The German league leaders slip again, blowing the Bundesliga title race open. Meanwhile a former Italian giant are beginning to show signs of their capabilities thanks to two young guns.
Real Madrid were hoping to continue their red-hot form in 2019, however astonishingly fell 2-1 to 17th placed Girona. Casemiro put Los Blancos ahead in the first half, but a resilient Girona side came knocking in the second. Cristhian Stuani scored from the spot – his first goal in four matches – to level the scores at 1-1, before Pere Pons headed from close range to put his side in the lead. To make matters worse for Real, Sergio Ramos was sent off for the 19th time in his La Liga career.
Barcelona took full advantage of their rivals’ stumble, as they defeated Real Valladolid 1-0 at the Camp Nou. A Lionel Messi penalty was enough to separate the two sides – the Argentine firing from the spot in the 43rd minute. Messi had the chance to score his second penalty late in the match, however had his shot saved by Jordi Masip. Nonetheless, Barça extend their lead at the top to seven points.
After a string of disappointing results, Atlético Madrid were able to scrape past a gutsy Rayo Vallecano outfit, winning 1-0 away from home. Antoine Griezmann was the man again, scoring his 12th goal of the season to guide Atléti to the three points and to second place on the table.
Eibar 2-2 Getafe
Celta Vigo 1-4 Levante
Real Sociedad 3-0 Leganés
Valencia 0-0 Espanyol
Villarreal 3-0 Sevilla
Real Betis 1-1 Alavés
Huesca 0-1 Athletic Bilbao
Borussia Dortmund have failed to win for the fifth game in a row in all competitions, and third in the Bundesliga. A 0-0 draw away to bottom placed Nurnberg means another two points dropped for the yellow and black, and ultimately their lead atop the table cut to two points.
Dortmund will need to turn things around quickly if they are to dethrone an improving Bayern Munich. Bayern did have a scare of their own when they trailed Augsburg 1-0 inside 15 seconds through a Leon Goretzka own goal. Kingsley Coman found the equaliser, before Dong-Won Ji put the home side ahead once more, only for Coman to equalise for the second time just prior to the interval. David Alaba found the winner early in the second half – Bayern winning a goal-fest 3-2.
Frankfurt and Mönchengladbach shared the spoils in a clash of 5th vs 3rd. Mönchengladbach would have been hoping to stay in touch with Bayern and Dortmund, however had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Denis Zakaria equalised late for Mönchengladbach, cancelling out Danny da Costa’s opener for Frankfurt. Frankfurt slip to 7th while Mönchengladbach remain in 3rd.
Schalke 0-0 Freiburg
Hoffenheim 3-0 Hannover
Stuttgart 1-3 RB Leipzig
Wolfsburg 3-0 Mainz
Hertha 1-1 Werder Bremen
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Are Milan back? The Rossoneri faced a stern test, travelling to Bergamo to face Atalanta, and put in a performance worthy of UEFA Champions League qualification. The home side opened the scoring through Remo Freuler, before arguably the most in-form striker in Europe right now, Krzysztof Piątek, scored a remarkable goal to level it up at 1-1. A long-range goal from Hakan Çalhanoğlu and a second from Piątek wrapped up the points for Milan in the second half and look set for a return to Europe’s premier competition.
Juventus faced Frosinone in what was essentially a warm-up for the Bianconeri’s upcoming clash with Atlético Madrid. Paulo Dybala broke the deadlock inside six minutes with an incredible strike from distance – his first Serie A goal since November. Leonardo Bonucci doubled the lead for Juve shortly after, before a clinical finish from Cristiano Ronaldo made sure the points were safe. The Old Lady’s lead has extended to 13 points atop the standings.
Pressure has been taken off a shaky Inter Milan outfit, as they defeated an out-of-form Sampdoria side 2-1. All three goals came in a five-minute span, with Inter taking the lead twice either side of a Manolo Gabbiadini equaliser. The controversial Radja Nainggolan was the hero for Inter, as his strike from outside the box found the bottom corner, creating a deafening noise at the San Siro. Inter’s position in the top four is safe for now, still holding a four-point lead over rivals Milan.
Napoli played out their third 0-0 draw in the space of four Serie A games, as the Neapolitans could not find the net against a stubborn Torino. Failure to win means Carlo Ancelotti’s men fall 13 points behind Juventus, ruling out any chance they had at winning the Scudetto.
Cagliari 2-1 Parma
SPAL 1-4 Fiorentina
Udinese 1-0 Chievo
Genoa 2-1 Lazio
Empoli 3-0 Sassuolo
Roma 2-1 Bologna
The match of the round saw Paris Saint-Germain score a late winner to overcome St Etienne 1-0. A Kylian Mbappe volley was the difference between the two sides – the Frenchman scoring his 19th goal of the season. St Etienne lose ground on a Champions League place but are still primed for at least a Europa League spot.
Monaco’s resurgence is alive! A 1-0 win over Nantes sees the principality club outside the relegation zone for the first time in 19 matchdays. Gelson Martins scored the only goal of the match, taking his tally to two goals and three assists in his first four Monaco games.
After a mid-season form slump, Marseille have begun to get things back on track. A 2-0 win over Amiens has them up to fourth on the table, six points from a Champions League place. Mario Balotelli scored his third goal in four matches for this new club, adding to Florian Thauvin’s opener.
Nîmes 2-0 Dijon
Lyon 2-1 Guingamp
Angers 3-0 Nice
Bordeaux 2-1 Toulouse
Caen 0-0 Strasbourg
Lille 0-0 Montpellier
Reims 2-0 Rennes
The Premier League returns on Saturday the 23rd of February AEDT.
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How could you forget Roy O’Donovan?
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