La Liga & Serie A: Ronaldo’s brace paces Real, Juve goes top in Italy

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A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Valencia 1-4 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace gave Los Blancos a 2-0 advantage heading into halftime, while two late goals for Zinedine Zidane’s group saw Real pull within two points of third place in La Liga. Zidane’s group rebounded well after being knocked out of the Copa del Rey midweek against Leganes. Meanwhile, in Madrid’s last two league matches, Ronaldo and Co. have managed to score 11 goals.

Villareal 4-2 Real Sociedad

A five-goal first half was more than enough excitement in this one, however, it was hosts Villareal that were having most of the fun at the Estadio de la Cerámica. The Yellow Submarine carried a 4-1 lead into the halftime break after Víctor Ruiz, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Bacca and Samu Castillejo each found the back of the net. Diego Llorente and Willian Jose both pulled goals back for Sociedad, however, the damage had already been done by Villareal — who moved five points clear of Sevilla for fifth place in Spain’s top flight.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Deportivo 2-2 Levante
Malaga 0-0 Girona

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Leganes vs. Espanyol (6 a.m. ET)
Atletico Madrid vs. Las Palmas (10:15 a.m. ET)
Sevilla vs. Getafe (12:30 p.m. ET)
Barcelona vs. Alaves (2:45 p.m. ET)

Chievo Verona 0-2 Juventus

Two red cards proved to be the extra boost that Juventus needed on Saturday to get past Chievo Verona. Samuel Bastien and Fabrizio Cacciatore were each sent off in the opening hour for the hosts, leaving Chievo tend fend for themselves with only nine men during the final 30 minutes. And that’s when Juve would take advantage. Goals from Sami Khedira and Gonzalo Higuain brought Juve into first place, with the Turin club holding a two-point lead over second-place Napoli — who holds a match in hand.

Sassuolo 0-3 Atalanta

Andrea Masiello’s pinpoint header in the 30th minute kicked off the scoring for Atalanta — who moved into seventh place on Saturday. Meanwhile, Bryan Cristante and Remo Freuler each scored in the final 10 minutes to help cement all three points for the visitors. Sassuolo currently sits in 14th place through 22 matches, six points above the relegation zone.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

SPAL vs. Inter Milan (6:30 a.m. ET)
Crotone vs. Cagliari (9 a.m. ET)
Fiorentina vs. Hellas Verona (9 a.m. ET)
Genoa vs. Udinese (9 a.m. ET)
Napoli vs. Bologna (9 a.m. ET)
Torino vs. Benevento (9 a.m. ET)
AC Milan vs. Lazio (12 p.m. ET)
Roma vs. Sampdoria (2:45 p.m. ET)