A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:
Real Madrid 3-0 Espanyol
For 24 hours, Real Madrid are back level on games played and four points ahead of both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who play each other on Sunday (3 pm ET), atop the La Liga standings. Cristiano Ronaldo shared the goals exceedingly nicely with his teammates in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Espanyol.
James Rodriguez (6th La Liga goal of the 2014-15 season) and Gareth Bale (8th goal, 2014-15) put the game out of reach early as they netted goals in the 12th and 28th minutes, respectively, before Nacho Fernandez scored his first league goal of the season to complete the scoring.
Celta Vigo 1-1 Valencia
Valencia’s Champions League quest took a bit of a hit on Saturday as Los Che (35 points) gave up a second-half lead away to Celta Vigo and dropped two points which would have seen Nuno Espirito Santo’s side go four points clear of Sevilla (33), who now have two games in hand, in the race for fourth.
Rodrigo put Valencia ahead with a low, powerful effort from 22 yards out which slipped underneath the goalkeeper after 43 minutes, but Fabian Orellana equalized for Os Célticos just past the hour mark and the 1-1 scoreline held despite the hosts’ greatest efforts otherwise.
Malaga 1-1 Villarreal
Villarreal (32 points) were unable to capitalize on Valencia’s in their own chase for Champions League qualification. Likewise, El Submarino Amarillo were a goal ahead away from home, only to concede the equalizer on the hour mark and drop two points in a game in which they out-possessed their opponents but failed to create more than a couple clear goalscoring opportunities.
Jonathan dos Santos, younger brother of teammate Giovani, put Villarreal up 1-0 with an extremely tight-angled finish during first-half stoppage time, but Nordin Amrabat lifted the ball over an onrushing Sergio Asenjo well outside the 18-yard box and found the back of the net to keep Malaga (31) alive in their own quest for European qualification.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Eibar 2-1 Getafe
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Almeria vs. Sevilla (6 am ET)
Athletic Bilbao vs. Elche (11 am ET)
Granada vs. Real Sociedad (1 pm ET)
Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid (3 pm ET)
Torino 1-1 AC Milan
Jeremy Menez’s strong season for AC Milan continued on Saturday as the Frenchman netted his ninth Serie A goal of the season, a third-minute penalty to give the Rossoneri a dream start. The game’s next big moments would come in the 30th and 45th minutes as Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio picked up a pair of first-half yellow cards and left his team a man down for the entirety of the second half.
Milan soaked up the pressure well for 35 minutes, holding dearly onto their slim 1-0 lead before Kamil Glik finally broke through and gave Torino a deserved equalizing goal in the 81st minute. The Polish defender rose above everyone else to put his head on Bruno Peres corner kick. Milan (26 points) currently occupy Serie A’s seventh-place spot, while Torino (19) are seven points clear of the relegation zone in 13th.
Sassuolo 1-1 Udinese
A place in Serie A’s top half was on the line as Sassuolo (24 points, 10th) hosted Udinese (23, 11th) on Saturday. Goals from Sassuolo’s Simone Zaza (15h minute) and Udinese’s Cyril Thereau (26th) canceled each other out and saw the sides end the day in the exact same place they started.
Sunday’s Serie A schedule
Inter Milan vs. Genoa (6:30 am ET)
Roma vs. Lazio (9 am ET)
Sampdoria vs. Empoli (9 am ET)
Atalanta vs. Chievo (9 am ET)
Cagliari vs. Cesena (9 am ET)
Fiorentina vs. Palermo (9 am ET)
Hellas Verona vs. Parma (9 am ET)
Napoli vs. Juventus (2:45 pm ET)