A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…
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Real Sociedad 1-0 Barcelona
The La Liga title race is…officially on again? Nearly double-digit points clear of everyone three short weeks ago, Barcelona are now three games without a win in league play following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to 9th-place Real Sociedad, their lead cut to three points with six games to play.
Mikel Oyarzabal scored the game’s only goal (below video), a textbook header from 11 yards out just five minutes into the game, and the hosts held on for dear life from there. Barca finished the game with 74 percent of possession, but could create just 13 chances with that much of the ball (6 shots on target), compared to Sociedad’s five shots and lone effort on target.
Espanyol 1-3 Atletico Madrid
Barca’s defeat opens the door for Atletico Madrid, who earlier in the day thumped 12th-place Espanyol away from home. The hosts went ahead through Pape Diop’s opener in the 29th minute, but Fernando Torres (35th minute), Antoine Griezmann (58th) and Koke (89th) hit back over the game’s final hour to make it eight wins in their last 10 league games (one draw).
Real Madrid 4-0 Eibar
Also making the most of Barca’s recent results are Real Madrid, who sit a single point behind Atleti and four behind the leaders after hammering Eibar, 4-0, at the Santiago Bernabeu. James Rodriguez opened the scoring with a stunning free kick (WATCH HERE) in the 5th minute. Lucas Vazquez doubled the lead on 18 minutes, and Cristiano Ronaldo (30th league goal of the season) made it three a minute later. Jese Rodriguez completed the scoring in the 39th minute. That’s six straight victories for Los Blancos, by a combined score of 22-4.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Betis 1-0 Levante
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Sporting Gijon vs. Celta Vigo (6 a.m. ET)
Valencia vs. Sevilla (10 a.m. ET)
Villarreal vs. Getafe (12:15 p.m. ET)
Athletic Bilbao vs. Rayo Vallecano (2:30 p.m. ET)
AC Milan 1-2 Juventus
Juventus have gone nine points clear in Serie A — until Napoli play on Sunday, at least — after winning 2-1 away to AC Milan on Saturday. Alex gave the hosts a lead on 18 minutes, but Mario Madzukic and Paul Pogba hit back 20 minutes either side of halftime to extend The Old Lady’s unbeaten run to 22 games in league play (21 wins). Anything but a win from Napoli, and it’s unthinkable for anyone but Juve to win the title.
Frosinone 0-1 Inter Milan
The race for UEFA Champions League qualification in Serie A is only marginally less settled after Inter Milan eeked out a 1-0 away victory over Frosinone. With their first win in three league games, Inter have moved to within five points of Roma in the race for Italy’s third and final Champions League place. Mauro Icardi scored the game’s only goal, giving the 23-year-old Argentine a picture-esque 50 goals in 100 games across all competitions for the club.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Chievo 1-0 Carpi
Sassuolo 0-1 Genoa
Sunday’s Serie A schedule
Empoli vs. Fiorentina (6:30 a.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Hellas Verona (9 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Atalanta (9 a.m. ET)
Sampdoria vs. Udinese (9 a.m. ET)
Palermo vs. Lazio (2:45 p.m. ET)