Ronaldo scores brace
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to give Real Madrid a 2-1 win at RC Celta de Vigo on Sunday, lifting Jose Mourinho’s side provisionally into second place in La Liga. Except for Celta’s initial and last-gasp surges, Madrid had the better of the scoring chances at the Balaidos, despite Mourinho making several changes to his starting team. Ronaldo was well-positioned to score from a loose ball in the 61st minute. Striker Iago Aspas leveled against the run of play two minutes later, but the Portugal forward converted a spot-kick earned by Kaka in the 72nd. Ronaldo has 26 league goals this season, second only to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi with 40. Madrid trail Barcelona by 13 points. In other games on Sunday, Athletic Bilbao beat Valencia 1-0, while Levante UD and Getafe played to a goalless draw. Atletico Madrid lost 0-1 at Real Sociedad.
Lyon, Marseille lose ground
Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille failed to make up ground on French league leaders Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) when they played out a tame goalless draw on Sunday. A point apiece leaves Lyon four adrift of PSG, while Marseille, in third place, are three points further back. Earlier, OGC Nice continued their bid for an unprecedented place in the Champions League, as a first-half brace from Stephane Bahoken carried them to a 2-0 victory over Montpellier Herault and into joint fourth with AS Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1. Nice, who won the last of their four French titles back in 1959, trail Saint-Etienne on goal-difference, but are just two points behind Marseille in the race for the third and final qualifying slot for Europe’s most prestigious competition. In the day’s other game, Europa League hopefuls Girondins de Bordeaux beat SC Bastia 1-0.
Bayern steam toward title
Bayern Munich finished the weekend 20 points clear in the Bundesliga and are now just three league wins from the title, while Eintracht Frankfurt stayed in the chasing pack after Sunday’s draw at Hannover 96. If they win their next three matches, Bayern are set to be crowned German champions on April 6 at Frankfurt, who were held to a goalless draw at wintry Hannover in heavy snow. Frankfurt drop to fifth following a fifth consecutive league match without scoring. In a scrappy game, Hannover’s ex-Manchester United striker Mame Diouf and Ivory Coast forward Didier Ya Konan both had chances up front for the team, who stay 10th. Hamburg SV moved up among the European places after they claimed sixth with a 1-0 win at VfB Stuttgart. Latvia’s Artjoms Rudnevs hit the 50th-minute winner for his 11th goal of the season.
Juventus get scrappy win
Substitute Emanuele Giaccherini struck in injury-time to snatch a 1-0 win for an uninspired Juventus at home to Catania on Sunday, to increase their Serie A lead to nine points. Giaccherini had only been on the field 15 minutes, during which time he had been booked for diving, when he shot home from the center of the box following a storming run by Paul Pogba down the right. That last-gasp goal completed a joyful day for the reigning champions, because their nearest challengers, SSC Napoli, crashed to a 2-0 defeat at struggling AC Chievo Verona. Other results on Sunday: Atalanta BC 2, Delfino Pescara 1936 1; Cagliari 3, UC Sampdoria 1; US Citta de Palermo 1, AC Siena 2; Parma 4, Torino 1; Inter 0, Bologna 1; SS Lazio 0, ACF Fiorentina 2.