terrier had suffered a Vasovagal syncope, which results in sudden loss of blood pressure and heart rate which leads to fainting. A Vasovagal syncope often occurs from a trigger or stimuli – often the sight of blood or other extreme emotional distress – which causes the cranial nerve to react. It’s unclear what caused Terrier to faint, but he was shown breathing heavily in the immediate aftermath.

Karl Toko Ekambi came on for Terrier, making his club debut after joining last week on loan from Villareal.

A Lille youth product, Terrier joined Lyon from Strasbourg in the summer of 2018 and has been a major component of their recent success. He has made 16 Ligue 1 appearances this season, and while he hasn’t scored yet in league play, he has four goals in eight appearances across all other competitions, including a goal in four Champions League appearances.

Man City skates past 10-man Fulham in FA Cup

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Just six minutes into Fulham’s trip to the Etihad, the game was essentially over. Tim Ream upper-body tackled Gabriel Jesus who was through on goal, the American international was sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity, and Ilkay Gundogan bagged the penalty.

A goal down and a man down, that was all she wrote for the Whites. The rest was a formality.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All told, Manchester City held nearly 70% possession and completed a 4-0 victory to advance to the FA Cup fifth round.

Bernardo Silva scored the second before the 20-minute mark with a brilliant turn and shoot into the bottom-right corner, and while Man City slept through the next stage of the match, they awoke again on the hour mark as Raheem Sterling hit the post. The hosts poured men forward and Jesus nearly had City’s third as he was fed through on goal, but new Fulham signing Terence Knogolo made a last-gasp tackle that saved a goal.

Jesus would get his goal, a 72nd minute effort after David Silva forced a turnover deep in the Fulham defensive third. Raheem Sterling’s cross found the head of Jesus, and his effort survived a tight VAR check for offside. He got a second immediately after, following up a Marek Rodak save with another header to make it 4-0.

Man City advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup with the win, becoming the fifth Premier League team confirmed to have reached the next stage, with another five possible to advance either later today, tomorrow, or on replays. The draw for the next round will be held on Monday.

Nainggolan pegs back Inter in draw with Cagliari

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Inter’s challenge of Juventus for the Scudetto this season continues to absorb punches, each one slightly more damaging than the last.

The most recent blow came on Sunday as Inter suffered its third straight draw, pegged back by Cagliari as Radja Nainggolan delivered a 78th minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw.

Lautaro Martinez put Inter in front in the first half, with a pinpoint header buried off new signing Ashley Young‘s cross just before the half-hour mark. Unfortunately, as has been the story of late, they were unable to tack on the all-important second. The best chance came via Romelu Lukaku who dazzled the San Siro crowd by dodging and weaving through midfield and charging forward towards net, but was ultimately let down as he dragged the big chance wide with 10 minutes remaining. Young also seemed to have won a penalty at one point in the second half, but none was given and VAR did not intervene.

Nainggolan was the man to keep Cagliari in the hunt for a Champions League place, delivering a 78th minute shot that deflected off the heel of Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni and tucked perfectly inside the bottom-left corner. The deflection was a stroke of luck, but not all that harsh as Cagliari finished the match with a whopping 60% possession on the road at the second-placed Inter side.

To make matters worse, Martinez – who has been so massively important to Inter this entire season – lost his head deep in stoppage time, sent off for dissent after arguing a non-call. That leaves him suspended for the next league match against Udinese.

The lone point leaves Inter three points back of Juventus, who plays later Sunday against Napoli. A victory would carry the Old Lady six full points atop the table, with Inter having drawn against Atalanta and Lecce previously. The draw also leaves Inter vulnerable to Lazio below them, who sits three points back with two games in hand. A January slump is not uncommon for Inter, having won more than one league game just once in the last seven seasons.

There are still other competitions for Inter to focus on, however, with a Coppa Italia quarterfinal game against Fiorentia this week plus the Europa League knockout stage which begins in late February with a matchup against Russian side Ludogorets.

Atletico Madrid held scoreless by lowly Leganes

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Diego Simeone was once again flummoxed up front as Atletico Madrid was toothless in a 0-0 draw with lowly Leganes, leaving them seven points behind leaders Barcelona in the La Liga table, and leaving them looking for answers up front as well.

Joao Felix and Thomas Partey were bright, but Alvaro Morata was quieted by a well organized Leganes side as Atletico failed to produce any type of solid chance on net until Saul and Ivan Saponjic each missed decent efforts in the final minutes of play, including the latter’s which came in the 93rd minute and left the hosts with just the lone point. The meek result against La Liga’s 19th-placed team is the most recent setback in a season of spotty performances.

All season long, scoring goals has been an enormous problem for Atleti. They haven’t scored more than two goals in any game since a 3-2 win over Eibar way back on September 1, and have been blanked in eight league matches this year, including two in a row now. They have scored 22 goals this season in La Liga play, a paltry total only matched by eighth-placed Atletic Bilbao and those in 14th and below.

Felix has drowned in abuse from fans over the last month given the team’s struggles, but in all honesty he was the team’s best attacker at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday. The young Portuguese forward worked both flanks and earned four fouls, including two in the attacking third. Still, he had little support and was unable to get by a packed-in Leganes defense on his own. Partey was good as well, producing a quality shift in his defensive midfield role but unable to chip in moving forward.

In contrast, Morata was a complete no-show. Producing just two total shots in the 90-minute performance, Morata has now failed to score in three straight league games and owns just two in his last eight. Simeone’s attack was completely devoid of answers, resorting to futily pummeling the Leganes box with crosses, finding a teammate with just six of their 23 attempts. They won just two of seven aerial duels in the Leganes area, and over the 90 minutes produced an expected goal total of 1.02 with 14 shots, including nearly half of that xG value (0.45) on the aforementioned two late chances coming in the final three minutes of play.

With a Champions League matchup against Liverpool on the horizon, Simeone has plenty to sort out as Atletico Madrid looks to challenge both domestically and in Europe.