With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years.
Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1.
Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi.
Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed.
“These three points are very important, we knew this was going to be one of the difficult matches we had left,” Ramos said. “This was a key victory to try to put some pressure on Barcelona. We only depend on ourselves.”
It was the third straight 1-0 win by Madrid. They have four matches left as they chases a first league title since 2016-2017.
“We can’t relax or think about the title until we clinch it mathematically, but I admit that winning seven games in a row is impressive,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.
Ramos had already scored a late winner from the penalty spot in Madrid’s 1-0 win against Getafe on Thursday last week and he also netted from the spot in a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad last month.
Ramos converted on Sunday after the video assistant referee determined there was a foul when midfielder Dani Garcia stepped on leftback Marcelo’s right foot inside the penalty area.
Athletic wanted a penalty for a similar foul by Ramos away from the ball a few moments later, but the game was allowed to continue.
“I’m tired of always talking about the same thing,” Zidane said. “It seems like we only win thanks to the referees, and that’s not true. The players deserve respect.”
Two-time defending champions Barcelona ended their two-match winless streak with Messi setting up goals by Suarez in the 20th minute and Griezmann in the 45th.
Barca had opened the scoring with an own-goal by Pau Torres in the third minute, while Ansu Fati netted the final goal in the 87th.
Gerard Moreno scored for the hosts in the 14th minute.
“These points were important to keep us in the fight for the title,” Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said. “We will keep pushing, even though we know it’s going to be complicated.”
Suarez’s strike was his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez (232) and Messi (630).
Griezmann had not scored since February.
Messi had a goal disallowed for offside in the 69th minute and hit the crossbar with a free-kick in second-half stoppage-time.
Elsewhere, last-placed RCD Espanyol lost 1-0 at home to second-from-bottom CD Leganes to remain 11 points from safety, while CA Osasuna drew 0-0 against Getafe.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
‘COMPLICATED’: The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament ‘a decision I never wanted to take,’ but added that he would ‘rather not travel’ Defending champion Rafael Nadal has said that he would skip the US Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting on hold his bid to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record for Grand Slam titles. On Tuesday, Nadal explained his decision in a series of tweets sent in Spanish and English. “The situation is very complicated worldwide. Coronavirus cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it,” Nadal wrote. The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take,” but added that he would “rather not
The Braves were dealt a double blow as the Mets’ Jacob deGrom struck out 10 in six innings to help New York snap a five-game skid with a 7-2 victory on Monday, and as Atlanta top pitcher Mike Soroka went down with a torn Achilles tendon in the third inning. “There’s no sugarcoating this night,” Atlanta slugger Freddie Freeman said. “It stinks. It really does.” Soroka crumpled to the ground on a seemingly routine play, breaking toward first to cover the bag on a grounder to Freeman’s right. “When you lose, in my mind, one of the top pitching arms in this entire