Valencia bring Real Madrid back to earth, Juve close on title as Napoli lose

Zinedine Zidane suffered his first defeat since retaking the reins at Real Madrid as Gonçalo Guedes and Ezequiel Garay earned Valencia a 2-1 victory at the Mestalla.

Zidane had overseen two wins since stepping back into the Real hot seat following the sacking of Santiago Solari last month, but his 100% record and any momentum gained from his arrival vanished in Real’s ninth league loss of the season.

Guedes gave Valencia, who are unbeaten in the league since 5 January, the lead 10 minutes before the interval with a fine strike, collecting Carlos Soler’s pass before firing inside Keylor Navas’s near post.

Gareth Bale and Isco were brought off the bench after an hour in an attempt to stem the tide, but Valencia continued to look the more dangerous, and doubled their lead seven minutes from tim, former Real defender Garay heading home from Dani Parejo’s cross.

Karim Benzema pulled one back in the third minute of added time, but there was no time left for Real to avoid defeat as they slipped five points behind Atlético Madrid and 13 points behind leaders Barcelona.

Elsewhere in La Liga, struggling Huesca and Celta Vigo played out a thrilling 3-3 draw, with Ryad Boudebouz grabbing a point for Celta after they had thrown away a 2-0 lead. Iker Muniain denied Levante a draw with a late penalty as Athletic Bilbao, who had led 2-0 at half-time, won 3-2 at San Mames. Eibar kept their hopes of Europa League football alive with a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano.

Juventus close in on title as Napoli falter

Juventus look certain to win Serie A for the eighth season in a row after Napoli lost 2-1 at Empoli to stay 18 points behind them with eight games to go.

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Giovanni di Lorenzo’s second-half winner lifted Empoli out of the relegation zone at Bologna’s expense, after first-half goals from Diego Farias and Piotr Zielinski, who equalised for Napoli a minute before half-time.

Empoli players celebrate their winner, scored by Giovanni di Lorenzo (No 2).

Empoli players celebrate their winner, scored by Giovanni di Lorenzo (No 2). Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Internazionale tightened their grip on third place with a 4-0 win at Genoa, with Roberto Gagliardini scoring twice and Mauro Icardi scoring in his first Inter appearance in two months. Lazio’s Champions League hopes suffered a blow as they lost 1-0 at Spal, who boosted their survival hopes through Andrea Petagna’s late winner.

Frosinone gave themselves hope of beating the drop in a dramatic win over Parma, with Daniel Ciofani scoring from the penalty spot 13 minutes into injury time. Roma’s struggles under Claudio Ranieri continued as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Fiorentina. The giallorossi were overtaken by Torino, who beat Sampdoria 2-1.

Bayern survive Cup scare in nine-goal thriller

Bayern Munich scraped through to the German Cup semi-finals but were given a huge scare by second-tier Heidenheim before winning 5-4 despite Niklas Süle’s early red card.

Leon Goretzka opened the scoring in the 12th minute – only for Süle to bring down Robert Andrich three minutes later. The centre-back was dismissed after a VAR review, and goals from Robert Glatzel and Marc Shnatterer put the visitors 2-1 up at half-time.

Robert Lewandowski came on for the second half as 10-man Bayern turned the tie back in their favour, scoring through Thomas Müller, Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry – but Heidenheim hit back as Glatzel completed his hat-trick to make it 4-4.

With extra time looming, a handball earned Bayern a penalty that Lewandowski coolly converted to spare their blushes and seal a semi-final place alongside Hamburg, RB Leipzig and Werder Bremen, who won 2-0 at Schalke.

PSG will face Rennes in the Coupe de France final after easing past Nantes 3-0. Marco Verratti, Kylian Mbappé and Dani Alves got the goals at the Parc des Princes, with Kalifa Coulibaly sent off for Nantes. Rennes booked their place on Tuesday with a surprise 3-2 victory away at Lyon.



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