HomeSportsFootballRound-up: Chelsea beat Spurs, Madrid rescue draw, Ramos opens his account at...

Round-up: Chelsea beat Spurs, Madrid rescue draw, Ramos opens his account at PSG

Liverpool took advantage of Manchester City’s dropped points with a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace on Sunday, taking a small bite out of City’s commanding lead of the Premier League.

It was far from vintage form for Liverpool, who led 2-0 after a dominant first half but needed a late penalty by Fabinho to quell a stirring Palace fightback at Selhurst Park.

Third-placed Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge with an exquisite strike by Hakim Ziyech setting them on their way to a first victory in five league games.

Manchester City now lead Liverpool by nine points having played a game more. Chelsea are 10 behind City but have played a game more.

Arsenal missed an opportunity to move into the top four as they drew 0-0 at home to bottom club Burnley. Leicester City drew 1-1 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion — Danny Welbeck’s late equaliser earning ninth-placed Brighton a 12th draw of the season. 

Late De Jong goal hands Barcelona victory 

A late strike by Frenkie de Jong earned Barcelona a 1-0 win at Alaves in LaLiga on Sunday and rescued three points for Xavi Hernandez’s men on another day of struggles against lowly sides.

Alaves squandered a number of chances before Barcelona broke the deadlock in the 87th minute when De Jong latched on to a Ferran Torres pass to fire in from close range.

Barcelona, who have already been eliminated from this season’s Champions League and Copa del Rey, climbed to fifth in the standings with 35 points from 21 matches. They trail leaders Real Madrid by 15 points, with a game in hand, and are only a point adrift of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid. 

Real Madrid rescue draw 

LaLiga leaders Real Madrid fought back from two goals down at home to rescue a 2-2 draw against lowly Elche on Sunday thanks to a last-gasp Eder Militao goal in stoppage time.

Real Madrid, who missed a first-half penalty, wasted a golden opportunity to widen the gap at the top of the table after second-placed Sevilla stumbled at home with a draw against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Real have 50 points from 22 games, four ahead of Sevilla.

Elche opened a two-goal lead with their only two shots on target as Lucas Boye netted in the first half and Pere Milla scored after the break.

Luka Modric reduced the deficit with a penalty after 82 minutes and Vinicius Junior found Militao inside the six-yard box in the 92nd minute and he headed the equaliser.

The goal denied Elche a first-ever win at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium after 25 visits.

Real dominated from the beginning and were denied on three occasions by Elche keeper Edgar Badia, who made fine saves to keep out shots from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Vinicius Jr in the first half.

Benzema missed a penalty with his effort going a few inches over the crossbar after Vinicius was fouled inside the area. It was Benzema’s first penalty miss in almost 13 years as a Real player, after converting all 16 of his previous efforts for the club.

Elche stunned Real with Boye heading home a cross from Fidel Chaves after a lightning-quick counter-attack from the left touchline right before the break.

Milla doubled their lead in the 76th minute after Boye fed a perfect pass to the Spanish forward to score with a curling shot from inside the box.

The visitors kept Real Madrid out for 80 minutes, until the video assistant referee spotted a handball from Milla inside the area and Modric stroked the ball home from the spot.

After Benzema went off injured in the second half, Real looked to Vinicius to provide them with their creative spark and he set up the leveller for Miltao to rescue a point for the hosts. 

Bayern crush Hertha 4-1 

Bayern Munich cruised to 4-1 victory at Hertha Berlin on Sunday, scoring twice in each half, to stay firmly in control of the title race and restore their six point lead at the top.

Corentin Tolisso, who had seen a superb volley ruled as off side in the second minute, did everything right in the 25th, connecting with a Kingsley Coman cross to head the champions into the lead.

Thomas Mueller doubled it on the stroke of halftime, stretching to flick in a Joshua Kimmich free kick as Bayern cruised towards their seventh league win from their last eight matches.

AC Milan drop to third after goalless draw with Juventus

AC Milan were held to a 0-0 draw by Juventus at the San Siro on Sunday, as they dropped to third in Serie A, four points behind leaders Inter Milan.

In a first half of few chances, Milan were dealt a blow after veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up an injury and had to be taken off.

While Juve were content to sit back, Milan looked the more likely to snatch victory, with Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud forcing visiting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into several saves.

The hosts could not find a way through and had to settle for the draw that moved them onto 49 points from 23 games as Napoli, following their win over Salernitana earlier on Sunday, climbed above Milan into second on goal difference.

Juventus never looked like finding the net all match, but the hard-earned point stretched their unbeaten run to nine league games. They stay fifth on 42 points after 23 matches.

Victory would have moved Massimiliano Allegri’s side into the top four as they look to salvage their season after their disappointing first half of the campaign, but Juve remain one point behind Atalanta in fourth.

“Tonight was a good match,” Allegri told DAZN. “It was important to end January in the best possible way. We faced a good Milan and staying at this distance from them is important.”

“I’m happy because the boys are playing more as a team. We must not lose team spirit. In this moment we have recovered many points, but it is one step at a time.”

Inter’s last-gasp victory over Venezia on Saturday put the pressure on their city rivals to keep pace, but Stefano Pioli’s side, chasing a first Scudetto since 2010-11, fell further behind in the title race.

“We missed something in the penalty area,” Pioli said. “We were just not very precise and decisive in the final phase.

“We have to be focused and continue like we have been doing, knowing that if we want to achieve something extraordinary we have to produce something excellent.”

Verratti inspires PSG to 4-0 win against Reims

Paris St Germain continued their march towards the Ligue 1 title as Marco Verratti inspired them to a 4-0 home victory against Stade de Reims on Sunday and Lionel Messi made his first appearance of the year.

Italy midfielder Verratti found the back of the net for PSG for the first time since 2019, while Sergio Ramos scored his first goal for the capital side. Wout Faes scored an own goal, and Danilo Pereira added another to put PSG on 53 points from 22 matches.

They lead Nice, who beat Metz 2-0 away earlier on Sunday, by 11 points with Olympique de Marseille in third place two points further adrift but with a game in hand.

The defeat left Reims, who got off to a promising start at the Parc des Princes but faded after the opener, in 14th place on 24 points.

With Messi on the bench and back in the squad for the first time this year, having contracted Covid-19 during the break, PSG started with Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria up front.

Mbappe had two clear chances after half an hour but it was Verratti who broke the deadlock just before halftime when he whipped a low shot past Predrag Rajkovic.

It then became easier for the hosts and Ramos doubled the advantage on 63 minutes from close range after Pereira’s header had been deflected into the Spaniard’s path by Andreaw Gravillon.

Verratti’s shot from Messi’s pass was then deflected by Faes into his own goal shortly after the Argentine came on to replace Di Maria in the 64th minute.

Pereira wrapped it up in the 76th when his powerful shot took a deflection before sailing past Rajkovic.

Elsewhere, Racing Strasbourg lost ground in the race for a top-three spot when they lost 4-3 at Girondins de Bordeaux who prevailed thanks to a hat-trick by Hwang Ui-Jo.

Strasbourg are fourth on 35 points, five behind Marseille.

Stade Rennais are fifth on 34 points after losing 2-1 at Clermont.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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