European roundup: Benzema returns Real Madrid to winning ways | european football club

Karim Benzema scored two penalties but missed another as Real Madrid returned to winning ways in La Liga with a 2-1 win at Celtic vigo on Saturday.

Benzema, who also had another spot kick saved in Vigo, missed Madrid’s 4-0 defeat to Barcelona before the two-week international break as he recovered from a left-leg injury.

Celta took the game to the league leaders, only to be undone by some rash defending in its area and some borderline calls by the referee. The third penalty that set up Benzema’s 70th-minute winner came after a questionable foul when Ferland Mendy stumbled over the leg of Kevin Vázquez. Celta also had a goal waived off in the first half after a video review.

“The first two were penalties, but the third was not,” Celta striker Iago Aspas said. “Mendy was going full steam and ran over our defender. I think it was a foul in our favour.”

Madrid opened a 12-point gap over Sevilla and a 15-point advantage over Barcelona and Atlético Madrid Madrid’s coach, Carlo Ancelotti, missed the match after testing positive for Covid this week. His son, Davide Ancelotti, took his place from him.

In Germany RB Leipzig‘s Konrad Laimer scored twice and set up a third goal for a stunning 4-1 victory at second-placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday that all but killed off the hosts’ slim title hopes.

The result left Dortmund nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich4-1 winners at Freiburgwith six games remaining.

Leipzig, who tightened their hold on fourth place, struck against the run of play when Laimer chipped the ball over keeper Gregor Kobel in the 21st minute to shock the first sold-out crowd in the Signal Iduna Park in more than two years.

What was meant to be a big football party for the hosts, with top striker Erling Haaland in the starting line-up and in front of 81,000 fans, turned into a nightmare when Austria international Laimer added a second with a deflected shot 10 minutes later.

Erling Haaland cuts a lonely figure as Dortmund suffers at home. Photograph: Joosep Martinson/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection/Getty Images

Frustrated Dortmund, who had a couple of golden chances early in the first half, could not find a response after the break and Christopher Nkunku, set up by a Laimer backheel, completed a superb Leipzig attack to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.

Substitute Donyell Malen managed to briefly cut the deficit late on with a header but Leipzig responded with Dani Olmo’s well-placed shot from outside the box to seal an emphatic victory.

A mix-up involving Bayern Munich substitutes that saw the champions play with 12
men for a few seconds in their s 4-1 win over Freiburg was down to a wrong number displayed on the board, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said.
The incident came in the 86th minute when Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman were to be taken off by Marcel Sabitzer and Niklas Süle. But the fourth official’s displayed a wrong number for Coman and the France winger played on for a few seconds, according to the champions and referee Christian Dingert.

“The fourth official showed the wrong number,” Nagelsmann told a news conference. “King (Coman) did not know he had to come off. It was eight or nine seconds I think that we played like that. It was not a game-deciding incident but still a bit weird.

“It is normal for fans to be discussing it,” Nagelsmann said. “I know who is to blame but I will not name them and do you this favour. I am happy we won.”
Freiburg coach Christian Streich said his team was not planning to appeal.
“I expect that we will not have to appeal anything,” Streich said.
“We abide by these rules and that is all I will say about it.”

Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Coman and Sabitzer were on the scoresheet for Bayern, with Nil Petersen scoring the consolation.

In France, Rennes climbed to second in Ligue 1 following a 1-1 draw at Nice after Martin Terrier’s strike canceled out the opener from Adam Delort in an entertaining game at the Allianz Riviera.

Delort headed hosts Nice in front after being set up by Youcef Atal in the 66th minute but Terrier grabbed the equalizer 10 minutes later to secure a crucial point for Rennes in the Champions League race. Terrier, who scored his 17th goal of the season, nearly secured victory for Rennes in the closing stages but his effort was saved by Nice goalkeeper Walter Benítez.

Marseille’s trip to st Etiennescheduled to be played later on Saturday, has been postponed due to heavy snowfall in France.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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