European roundup: Atalanta fightback floors Lazio, Real Madrid keep title pace

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Reuters

José Luis Palomino heads the winning goal for Atalanta as they came from 2-0 down to beat Lazio. Photograph: Paolo Magni/EPA

Lazio’s hopes of a first Italian title for 20 years suffered a major setback on Wednesday as they let a two-goal lead slip in their 3-2 defeat at Atalanta to leave Juventus in pole position for their ninth straight scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi’s side had stormed into a 2-0 lead after just 11 minutes, thanks to a Marten De Roon own goal and a brilliant curling effort from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Robin Gosens got Atalanta back into the game before half-time with a powerful header, before Ruslan Malinovsky struck a superb equaliser from outside the area.

The hosts, who are on course for a top-four finish and into the Champions League quarter-finals, pushed for the winner and José Luis Palomino headed home Papu Gómez’s corner to complete the comeback with 10 minutes left on the clock. Lazio stay in second but are now four points behind leaders Juventus, who beat Bologna 2-0 on Monday night.

Juve were boosted further as third-placed Internazionale slipped off the pace with a 3-3 draw at home to Sassuolo. The game at the San Siro hinged on an incredible miss by midfielder Roberto Gagliardini, who hit the crossbar with the goal gaping in the second half. Inter led 2-1 at that stage, but Domenico Berardi equalised with an 81st-minute penalty after Ashley Young brought down Mert Muldur.

Antonio Conte’s side thought they had snatched victory back when Borja Valero prodded home five minutes later, but poor defending by the hosts allowed Giangiacomo Magnani to finish at the far post in the 89th minute. “It’s a draw that hurts us because we had several chances to wrap up the game,” said Conte. “There are situations where you have to score and today we paid dearly for our naivety.”

Fifth-placed Roma remain six points behind Atalanta, but needed two clinical second-half strikes from Edin Dzeko to overturn a half-time deficit at home to struggling Sampdoria, who had opened the scoring through Manolo Gabbiadini.

In Spain, Real Madrid returned to the La Liga summit with a comfortable 2-0 home win over relegation-threatened Real Mallorca. Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior opened the scoring with a cool finish in the 19th minute.

Vinicius struck the crossbar later in the first half, before Sergio Ramos doubled Madrid’s lead with a superb free kick, curling the ball into the top corner for his eighth league goal of the season.

There was little to cheer for the visitors, who stay three points from safety, but 15-year-old forward Luka Romero became La Liga’s youngest player when he came off the bench in the game held at Real’s training ground.

Real Madrid’s fourth win in a row sees them move back level with Barcelona with a superior head-to-head record. In Wednesday’s other games, Iago Aspas’ penalty earned Celta Vigo a surprise victory at Real Sociedad, and Osasuna won 1-0 at Alavés.

 

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