A summary of Sunday’s action in Serie A and La Liga.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Welshman Aaron Ramsey helped Juventus to secure a 3-1 victory over 10-man Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday, lifting the champions to fourth place in the standings.
Following their win at leaders AC Milan in midweek, Juventus struggled to create many chances in the first half, but their cause was aided after Pedro Obiang was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Federico Chiesa just before halftime.
Juventus capitalised on the numerical advantage as Danilo was left in plenty of space to fire home a fierce opener in the 50th minute, but the lead lasted just eight minutes as Gregoire Defrel levelled to stun the hosts.
Ramsey, who has been in and out of the side this season, put Juve in front in the 82nd minute with his first goal of the season. In contrast, Serie A top scorer Ronaldo took his season’s tally to 15 as he struck in stoppage-time to complete the win.
The result helped Juve close the gap with leaders Milan to seven points, having played one game less. Sassuolo stay seventh.
“Victories are built with everyone’s work and sacrifice, we have already made mistakes too many times,” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said.
“After Milan’s win over Torino (on Saturday) we understood that we need maximum concentration and the desire to bring home the victories. We had to continue after the win at the San Siro. It was important to maintain our form.”
After scoring three times in Milan in midweek, Juve’s strikeforce could not get going in the first half at the Juventus Stadium.
Obiang’s dismissal, however, gave Juve a boost, with the referee issuing a straight red card after the VAR asked the official to have another look at the midfielder’s studs-up tackle on Chiesa.
Danilo’s third Juventus goal settled the hosts’ nerves, but Sassuolo, enjoying a fine season, were not overawed despite being a man down as Defrel fired them level and they had several other chances to take the lead.
Ramsey, who replaced the injured Weston McKennie in the first half, got the all-important second, arriving on cue to meet a Gianluca Frabotta cross, before Ronaldo drilled home to make sure of a third successive win for Juve.
Bakayoko earns Napoli last-gasp victory at Udinese
Tiemoue Bakayoko headed a last-gasp winner as Napoli snatched a 2-1 victory at Udinese in Serie A on Sunday to climb to fifth in the standings.
VAR came to the visitors’ aid early on after a blatant foul on Hirving Lozano in the penalty area was missed by the on-field officials, with the referee awarding a spot-kick converted by Lorenzo Insigne in the 15th minute.
The hosts were much the better side, however, and equalised through Kevin Lasagna, who capitalised on an underhit back pass from Amir Rrahmani before slotting home in the 27th minute.
Udinese continued to offer more attacking threat in the second half, but against the run of play Bakayoko, on loan from Chelsea, popped up with a 90th-minute header to send Napoli fifth, above Juventus who play Sassuolo later on Sunday.
Udinese stayed 13th with 16 points and are without a win in six league games.
A fine stop from Meret denied Lasagna his second of the game midway through the second half. Bakayoko headed his first Napoli goal in off the post to spark wild celebrations.
The result provided Napoli a huge boost as they had won just one of their last five Serie A matches before Sunday. The three points allowed them to stay in touch with the top four.
Elsewhere, goals from Luis Alberto and Felipe Caicedo earned eighth-placed Lazio a 2-0 win at Parma, while Verona beat Crotone 2-1.
Valencia overcome Valladolid to grab first win since November
Valencia snapped a two-month winless spell in La Liga with a 1-0 victory away to Real Valladolid on Sunday thanks to a late piledriver from Carlos Soler to move away from the relegation zone.
Midfielder Soler, who had scored a hat-trick of penalties against Real Madrid in Valencia’s last win on Nov. 8, broke the deadlock in the 76th minute, controlling a pass from outside the area before lashing the ball high into the net.
Valencia thought they had doubled their lead later on when Manu Vallejo scored but the goal was ruled out following a VAR review for an offside in the build up.
Vallejo missed a later chance to score and Valencia lived dangerously until the final whistle, almost conceding in the 96th-minute when Valladolid forward Sergi Guardiola headed a free kick against the post.
A first victory in nine league games saw Valencia climb from 17th place in the standings up to 13th on 19 points.
Earlier on Sunday, Cadiz capitalised on gaining a numerical advantage in the second half as they beat Alaves 3-1 at home.
The hosts lost their early lead when a Joselu penalty cancelled out Alex Fernandez’s opening strike but defender Tachi was sent off for the visitors in the 50th minute and strikers Anthony Lozano and Alvaro Negredo scored within 12 minutes of each other, taking Cadiz up to ninth in the table.
Elsewhere, Levante came from behind to beat Eibar 2-1 to climb into 10th.
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