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La Liga Roundup: Real Madrid secure huge road victory

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For all the talk of a crisis at Real Madrid through the summer and early portion of the season, Los Blancos sit in second place in the La Liga table after a huge road win at Sevilla. That match highlights Sunday’s La Liga action from Spain.

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Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid

Karim Benzema has been overlooked at times, partially because he always played in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow and because Didier Deschamps refuses to select him for the France National Team. But on Sunday, he came through big, as he often does, for his club side Real Madrid.

Los Blancos secured a big 1-0 victory at Sevilla, with the hosts – Sergio Ramos’ former club – failing to register a shot on target. Early on Sevilla floated balls into the box and had a shout for a penalty kick when a header clanged off Raphael Varane before going out of play. However, it wasn’t ruled a handball.

In the 65th minute, Benzema found himself in space in the box and off a great feed from right back Dani Carvajal, the Frenchman headed back across goal to put Real Madrid up 1-0.

The partnership of Ramos and Varane kept Mexican international Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez quiet after entering in the 69th minute. The match was also the first for Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui against his former employers since they sacked him just a few months into the season.

With the win, Real Madrid moves into a tie for first in the table, though they sit in second place behind Athletic Bilbao on goal differential.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-1 Valencia

Getafe 4-2 Mallorca

Espanyol 1-3 Real Sociedad

Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Alaves

Manchester United’s Solskjaer: Pogba not heading to Real Madrid

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Before Manchester United fires off a shot against West Ham on Sunday, its manager has taken aim at Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants are again said to be aiming to bring Paul Pogba to La Liga this winter as the race to win Spain’s top flight appears to be wide open as Lionel Messi battles fitness and newly-promoted Granada is the surprise table topper.

[ MORE: Man City hammers Watford ]

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer issued a firm hands-off to Perez.

“I am not worried now and I will never be worried in the future about Paul Pogba staying here,” Solskjaer said. “If it all kicks off against with Madrid in January then there will be no worries then either. If we have to live with the speculation again then we will handle it like we did in the summer. Paul is going nowhere. He is happy here when he’s playing.”

So far, Pogba has been a decent soldier despite his mentions of interest in a change of scenery. The 26-year-old’s contract runs through 2020-21, so if a move happens it may well come in January.

That said, United hasn’t played exceptionally bad this season and is a converted penalty or two away from being the closest club to Liverpool on the table (though surely a few teams would make similar claims). Pogba has a pair of an assists in four matches and his absence was notable in the 1-0 win over Leicester City last weekend.

If the Red Devils can manage a good place in the table and run of form against the top teams, perhaps Pogba will ink a longer term deal with United. He’s obviously valued by Ed Woodward. And United fans who hope to keep him in town will also monitor the down times at Real Madrid under Pogba’s seemingly preferred manager Zinedine Zidane. Because Pogba moving to a club where Jose Mourinho is just a few bad matches away doesn’t seem ideal.

On the other hand, few teams can offer the combination of money and assets of Real should United decide to load up for an extended run in Europa League and the top four, and Real’s players will not be Cup-tied due to their status in the Champions League.

UCL wrap: PSG runs over Real; Atalanta clobbered on debut

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Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League goals, and Angel Di Maria go together pretty well.

[ MORE: Man Utd extends Lindelof ]

The man who scored a decisive goal for Real in a UCL Final scored two as Paris Saint-Germain throttled the 10-time champions in France without Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, and Neymar.

PSG 3-0 Real Madrid

If it’s possible for Zinedine Zidane to feel heat under his seat, it’s probably happening right about now.

Real Madrid was absolutely cooked by a clinical PSG missing its trident, with Di Maria scoring two goals in the win.

Juan Bernat was exceptional in the win, and set up two goals including Thomas Meunier’s late insurance tally.

Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 Atalanta

The Serie A visitors made their UEFA Champions League debut, and boy did it fall flat.

Down 1-0 early on a Marin Leovac opener, Atalanta surrendered a hat trick to Mislav Orsic in the loss. The 26-year-old midfielder is fresh off his first cap for Croatia. More seem on the horizon, yeah?

