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Real Madrid closer to La Liga title after seventh straight win

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MADRID — Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 on Sunday to move closer to its first Spanish league title in three years, as Sergio Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty kick to give Real Madrid the win over Athletic Bilbao, for its seventh straight league victory and open a seven-point lead over second-place Barcelona, which visits fifth-place Villarreal later Sunday.

“These three points are very important, we knew this was going to be one of the difficult matches we had left,” Ramos said. “This was a key victory to try to put some pressure on Barcelona. We only depend on ourselves.”

Madrid has four matches left as it chases its first league title since 2017.

Ramos had already scored a late winner from the penalty spot in Madrid’s 1-0 win against Getafe on Thursday. He had scored in three other matches since the league resumed.

Ramos converted on Sunday after video review determined there was a foul when defender Dani García stepped on left back Marcelo’s right foot inside the area. Athletic wanted a penalty for a similar foul by Ramos away from the ball a few moments later, but the game was allowed to continue.

Madrid remained the only team with a perfect record after the coronavirus break. Its last three victories came with 1-0 results.

Eighth-place Athletic was coming off two straight victories and had won three of its last four matches, with the only setback a loss at Barcelona.

Madrid was without forward Eden Hazard and defender Raphael Varane because of minor injuries.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona had the lead when the league was suspended but has drawn three of its six matches since the return, including the last two. It will enter the match against Villarreal with coach Quique Setién under pressure because of the team’s poor run of results.

The Catalan club will face a Villarreal team that has won five of its six matches after the break.

Ramos helps Madrid edge Getafe, increase lead over Barcelona

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BARCELONA, Spain — Real Madrid beat Getafe, increasing its lead over Barcelona to four points with the Spanish league nearing its end as Sergio Ramos scored a late penalty to give them a valuable three points.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

Ramos converted the 79th-minute spot kick after Getafe made its first mistake in an otherwise flawless defensive performance to stifle the more talented rivals.

Madrid right back Dani Carvajal raced into the area and cut back around defender Mathias Olivera, who tripped him and gave Ramos the chance to score the winner that boosts his team’s chances of dethroning Barcelona.

It was the ninth league goal of the season for the Madrid center back.

Madrid has won all six matches since the restart of the league following a three-month stoppage for the coronavirus pandemic. Barcelona, meanwhile, settled for a third draw in four games on Tuesday when it was held 2-2 by Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid and Barcelona both have five matches left. Madrid holds the tiebreaker in case of they finish level on points.

La Liga standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Real Madrid 33 22 8 3 61 21 40 13-4-0 9-4-3 74
 Barcelona 33 21 7 5 74 35 39 15-2-0 6-5-5 70
 Atlético Madrid 33 15 14 4 43 25 18 10-5-1 5-9-3 59
 Sevilla 33 15 12 6 48 33 15 7-7-2 8-5-4 57
 Villarreal 33 16 6 11 53 40 13 8-5-3 8-1-8 54
 Getafe 33 14 10 9 42 31 11 8-6-3 6-4-6 52
 Real Sociedad 33 15 5 13 50 42 8 9-3-5 6-2-8 50
 Athletic Club 33 12 12 9 38 28 10 9-4-3 3-8-6 48
 Granada 33 13 7 13 40 38 2 9-2-5 4-5-8 46
 València 33 12 10 11 41 48 -7 9-7-1 3-3-10 46
 Osasuna 33 11 11 11 40 47 -7 6-5-5 5-6-6 44
 Levante 33 12 6 15 41 46 -5 8-4-4 4-2-11 42
 Betis 33 9 10 14 43 54 -11 8-4-5 1-6-9 37
 Valladolid 33 7 15 11 27 37 -10 3-10-3 4-5-8 36
 Alavés 33 9 8 16 32 50 -18 7-5-5 2-3-11 35
 Eibar 33 9 8 16 34 50 -16 7-2-8 2-6-8 35
 Celta Vigo 33 7 13 13 32 42 -10 5-6-5 2-7-8 34
 Mallorca 33 8 5 20 35 56 -21 7-3-7 1-2-13 29
 Leganés 33 5 10 18 24 49 -25 4-4-9 1-6-9 25
 Espanyol 33 5 9 19 27 53 -26 2-5-9 3-4-10 24

 

Six FC Dallas players test positive for COVID-19 in Florida

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Six players with FC Dallas have tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire team has been quarantined ahead of the MLS Is Back tournament.

The club confirmed in a statement Wednesday that the players tested positive upon arrival in Florida for the month-long tournament starting next week.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

The team said all players and staff tested negative for coronavirus before leaving for the tournament on Saturday. Upon arrival, two players tested positive. Four more positive tests were uncovered in subsequent testing.

“In consultation with MLS medical officials, FC Dallas took proactive steps to isolate the newly affected players as well as all FC Dallas players and staff in Orlando out of an abundance of caution. All members of the club delegation are following MLS health and safety protocols and will remain quarantined in their hotel rooms pending the results of further COVID-19 testing,” the team said in a statement.

The names of the players were not released.

