European roundup: Atlético beaten by Granada, PSG grab draw after Ramos red
Atlético Madrid lost their fourth La Liga match in a row as Granada fought back to earn a 2-1 win against the defending champions.
João Félix fired Atlético ahead with a perfect low shot from the edge of the box after just two minutes, but Granada equalised 15 minutes later with a stupendous long shot from Darwin Machís. The Venezuelan winger cut in from the left and fired a shot beyond Jan Oblak from 20 yards out.
Midway through the second half, the hosts went ahead after Jorge Molina beat Oblak to a cross, with the goal awarded after a VAR check. Despite the best efforts of the indefatigable Félix, Atlético could not find a second goal, falling to their worst league run since Simeone became manager 10 years ago.
“There are inexplicable things happening with our team,” the Atlético captain Koke said afterwards. “We dominate the games and suddenly they come and score an amazing goal in their only chance. It’s all about the details. It is not fair.”
Atléti are in fifth, 17 points behind the leaders, Real Madrid, who earned a 2-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao. Karim Benzema scored two goals in the opening seven minutes as Carlo Ancelotti’s side moved eight points clear at the top despite missing eight players due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
The French forward broke the 400-goal mark in his professional career with a stunning strike in the fourth minute. Benzema added another just three minutes later, pouncing on a defensive error to score his 15th league goal of the season. Oihan Sancet hit back for the hosts with a sensational goal in the 10th minute, but Real held on for victory.
In Ligue 1, Mauro Icardi’s stoppage-time header helped 10-man Paris Saint-Germain salvage a draw at lowly Lorient after Sergio Ramos was sent off. PSG looked short of inspiration without the injured Neymar or the suspended Kylian Mbappé and Thomas Monconduit fired the hosts in front five minutes before half-time.
Lionel Messi forced a save from Lorient Keeper Paul Nardi in the 81st minute, but PSG appeared destined for defeat when half-time substitute Sergio Ramos was sent off five minutes later after picking up two yellow cards – the 27th red card of his career, and his first in Ligue 1. Icardi headed home from Achraf Hakimi’s cross to keep Mauricio Pochettino’s side 13 points clear at the top.
Nice are in second place after Mario Lemina and Justin Kluivert scored in a 2-1 comeback home win over Lens. Dimitri Payet rescued a point for Marseille against Reims, converting a penalty eight minutes into injury time, while Kevin Volland got the winner as Monaco fought back to beat Rennes.
Montpellier boosted their top-four hopes with a convincing 4-1 home win over Angers, while defending champions Lille moved up to eighth as Jonathan David’s late goal gave them a 3-2 victory at Bordeaux. Bottom club Saint-Étienne suffered a costly defeat to Nantes, Randal Muani netting seven minutes from time.
The Serie A leaders Internazionale extended their winning league run to seven matches as Denzel Dumfries scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Torino. The Dutch international defender struck after 30 minutes, coolly finishing off a counter-attack that started on the edge of the Inter box for his second goal in two games.
Mid-table Torino put up a strong challenge, with Sasa Lukic’s free-kick forcing a sharp save from Samir Handanovic, but could not find a way through at San Siro as Simone Inzaghi’s side kept a sixth consecutive league clean sheet.
“It was an important win, we knew that Torino are a difficult team to face,” Inzaghi told Dazn. “We knew about their ferocious pressing and that they would try to disrupt our game. We played a great match and barely risked anything. We are very satisfied with how we have ended the year.”
Milan are four points behind their rivals in second after a 4-2 win at Empoli. Franck Kessié scored twice for Stefano Pioli’s side in the first half, either side of Nedim Bajrami’s goal for the hosts. Patrick Cutrone hit the bar for Empoli before Alessandro Florenzi’s free kick and a Theo Hernandez goal put the visitors in control.
Andrea Pinamonti pulled one back from the penalty spot but Milan held on, and bounced back from Sunday’s home defeat to Napoli. “Getting back to winning was what counted today,” Pioli told Sky Italia. “We needed it for the league table and for our confidence.”
Napoli’s inconsistent run of results continued as they lost 1-0 at home to struggling Spezia, who won without recording a shot on target. The hosts fell behind to Juan Jesus’ own goal, saw two goals disallowed and hit the bar late on as they lost a third consecutive league game at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Elsewhere, Manolo Gabbiadini’s equaliser earned Sampdoria a 1-1 draw at Roma to leave José Mourinho frustrated. “It was an ugly game, because the side that wanted to win it didn’t play well, and the side that didn’t want to win played the way they did and got rewarded,” Mourinho said after the match.
Lazio are eighth and a point behind Roma after winning 3-1 at Venezia, thanks to goals from Pedro, Francesco Acerbi and substitute Luis Alberto. Gaetano Castrovilli rescued a point for Fiorentina with a late diving header at Verona, while Aaron Hickey scored a fine long-range goal for Bologna as they won 3-0 at Sassuolo.