- Adolfo Gaich winner leaves Juve 10 points behind Inter
- Atlético win, Messi scores and breaks appearance record
Adolfo Gaich celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner for Benevento. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images
The Guardian- Agencies
Juventus’ faint hopes of catching Serie A leaders Inter suffered a hammer blow on Sunday as they were beaten 1-0 at home by struggling Benevento.
Adolfo Gaich struck for the visitors in the 69th minute, pouncing on a careless pass from Juve midfielder Arthur Melo to score the game’s only goal. The hosts created chances but could not find a way past goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo as Benevento ended an 11-match winless run to boost their survival hopes.
Andrea Pirlo’s side had been unbeaten in their last five league games, but he came off second best to Benevento manager Filippo Inzaghi, his former teammate at Milan. Defeat leaves Juve in third, 10 points behind Inter with 11 games to play, but Pirlo was not willing to concede the title after the game.
“We must continue to believe in the title, our objective hasn’t changed,” Pirlo told Sky Italia. “Our mentality must change … there wasn’t too much pressure today, there was a duty to play better and unfortunately we had a bad match in every aspect.”
Defeat increases the pressure on Pirlo. “My future?” he said. “The club will decide. I will continue to work day by day, match after match, to try to do my best. Then at the end everyone can draw their own conclusions.”
Before the game, Juve presented Cristiano Ronaldo with a special shirt celebrating his 770 career goals. The club president, Andrea Agnelli, presented the forward with a shirt featuring the number 770 and the word ‘GOAT’ [greatest of all time]. Ronaldo could not add to his tally on a sobering afternoon for the defending champions.
Atalanta boosted their top-four hopes with a 2-0 win at Verona. Ruslan Malinovskiy put the visitors in front from the penalty spot after 33 minutes, before setting up Duván Zapata for the second goal nine minutes later.
Dries Mertens scored his 99th and 100th Serie A goals for Napoli to secure a 2-0 win away to top-four rivals Roma.
The 33-year-old Belgian striker curled in a free-kick and nodded in a simple finish to put his side two goals in front after 34 minutes, and the hosts could not muster a response.
Mertens is only the third Napoli player to reach 100 goals in Serie A, after Marek Hamsik (100) and Antonio Vojak (102).
The win was important for fifth-placed Napoli as it lifted them up to 53 points, three ahead of Roma in sixth and two behind Juventus and Atalanta in third and fourth respectively.
Seventh-placed Lazio are just one point further back after Adam Marusic scored the only goal away at Udinese, while Antonio Candreva fired Sampdoria to victory over Torino.
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In La Liga, the leaders Atlético Madrid earned a vital 1-0 victory at home to Alavés thanks to a late penalty save from Jan Oblak. Atlético went ahead in the 54th minute when Luis Suárez headed home a Kieran Trippier cross but Diego Simeone’s side were happy to try to defend their lead and almost paid a heavy price when Stefan Savic was penalised for barging Luis Rioja in the 86th minute. Oblak threw himself across goal to turn away Joselu’s penalty with his left hand.
Lionel Messi celebrated becoming Barcelona’s highest appearance maker of all time by scoring twice as his rampant side crushed Real Sociedad 6-1 away with a stunning team display.
Sergiño Dest, with two, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé were also on the scoresheet as Messi passed Xavi’s appearance record of 767.
The victory took Barca above Real Madrid into second place on 62 points, four behind leaders Atletico Madrid with 10 games left to play.
In the Bundesliga, Hertha Berlin boosted their hopes of beating the drop with a 3-0 win over Leverkusen, whose top-four ambitions are rapidly disappearing. The hosts scored all three in the first 33 minutes, with Deyovaisio Zeefuik, Matheus Cunha and Jhon Córdoba all on target as Peter Bosz’s team stayed seven points off Eintracht Frankfurt in fourth.
Robert Glatzel scored inside 30 seconds for fellow strugglers Mainz in their 2-1 win at Hoffenheim, a result that sees Cologne drop into the relegation play-off spot, above only Arminia Bielefeld and doomed Schalke.
Kylian Mbappé became the youngest player to score 100 goals in Ligue 1 when his double powered Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-2 win at Lyon and to the top of the standings on Sunday.
The 22-year-old France striker netted either side of the interval with Ángel Di María and Danilo Pereira also getting on the scoreboard to put PSG on 63 points from 30 games.
The French champions, who welcomed back Neymar after a six-week injury layoff, are ahead of Lille on goal difference after the northerners slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against Nimes earlier on Sunday.
Lyon, who pulled two goals back through Islam Slimani and Maxwel Cornet, are third on 60 points, one ahead of fourth-placed Monaco.
Lille suffered a 2-1 home defeat against lowly Nimes on Sunday and were knocked off top spot in Ligue 1 as their title campaign continued to stutter.
Xeka cancelled out Moussa Koné’s early opener for the visitors but Renaud Ripart gave Nimes all three points and left Lille on 63 points from 30 games.