Considering their group includes Man City and Shakhtar Donetsk, La Dea won’t appreciate losing four goals in the differential column against a perceived bottom dweller for the group.

Elsewhere

Olympiacos 2-2 Tottenham — RECAP, Pochettino reaction
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Man City — RECAP
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus — RECAP
Club Brugge 0-0 Galatasaray
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade

Marcelo added to growing Real Madrid injury list

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Real Madrid faces Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday to kick off their Champions League campaign, but Zinedine Zidane will have his work cut out for him to piece together the best squad he can muster.

Veteran full-back Marcelo is the most recent to hit the absentee list, joining six other first-team members on the sidelines for the important upcoming match. The 31-year-old suffered a neck injury in the weekend La Liga match against Levante. Marcelo completed the 90 minutes, but appeared to pick up the injury when falling onto his back after taking a shot in the first half. The club confirmed he will not take part against PSG.

Alongside Marcelo, Luka Modric is on the sidelines with a groin injury picked up on international duty, and his stand-in Federico Valverde is also a miss with a quad problem. Isco is also out with a hamstring injury and Marco Asensio is sidelined long-term with a torn ACL, leaving James Rodriguez as an option in midfield. Meanwhile, Sergio Ramos is suspended for his intentional yellow card in last season’s Champions League match against Ajax, and reserve defender Nacho is also suspended thanks to a sending-off late in the second-leg loss to Ajax.

The good news for Real Madrid is Eden Hazard made his debut over the weekend with 30 minutes against Levante and will likely be called upon against PSG to pick up the slack. 21-year-old center-back Eder Militao could also be an option as Zidane hopes to replace Ramos in defense, having made his debut this weekend alongside Hazard. Gareth Bale was suspended for the Levante match but is likely to be back in the starting lineup against PSG.

Madrid has been somewhat poor to start the season, with two draws and a near collapse against Levante this past weekend, but they still sit third in the league with eight points through four matches.

PSG has its own issues as well, with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani both injured, while Neymar is suspended for the first half of group stage play.

La Liga roundup: Real Sociedad spoil Atletico Madrid’s perfect start

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Atletico Madrid’s first hiccup of the season headlines Saturday’s La Liga action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Sociedad 2-0 Atletico Madrid

La Liga had an upset of their own.

Atletico Madrid remain league leaders, but their undefeated record is no more after a 2-0 loss to Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.

Both sides played to a quiet first half, but in the 58th minute Martin Odegaard opened the score in front of a packed Anoeta, as his left-footed shot was deflected by Stefan Savic.

Just two minutes later, in his Real Sociedad debut, longtime Arsenal fullback Nacho Monreal tapped in a second chance inside the box, following an initial stretching save from Jan Oblak.

Diego Simeone’s side pushed desperately in the latter stages of the game; not enough to get passed Miguel Moya, though.

La Reala sets their sights on Espanyol, while Los Colchoneros, with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid at their heels, look to bounce back against Celta Vigo.

Real Madrid 3-2 Levante

Real Madrid conceded two goals in the second half in Saturday’s game, but their formidable first 45 minutes was enough to help them walk away a wet Santiago Bernabeu with three, precious points.

Coming on in the 60th minutes, Eden Hazard and Militao made their La Liga debuts with Zinedine Zidane’s side.

With two goals in six minutes, Karim Benzema gave the home side an early comfortable lead. Shortly before the halftime whistle, Casameiro added his own, following an assist from Vinicius Junior.

Despite falling short, Levante quickly got after evaporating Real Madrid’s first-half dominance. In the 49th minute, Borja Mayoral, cutting through Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, put one past Thibaut Courtois.

Following Benzema’s post-rattling shot and disallowed Real Madrid goal by VAR, Gonzalo Melero’s header gave the visiting side their final goal of the bout.

One point behind rivals Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid look for another victory against Sevilla. Elsewhere, Levante, who are in decent shape, host Eibar next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Barcelona 5-2 Valencia

RCD Mallorca 0-0 Athletic Bilbao

Leganes 0-3 Villareal