Real Madrid go top of La Liga as Inter win on Serie A return - European round-up

Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Karim Benzema all find the net

Karim Benzema was on target for Real Madrid as they went to the top of the La Liga table
Image: Karim Benzema was on target for Real Madrid as they went to the top of the La Liga table

Real Madrid took control of the La Liga title race by beating Real Sociedad 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the table, above Barcelona, after a second-half high on controversy.

Sergio Ramos broke the deadlock in the 50th minute by converting a penalty after Vinicius Junior went to ground in the area following contact from Sociedad's Diego Llorente.

Sociedad thought they had levelled with a strike from Adnan Januzaj from outside the box but the goal was ruled out after a VAR review showed Mikel Merino obstructing the view of Madrid 'keeper Thibaut Courtois without touching the ball.

Their sense of injustice deepened a minute later when Karim Benzema doubled Madrid's lead after controlling the ball with the top of his arm, although Merino ensured an exciting finish by lashing in off the crossbar in the 83rd minute.

However, Zinedine Zidane's side clung on for the win to move level with Barcelona on 65 points after 30 games but climbed above their El Clasico rivals, who were held 0-0 at Sevilla on Friday, due to a superior head-to-head record. Sociedad are sixth on 47 points.

Sergio Ramos lines up a penalty under the gaze of Real Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro
Image: Sergio Ramos lines up a penalty under the gaze of Real Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro

Earlier, Celta Vigo thrashed Alaves 6-0 to pull clear of the relegation zone, making the most of the visiting side having Martin Aguirregabiria sent off in the first half.

Jeison Murillo headed Celta in front after 14 minutes from a corner before their leading scorer Iago Aspas converted a penalty, making amends for spurning a spot kick in the 0-0 draw at Real Valladolid in midweek.

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Celta twisted the knife further after Aguirregabiria's dismissal, as Rafinha scored twice in two minutes before the break to make it 4-0 before half-time.

Nolito enjoyed an ideal return in his first match back for Celta after signing from Sevilla in midweek with a penalty, then laid on a pass for Santi Mina to complete the rout in the 86th minute.

Celta were hovering one point above the relegation zone before kick-off but the win took them up to 16th on 30 points, four ahead of 18th-placed Real Mallorca with eight games left. Alaves are 13th on 35 points.

Goncalo Guedes (centre) scored and assisted Valencia's two goals on Sunday
Image: Goncalo Guedes (centre) scored and assisted Valencia's two goals

Valencia also beat visiting Osasuna 2-0 in convincing fashion with goals from Goncalo Guedes and Rodrigo to pick up their first victory in three matches since La Liga returned.

Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno looked to have scored early but the goal was ruled out for offside following a VAR review which took over two minutes, having also had a goal snatched away by the technology in Thursday's 3-0 defeat at Real Madrid.

Guedes put the home side in front instead in the 12th minute before the Portugal international provided an assist for Rodrigo to double the lead in the 35th minute.

Valencia remain eighth but the win breathed life into their hopes of a top-four finish and Champions League qualification, taking them to 46 points, six behind fourth-placed Sevilla.

Serie A - Inter win on league return

Romelu Lukaku took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement after he had scored
Image: Romelu Lukaku took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement after he had scored

Third-placed Inter Milan restarted their Serie A campaign with a 2-1 home win over struggling Sampdoria to close the gap on the leading pair, although they lived dangerously in the second half.

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez put Inter 2-0 ahead in just over half an hour but Sampdoria, outclassed in the first period, pulled one back through Morten Thorsby early in the second and finished the match threatening an equaliser.

Belgian Lukaku celebrated his goal by taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Inter, with 57 points from 26 games, are five behind Lazio and six adrift of leaders Juventus, while Claudio Ranieri's Sampdoria are in 16th with 26 points, one point clear of the drop zone.

Lautaro Martinez scored Inter's second goal on Sunday
Image: Lautaro Martinez scored Inter's second goal on Sunday

Also on Sunday, Atalanta beat Sassuolo 4-1 in their first Serie A match in 112 days and the first in Bergamo - one of the areas hardest hit by coronavirus in Italy - since February 15.

The match was all but over by half-time following strikes from Berat Djimsiti and Duvn Zapata and an own-goal by Sassuolo midfielder Mehdi Bourabia. Atalanta had also hit the crossbar and had a goal ruled out for handball.

Berat Djimsiti celebrates his goal for Atalanta
Image: Berat Djimsiti celebrates his goal for Atalanta

Zapata added a second after the break and Atalanta also had penalty appeals waved away on a tight VAR decision. Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini - who revealed last month that he had been infected with coronavirus - was so incensed by the decision that he was sent off for dissent.

Bourabia made up for his own-goal by scoring at the right end in stoppage time. Atalanta remain in fourth but move six points above Roma in the fight for the final Champions League spot.

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