La Liga & Serie A: Barca blow two-goal, man advantage; Juve rout in derby

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz

A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights:

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Villarreal 2-2 Barcelona

24 hours ago, I titled Saturday’s La Liga and Serie A roundup with the following phrase: “title is Barca’s.” Way to make me look bad, Barcelona. In truth, there’s no way anyone other than the Blaugrana lift the La Liga trophy this season, but the timing of Sunday’s draw was anything but helpful, selfishly for myself.

Anyway, it was an utter choke job. There’s no two ways around it. From two goals and a man up, to drawing 2-2 — a sub-optimal result. Ivan Rakitic (20th minute) and Neymar (41st) put Barca ahead, either side of Bruno’s 24th-minute red card. Cedric Bakambu pulled one back for Villarreal in the 57th minute, and Jeremy Mathieu put the game’s final goal into his own net on 63 minutes. With the draw, Barca’s lead atop the league table is nine points with eight games remaining.

Real Madrid 4-0 Sevilla

Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo — all the members of “the BBC” — and Jese bagged the goals for Real Madrid in Sunday’s 4-0 victory over 6th-place Sevilla. The gap between Madrid and Barca is down to 10 points.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Espanyol 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
Valencia 0-2 Celta Vigo

Torino 1-4 Juventus

Nothing soothes the soul of supporters more than a derby day thrashing of your local rival. Juventus fans are not only celebrating remaining atop the Serie A table for another week, but also a resounding victory in the Turin Derby. Furthermore, the goals were spectacular.

From Paul Pogba’s free kick; to Sami Khedira’s (yes, Sami Khedira) go-it-alone run through the heart of midfield; to Pogba’s fancy dribbling, beautiful chipped passing, and Alvaro Morata’s lovely dinked finish … what more could you want as a Juve supporter? Their lead in the race for the title currently stands at three points with eight games to go.

Napoli 3-1 Genoa

Napoli are giving it all they’ve got to keep the title race close, but when Juve refuse to lose (they’re unbeaten in 20 straight league games, including 19 wins), the best they can do is simply keep pace.

Gonzalo Higuain bagged his 28th and 29th league goals of the season (in 30 games) while Omar El Kaddouri scored his first league goal for Napoli in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Genoa.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Frosinone 0-0 Fiorentina
AC Milan vs. Lazio (ongoing)
Sampdoria 0-1 Chievo
Atalanta 2-0 Bologna
Hellas Verona 1-2 Carpi
Sassuolo 1-1 Udinese