The league said that no other team has been in contact with the FC Dallas delegation since its arrival.

All of the league’s 26 teams are sequestered in hotels in advance of the tournament played without fans at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. The tournament opens Wednesday.

MLS shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, after the league’s teams had played two games.

The league said on Sunday that 18 players and six staff members had tested positive for the virus before teams departed for Orlando.

League protocol requires players and staff to be tested every two days upon arrival in Florida. Teams began traveling last week in advance of the tournament.

FC Dallas is scheduled to open the tournament with a group stage match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 9.

Ronaldo powers Juventus to win; Lazio fight back to stay in title race

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ROME — Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a long-range rocket on a night when each Juventus goal was more spectacular than the other in a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Genoa.

Chasing a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title, the victory restored Juventus’ four-point lead over Lazio, which won 2-1 at Torino earlier Tuesday.

Since losing the Italian Cup final to Napoli in a penalty shootout, Juventus has won all three of its league matches in the restart.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

Paulo Dybala opened the scoring shortly after the break by evading three defenders before firing in a low shot that Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who is on loan from Juventus, could only get a weak hand on.

Seven minutes later it was time for Ronaldo to score a stunner for Juventus. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner gathered a pass near midfield, charged toward the goal and unleashed a blistering effort from 22 yards (meters) into the top corner past the outstretched Perin.

It was Ronaldo’s first goal in open play of the restart after converting penalties in his previous two matches, and it raised his total to 24 in 25 Serie A matches this season.

Not to be outdone, substitute Douglas Costa made it 3-0 by curling in a shot from beyond the area inside the far post as Genoa’s defense looked on helplessly.

Andrea Pinamonti then pulled one back for Genoa from a tight angle.

LAZIO COMEBACK

Three days after coming back to beat Fiorentina 2-1, Lazio did it again to beat Torino by the same score.

Ciro Immobile and Marco Parolo scored second-half goals to cancel out an early penalty from Andrea Bellotti.

A handball from Immobile led to Bellotti’s penalty and means the striker will miss Saturday’s game against AC Milan with a suspension.

But Immobile made up for his error with an expert finish shortly after the break to raise his total to 29 goals in 29 games — on pace to break Gonzalo Higuain’s Serie A record of 36 goals in 2015-16.

Immobile also matched his personal best for a Serie A season set two years ago.

Parolo scored the winner with a deflected shot from just beyond the area.

Torino is 14th, six points above the drop zone.

Barcelona concedes late to draw at Celta Vigo

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MADRID — Barcelona’s hopes of staying in front of Real Madrid took a hit after another stumble in the Spanish league, after a tight Barcelona – Celta Vigo clash.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

Barcelona was held by Celta Vigo to 2-2 after conceding in the 88th minute on Saturday, opening the way for Madrid to take sole possession of the lead.

Iago Aspas scored from a clever low free kick that went outside the wall to steal the win from Barcelona, which moved only one point in front of Madrid ahead of the rival’s visit to last-placed Espanyol on Sunday.

“It’s a disappointing feeling, we lost two very important points in the fight for the title,” Barcelona striker Luis Suarez said. “Now we have to wait for Real Madrid to lose some points.”

Barcelona lost the league lead after drawing at Sevilla two rounds ago. Madrid has yet to lose points after the pandemic break.

“Our margin for error is getting smaller,” Barcelona coach Quique Setien said. “We have to win everything and hope that our rival makes mistakes.”

Celta moved further away from demotion with the draw, opening an eight-point gap to the relegation zone. It was coming off two victories, including a 6-0 rout of Alaves.

“We’ve won eight of the last 12 points, we have to be very happy with the team,” Aspas said.

Both Barcelona goals came from Suarez, who hadn’t scored since recovering from surgery on his right knee in January.

He got on the board first with a 20th-minute header after a set-piece taken by Lionel Messi, who again fell short of his 700th career goal for club and country. It was the third straight game in which Messi had a chance to reach the milestone goal.

Aspas, who hit the post in the first half, started the breakaway that led to the close-range equalizer by Russian striker Fiodor Smolov in the 50th.

Suarez put Barcelona ahead again with a shot from near the center of the area after another assist by Messi in the 67th, but Aspas pulled off the late equalizer with his free kick that left Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen flat-footed.

“I knew what I was going to do,” Aspas said. “We had watched videos and knew that the players in the wall were going to jump.”

Stegen later saved Barcelona from leaving Vigo without any points by making a goal-line save after a close-range shot by Nolito in the final minutes.

Barcelona hadn’t conceded in five straight matches. It hasn’t won at Celta in six consecutive matches, since 2015.

Setien started youngsters Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig, leaving Antoine Griezmann on the bench for most of the match at Balaidos Stadium.

OTHER RESULTS

Athletic Bilbao increased its chances of qualifying for the Europa League by defeating relegation-threatened Mallorca 3-1 at home, moving to ninth place.

The Basque Country club is three points behind sixth-placed Villarreal in the final qualification spot for second-tiered European club competition.

Mallorca, winless since the league resumed, remained in the relegation zone and could drop to last place depending on other results.