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Inter v. Getafe, Sevilla v. Roma postponed

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Two Europa League games on Thursday have been postponed due to concerns over coronavirus as Inter Milan v. Getafe and Sevilla v. Roma will not go ahead.

UEFA released a statement on Wednesday confirming the news as Getafe’s president had previously said they would not travel to Milan to play the Round of 16 first leg game, while Roma issued a statement saying the Spanish authorities would not allow their plane to land in Seville.

Here is the statement in full from UEFA on the postponements:

“The UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches between Sevilla FC (Spain) – AS Roma (Italy) and FC Internazionale (Italy) – Getafe CF (Spain) will not take place as scheduled. As a result of the travelling restrictions between Spain and Italy imposed yesterday by the Spanish authorities, the following UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches will not take place as scheduled tomorrow, 12 March 2020. Further decisions on the two matches will be communicated in due course.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers have also issued a statement criticizing UEFA after they wanted their game at Olympiacos to be postponed due to Olympiacos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Olympiacos have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative and the game will be played in an empty stadium in Greece.

Coronavirus fears have also caused the postponement of Man City v. Arsenal, and the sequestering of several Arsenal players due to coming in close contact with Marinakis 13 days ago after a Europe League game against Olympiacos.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Getafe unlikely to travel to Inter Milan over coronavirus fears

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Getafe president Angel Torres is willing to risk his side’s Europa League hopes in the face of coronavirus fears.

Torres says his side is unlikely to head to Italy for Thursday’s Round of 16 first leg with Inter Milan.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc on world football, let alone the public consciousness, and Torres is pleading with UEFA for an alternative.

“Unless this situation change a lot, Getafe will not travel to Italy tomorrow,” Torres said, via Football.Espana. “We have asked UEFA to consider an alternative to playing in Milan. We have asked for help from the Spanish FA too. If we have to lose the tie, we’ll lose it. I’m not going to take any kind of risk.”

Italian side Atalanta traveled in the other direction for a behind-closed-doors win over Valencia in Champions League action on Tuesday.

Serie A is considering alternative ways to conclude its scudetto and relegation races, including playoffs or the non-awarding of a champion.

Games in Serie A are currently postponed. Juventus and Atalanta remain alive in the Champions League, while Inter Milan and Roma begin Europa League ties on Thursday.

Chelsea will visit Bayern Munich at an empty Allianz Arena for a Champions League second leg next week. Manchester United’s Europa League game at LASK in Austria will be played behind-closed-doors, and matches in Spain’s La Liga will be played in empty stadiums until early April.

The San Jose Earthquakes’ next home match, March 21, is 11 days away and the Santa Clara Public Health Department has banned all gatherings over 1000 people.

La Liga: VAR saves Barcelona, Atletico defense breached again

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Lionel Messi has saved Barcelona’s bacon on plenty of occasions throughout his illustrious career, and while officially today he’s once again led the club to three points with his 81st minute penalty to earn a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad, VAR was the true hidden hero.

Replay caught Robin Le Normand miss with a headed clearance in the box, instead the ball just catching him in the shoulder, and the referee in the booth called for a penalty. Messi dispatched the spot-kick to earn the win and doom La Real to a harsh result. Still, Barcelona completely dominated the match ripping of 13 shots with six on target to Real Sociedad’s just one shot on frame.

Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard was kept relatively in check by Barcelona’s midfield while Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong were calming forces throughout for the home side. The three points sends Barcelona top of the La Liga table, with Real Madrid a chance to reclaim the lead tomorrow at Real Betis.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid was held to a third draw in its last four league games with a 2-2 home result against Sevilla, with the defense breached for the fourth straight match. Luuk De Jong put Sevilla up at the Wanda Metripolitano 19 minutes in after a miserable challenge from Stefan Savic saw the Dutchman’s first touch put him through. A penalty from Alvaro Morata brought Atletico back level past the half-hour mark, and they went in front just four minutes later through Joao Felix after Koke stole the ball in midfield and did all the hard work on the break.

Still, it wasn’t enough as Lucas Ocampos struck from the penalty spot just before halftime and the second half was goalless to see Atletico fall a full 13 points back of the La Liga leaders, potentially 14 back if Real Madrid wins tomorrow. Currently, that’s just good enough for fifth as Atletico Madrid sits outside the Champions League places. Sevilla, meanwhile, sits in third on 47 points, 11 back of the leader.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid youngster Takefusa Kubo gave Mallorca a 2-1 win over Eibar. The 18-year-old’s 78th minute goal proved the winner as he beat two defenders at the top of the box and delivered a low effort off the inside of the left post. The win was enormous for Mallorca who rose to 18th, still in a relegation position but only based on goal differential. Eibar sits in 16th just two points ahead of the drop.

