European roundup: Atlético slip again as Inter close in on Serie A title

Atlético Madrid returned to the top of La Liga with a 1-1 draw away to Real Betis but did so at the expense of losing yet more players to injury, leaving their title hopes hanging by a thread.

Diego Simeone’s side got off to an ideal start when Yannick Carrasco dribbled into an empty net in the fifth minute thanks to a lucky bounce but Betis levelled with a thumping volley from Cristian Tello in the 20th.

Atlético then lost record signing João Felix plus right back Kieran Trippier to injury in the second half, adding to an absentee list also containing Luis Suárez, Thomas Lemar and latest signing Moussa Dembélé.

Fifth-placed Villarreal slumped to a 2-1 home loss at the hands of Osasuna. Jon Moncayola and Ante Budimir struck for the visitors, who were able to shake off David García’s own goal.

The Real Madrid winger Lucas Vázquez is set to miss the rest of the season after straining knee ligaments during Saturday’s win over Barcelona.

In Italy, a rare goal from Matteo Darmian earned Inter a 1-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday as Antonio Conte’s side closed on their first Serie A title in 11 years.

Struggling Cagliari were a tough nut to crack in the San Siro, with debutant goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario making several fine saves to keep the league leaders at bay, but the visitors’ resistance was broken by an unlikely source in Darmian, whose second league goal of the season in the 77th minute secured Inter a 11th successive league win. It moved them 11 points clear of second-placed Milan with eight games to play and left Cagliari languishing in 18th, five points from safety.

Conte shuffled his pack, resting Lautaro Martínez and Achraf Hakimi, but Inter’s cohesion did not suffer early on as they created plenty of chances. Christian Eriksen forced the best save from Vicario in the first half – a fine one-handed stop to claw out a goalbound effort.

As the match wore on, Inter started to look more nervous, and Conte brought Martínez and Hakimi on – the latter brilliantly setting up the chance for Darmian, who celebrated with a jubilant bench. Inter’sneed 14 points from their last eight matches to guarantee the title.

Elsewhere in Italy, Dejan Kulusevski set Juventus on the path to victory at home to Genoa when his guided left-foot strike found the net in the second minute. Álvaro Morata soon made it two, tapping into an unguarded net after Cristiano Ronaldo had hit the post. Gianluca Scamacca set the champions’ nerves on edge when he headed home from a corner to halve the deficit, but Weston McKennie made the points safe when he escaped down the right and slotted home with 20 minutes to play.

Dejan Kulusevski (left) is mobbed by his Juventus teammates after opening the scoring.
Dejan Kulusevski (left) is mobbed by his Juventus teammates after opening the scoring. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

Atalanta climbed back into the top four as Josip Ilicic’s second-half penalty earned his side a thrilling 3-2 victory at Fiorentina.

Serie A’s top goalscorers, Atalanta raced into a two-goal lead inside 40 minutes thanks to a double from striker Duván Zapata with Ruslan Malinovskyi providing both assists.

However, another brace in nine second-half minutes from Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic – taking the Serb’s league goal tally to 15 for the season – levelled things up.

The drama was not over as Ilicic came off the bench to drill a 70th-minute spot kick down the middle and move his side on to 61 points, one behind Juventus in third and two clear of Napoli in fifth.

Napoli enjoyed a 2-0 win at Sampdoria. Victor Osimhen laid on the opener for Fabián Ruiz in the 35th minute before finishing off a late counterattack to make the points safe against their 10-placed hosts, who saw Morten Thorsby’s would-be equaliser disallowed.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic left it until the 92nd minute to score the only goal of the game in Lazio’s visit to Verona, rising highest to nod home a lofted free-kick and clinch a win that took his side to within four points of the Champions League spots.

In Germany, Suat Serdar celebrated his 24th birthday by scoring his first Bundesliga goal of the season as Schalke ended a 12-game winless run to beat Augsburg 1-0. Having failed to score in their past five home games, Schalke broke the deadlock inside four minutes when the Germany midfielder slotted home from close range after Rafal Gikiewicz had failed to collect a low cross. Schalke remain rock-bottom of the Bundesliga, 12 points adrift of the relegation playoff spot.

In Ligue 1 Memphis Depay scored twice as Lyon beat mid-table Angers 3-0 to stay fourth, five points behind leaders Lille. Gaël Kakuta and Simon Banza converted penalties as fifth-placed Lens dispatched Lorient 4-1 to move three points ahead of Marseille in sixth. Martin Terrier struck to seal Rennes’ 1-0 win over struggling Nantes, which moved his side up to seventh in the table, and Wahbi Khazri fired a hat-trick as St Étienne thumped Bordeaux 4-1. Brendon Chardonnet’s effort cancelled out Moussa Kone’s opener as Brest salvaged a 1-1 draw with Nimes, with Nice and Reims playing out a goalless draw.


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