Euro round-up: Real Madrid top La Liga table, Schalke beaten again

Real Madrid moved top of La Liga after a 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo with Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio on the scoresheet.

Los Blancos made the most of city rivals Atletico not playing until Sunday as they moved a point clear, albeit having played three matches more.

Vazquez headed Real in front after just five minutes following a cross from Asensio.

Real doubled their lead in the 54th minute through a swift counter-attack as Vazquez’s pass was slotted in by Asensio.

Sevilla had goalkeeper Bono to thank after they earned a 1-1 draw away to local rivals Real Betis on Saturday but the point was not enough to prevent them dropping out of the top four in La Liga.

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Sevilla are now fifth in the standings on 27 points after Villarreal took their place in fourth on 29 following a 2-1 win at home to Levante earlier on, thanks to goals from Fernando Nino and Gerard Moreno. Betis are ninth on 20 points.

Bono saved a penalty from French forward Nabil Fekir in the 75th minute to keep his side level after a penalty from Sergio Canales had cancelled out a strike from Suso in the 48th minute.

The derby was in danger of being postponed after four Betis players, including captain Joaquin, tested positive for Covid-19 but the match went ahead after the rest of the squad returned negative tests.

Betis were also missing key players William Carvalho and Marc Bartra through injury but Manuel Pellegrini’s side dominated the first half.

They could not, however, make their early pressure count and Canales and Fekir both failed to hit the target with clear chances.

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Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui had started without Ivan Rakitic and striker Youssef En-Nesyri and turned to both players at the start of the second half.

The double change had an immediate impact as Moroccan forward En-Nesyri raced towards a loose ball after good pressing from Lucas Ocampos and sent it into the path of Suso, who slotted into the near bottom corner with one touch.

🗣️ @suso30oficial: 'We didn't play well in the first half but we started the second better.'#WeareSevilla #NeverSurrender #ElGranDerbi pic.twitter.com/NzmFOZ1hSm

Betis soon had a chance to respond when Diego Carlos fouled Loren Moron and Canales sent Bono the wrong way to equalise.

Fekir then won a penalty when he was fouled by Marcos Acuna but this time Bono guessed the right way and made the save.

“I feel like we have let two points escape today. We should have taken the lead in the first half after our excellent performance and we feel more pain for missing the penalty,” said Betis’ Loren.

Lopetegui added: “We were too focused on the referee and at times we looked like our heads weren’t in the game but picking up a point at this ground is always positive, even though we came here to win.”

Bundesliga: Frankfurt fight back, Schalke lose again

Bayer Leverkusen missed the chance to go top of the Bundesliga when Eintracht Frankfurt came back from a goal down to win 2-1 with an Amin Younes strike and an Edmond Tapsoba own goal on Saturday as the league returned after a brief Christmas break.

Nadiem Amiri had given visitors Leverkusen the lead with an outrageous piece of individual skill, taking a touch to control the ball before deftly back-heeling it between the legs of ‘keeper Kevin Trapp in the ninth minute.

Younes fired Frankfurt level in the 22nd minute and they took the lead nine minutes into the second half when Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada rifled the ball into the box and Tapsoba turned it into his own net.

The defeat leaves Leverkusen on 28 points after 14 games, two behind leaders Bayern Munich, who have played one game less and take on second-from-bottom Mainz on Sunday. Frankfurt move up to eighth on 20 points.

Bottom side Schalke 04 are one game away from equalling Tasmania Berlin’s long-standing Bundesliga record of 31 matches without a win after falling to a 3-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Christian Gross’ debut as head coach.

Gross was appointed on December 27, to become Schalke’s fourth manager of the season, but he could not make an instant impact as Hertha’s Matteo Guendouzi curled home a finish in the first half before Jhon Cordoba and Krzysztof Piatek struck after the break.

Schalke have now gone 351 days and 30 games without a league victory and, if they fail to beat Hoffenheim next Saturday, they will match the league record set in 1965-66.

Union Berlin kept themselves in the top four when Taiwo Awoniyi scored one goal and made the other in a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen, who had a goal on the stroke of half-time ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside.

Freiburg netted three first-half goals as they climbed into the top half of the table with a convincing 3-1 win over Hoffenheim, and Augsburg edged out FC Cologne with an Iago goal making the difference in a 1-0 away victory.

A goal by Breel Embolo in the 58th minute gave Borussia Monchengladbach a 1-0 win away to Arminia Bielefeld in a game they dominated in terms of goalscoring chances without being able to add to their tally.

VfB Stuttgart were meeting RB Leipzig in Saturday’s late game, while Borussia Dortmund host Wolfsburg on Sunday.

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