Getafe and Celta Vigo played to a scoreless draw at Coliseum Alfonso Perez as the hosts ripped off 16 shots to Celta Vigo’s three but could not find the back of the net. Jamie Mata missed the biggest chance for Getafe just past the half-hour mark as he fired over from a central spot just outside the six-yard box. Getafe midfielder Mauro Arambarri was sent off for a second yellow card with eight minutes to go as the hosts looked for a winner, making the late push even more difficult. The draw is a disappointing result for fourth-placed Getafe who could have used the opportunity to pull away from Atletico Madrid after their draw against Sevilla. For Celta Vigo, the point is enormous amidst a relegation battle, sitting in 17th now two points above the drop.

La Liga: Sevilla leapfrogs Getafe into 3rd place

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BARCELONA, Spain — Sevilla leapfrogged Getafe to take third place in the Spanish league after routing the season’s surprise team 3-0 in Madrid on Sunday.

Sevilla beat Getafe at its own game, out-muscling the hosts with a suffocating defense and demonstrating clinical finishing to convert its scant scoring chances.

The Andalusian side got an opener from Lucas Ocampos in the 43rd minute. Midfielder Fernando doubled the lead in the 67th before he set up Jules Kounde to seal the victory in the 75th.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule ]

Sevilla lost goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik to an apparent leg injury before the second half started. He was replaced by Yassine Bounou, who was never tested.

The victory ended Sevilla’s five-game winless streak across all competitions that put coach Julen Lopetegui under growing pressure to restore the team’s good form from the first half of the season.

Getafe has had an outstanding campaign, fighting for a Champions League spot for next season despite its modest budget.

Getafe’s loss was just its fourth at home in any competition this season. It lost last round away at Barcelona, but had bounced back with a 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League on Thursday.

Sevilla moved one point ahead of Getafe, which dropped into fourth place. Leader Barcelona is 12 points ahead of Sevilla.

Real Madrid trails Barcelona by two points before the two teams meet next weekend.

Elsewhere in La Liga action, Atletico Madrid took home a 3-1 result over Villarreal, adding to the club’s already great week. Villarreal went up first through Paco Alcacer, but Atleti hit back with goals from Angel Correa, Koke, and Joao Felix. It was Felix’s first game back after a hamstring strain, and England National Team right back Kieran Trippier made his return to the field for the first time since early January.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Here are other scores from Sunday’s La Liga action:

Osasuna 0-3 Granada

Alaves 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

Real Valladolid 2-1 Espanyol

La Liga roundup: Greizmann snaps scoreless streak as Barcelona hold off Getafe

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Barcelona’s close win against third-place Getafe highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Barcelona 2-1 Getafe

Barcelona are level at 52 points with league leaders and rivals Real Madrid, as Antoine Griezmann, who ended a five-match scoreless run in La Liga, and Sergio Roberto added a goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win.

Lionel Messi – on his official 350th Camp Nou appearance – assisted Griezmann for the first the first goal at the 33rd minute, extending his season total count to 12.

“I’ve been here six months, we still have to learn,” the Frenchman said following the victory. “I have to learn [Messi’s] movements and he has to learn mine. We’re enjoying the work we put in together and it’s getting better and better all the time. I’m very happy and really enjoying myself here.”

Quique Setien’s side got off to a lethargic start, and were in trouble in several occasions, but managed to conserve their two, first-half goals against an inspired Getafe, who went into Camp Nou on the back of a four-match La Liga winning streak.

Jordi Alba left the field at 22nd minute mark after suffering a right abductor injury. Junior Firpo, who has yet to find his footing in Barcelona, replaced the veteran fullback.

Barca-linked Angel Rodriguez was the only Getafe representative to put the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who along with VAR, saved the home side from conceding a pair of goals throughout the night.

Barca, who await for Real Madrid’s outcome on Sunday, set sights on Saturday’s bout against Eibar, while Getafe feature Thursday in the Round of 32 of the Europa League against Ajax.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Mallorca 1-0 Alaves

Villarreal 2-1 Levante 

Granada 2-1 Real Valladolid