Eletiofe Barcelona and Vidal keep pressure on as Ronaldo rescues...

Barcelona and Vidal keep pressure on as Ronaldo rescues Juventus


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  • Lacklustre Barça win 1-0 at Real Valladolid
  • Cristiano Ronaldo scores penalties after two handballs

Arturo Vidal scores for Barcelona v Real Valladolid

Arturo Vidal scores the only goal of the game for Barcelona against Real Valladolid after he was set up by Lionel Messi.
Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Lionel Messi notched a 20th assist of the season to help a lacklustre Barcelona secure a 1-0 win away to Real Valladolid on Saturday, maintaining the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal struck the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, firing into the net off the post after being played in by Messi, who now has almost as many assists in the league as his 22 goals. Yet Barça failed to build on their early advantage and were forced to grind out the victory. Valladolid were twice foiled by Marc-André ter Stegen.

The win takes second-placed Barcelona on to 79 points after 36 games, one behind Real Madrid who can restore their four-point advantage when they visit Granada on Monday.

A late goal by Diego Costa ensured 10-man Atlético Madrid clinched a Champions League berth after edging Real Betis 1-0. Costa used his chest to knock in a free-kick in the 74th minute after his team lost Mario Hermoso to ared card for a hard tackle from behind.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties, both awarded for handball and the second in the last minute, as Serie A leaders Juventus twice hit back to draw 2-2 with Atalanta to move closer to a ninth successive Serie A title. The win takes Juventus eight points clear of second-placed Lazio with six matches to play, with Atalanta a further point behind in third.

Duván Zapata gave Atalanta the lead in the 16th minute and Ronaldo equalised 10 minutes after the break after the ball struck Marten De Roon’s elbow. Ruslan Malinovskyi then fired Atalanta back in front in the 81st minute before Ronaldo struck again, this time after Luis Muriel handled, to deny Atalanta a 10th successive league win.

Lazio slumped to a third successive defeat when they were beaten 2-1 at home by mid-table Sassuolo in stifling heat at the Stadio Olimpico. Half-time substitute Francesco Caputo headed in from point-blank range in stoppage time as the visitors hit back after trailing at half-time.

Lazio remained stuck on 68 points. Sassuolo are eighth with 46 after their fourth successive win.

It was another subdued performance by Lazio who were on a 21-match unbeaten league run and one point behind Juve when Serie A was suspended in March. Their injury-plagued squad has lacked the strength-in-depth to contend with a hectic fixture list and they have lost four out of six games since the restart.

“We need to get some more points and claim our title, which is a place in the Champions League,” said Lazio’s coach, Simone Inzaghi. “It’s rash to talk about the [Serie A] title now, whereas before the stoppage we said we would believe in it until the end.”

Giacomo Raspadori, making his first Serie A start, had the ball in the net for Sassuolo after nine minutes but the goal was ruled out after a long VAR review.

Lazio had another let-off two minutes later when Filip Djuricic hit the bar.

But they took the lead in the 33rd minute when Manuel Lazzari ran half the length of the pitch and crossed to Luis Alberto who, after a heavy first touch, scored despite Manuel Locatelli’s challenge.

Sassuolo replied seven minutes after the restart when Caputo got free on the right, rolled the ball to Raspadori and the 20-year-old was this time able to celebrate his first Serie A goal.

Lazio rallied, only to suffer a knockout blow. The ball was swung in from the left, Gian Marco Ferrari got up at the far post and headed the ball across goal for Caputo to nod into the net.

The Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolò scored his first goal since returning from injury to complete a 3-0 win at Brescia which pushed the hosts closer to relegation. Federico Fazio scrambled the ball home after indecision by the Brescia defence to put Roma ahead three minutes after half-time. Just after the hour, Carlos Pérez released Nikola Kalinic to add the second. Zaniolò, sidelined for five months after suffering a knee injury in January, came on as a substitute in the 66th minute and needed only eight minutes to add the third from Diego Perotti’s pass.

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