Inter Milan beat Cagliari to close in on Serie A title - European football round-up

Ex-Man Utd defender Matteo Darmian unlikely matchwinner as Inter move 11 points clear; Juventus beat Genoa to keep alive their faint Serie A title hopes; Schalke ended a 12-game winless run to beat Augsburg

Renan Lodi reacts as Atletico Madrid were held by Real Betis
Image: Renan Lodi reacts as Atletico Madrid were held by Real Betis

Atletico Madrid returned to the top of La Liga with a 1-1 draw away to Real Betis on Sunday but did so at the expense of losing yet more players to injury, leaving their title hopes hanging by a thread.

Diego Simeone's side got off to an ideal start when Yannick Carrasco dribbled into an empty net in the fifth minute thanks to a lucky bounce but Betis levelled with a thumping volley from Cristian Tello in the 20th.

Atletico then lost record signing Joao Felix plus right-back Kieran Trippier to injury in the second half, adding to an absentee list also containing Luis Suarez, Thomas Lemar and latest signing Moussa Dembele.

They were fortunate to avoid conceding again as Betis dominated the second half and missed several chances to take the lead.

Kieran Tripper was injured during the 1-1 draw
Image: Kieran Tripper was injured during the 1-1 draw

Yet Atletico were not far from snatching a winner, striker Angel Correa forcing two fine saves from Claudio Bravo in stoppage time.

Atletico returned to the summit on 67 points, one ahead of Real Madrid and two clear of Barcelona with eight games remaining.

Elsewhere, Villarreal slumped to a 2-1 home loss at the hands of Osasuna. Jon Moncayola and Ante Budimir struck for the visitors, who were able to shake off David Garcia's own goal. Valencia also drew 2-2 with Real Sociedad.

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Serie A: Inter edge towards title

Inter Milan celebrate victory over Cagliari
Image: Inter Milan celebrate victory over Cagliari

Inter Milan edged closer to their first Serie A title in 11 years after a 1-0 win over Cagliari.

Struggling Cagliari had put up stubborn resistance in the San Siro, with debutant goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario making several fine saves to keep the league leaders at bay.

But a rare goal from full-back Matteo Darmian with just 13 minutes finally broke the deadlock and sealed an 11th successive league win.

Inter are now 11 points clear of AC Milan in second with eight games left.

With such a healthy lead at the top of the table, Antonio Conte shuffled his pack for Cagliari's visit, with Lautaro Martinez and Achraf Hakimi given a rest, but Inter's cohesion did not suffer early on as they created plenty of chances.

Christian Eriksen forced the best save from Vicario in the first half - a fine one-handed stop to claw out a goalbound effort from the Denmark midfielder.

Matteo Darmian was Inter's unlikely matchwinner against Cagliari
Image: Matteo Darmian was Inter's unlikely matchwinner against Cagliari

As the match wore on, Inter started to look more nervous, and Conte brought Martinez and Hakimi on, with the latter instrumental in brilliantly setting up the chance for Darmian, who celebrated with a jubilant bench.

While Cagliari remain in 18th place, five points from the safety zone, Inter require just 14 points from their last eight matches to guarantee the Scudetto.

Elsewhere, Juventus eased to a 3-1 victory over Genoa on Sunday to keep alive their faint hopes of making it 10 successive Serie A titles this season.

The champions raced into a comfortable lead inside 22 minutes thanks to goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata, the Spanish striker converting after Cristiano Ronaldo had hit the post.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates Alvaro Morata's goal for Juventus against Genoa
Image: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates Alvaro Morata's goal for Juventus against Genoa

Juventus have not been convincing recently, however, and let the visitors back into the match four minutes after the break with Gianluca Scamacca finding the net.

Genoa had chances to level but Weston McKennie stepped off the bench to make sure of the victory 20 minutes from time as third-placed Juventus moved on to 62 points after 30 matches, one behind AC Milan and 12 adrift of leaders Inter.

Meanwhile, Fabian Ruiz and Victor Osimhen were on target for Napoli in a 2-0 win at Sampdoria, to stay fourth and maintain the pressure on the league's top three. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's added-time goal snatched Lazio a 1-0 win at Verona.

Atalanta held onto fourth place and the final Champions League berth with a 3-2 victory at Fiorentina following a double from Duvan Zapata and a winner from Josip Ilicic. Roma remained seventh after a 1-0 win over visiting Bologna courtesy of a goal from Borja Mayoral.

Bundesliga: Schalke snap winless run

Suat Serdar celebrated his 24th birthday by scoring his first Bundesliga goal of the season as basement side Schalke snapped a 12-game winless run to beat Augsburg 1-0.

Having failed to score in their past five home games, Schalke broke the deadlock inside four minutes when Germany midfielder Serdar slotted home from close range after Augsburg goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz failed to collect a low cross.

Augsburg threatened to equalise through forwards Marco Richter and Ruben Vargas but a disciplined Schalke defence held on to claim only their second league win of the campaign.

Schalke still have work to do if they are to survive the drop as they remain 12 points adrift of the relegation playoff spot and 13 away from the first survival position.

Meanwhile, Augsburg are yet to secure their top-flight status and sit 11th with a seven-point cushion over the playoff spot.

Elsewhere, Mainz won 3-2 at Cologne with an injury-time goal from Leandro Barreiro to move into 14th and leave Cologne in the relegation zone. Cologne are winless in eight league games.

Ligue 1: Khazri hat-trick in St Etienne win

Wahbi Khazri fired a hat-trick as St Etienne thumped Bordeaux 4-1. Khazri slotted two penalties, with Zaydou Youssouf also on the scoresheet and Hwang Ui-jo netting for Bordeaux.

Brendon Chardonnet's effort cancelled out Moussa Kone's opener as Brest salvaged a 1-1 draw with Nimes, with Nice and Reims playing out a goalless draw.

Ligue 1 news | Fixtures | Table

Wissam Ben Yedder's double helped Monaco dispatch Dijon 3-0 to hold on to third place in Ligue 1.

Stevan Jovetic opened the scoring before Ben Yedder wrapped up the victory, with his second goal coming from the penalty spot.

Memphis Depay scored twice and Lucas Paqueta was also on target as Lyon swept past Angers 3-0.

Gael Kakuta and Simon Banza struck penalties as Ligue 1's fifth-placed side Lens dispatched Lorient 4-1 to move three points ahead of Marseille in sixth.

Corentin Jean and Arnaud Kalimuendo also hit the target, while Terem Moffi's effort for Lorient proved scant consolation.

Martin Terrier struck to seal Rennes' 1-0 win over struggling Nantes, which moved his side up to seventh in the table.

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