Napoli move level with Serie A leaders AC Milan; Jose Mourinho in spat with journalist – European round-up | Football News

Napoli moved level on points with Serie A leaders AC Milan after a hard-earned 3-1 win at Atalanta on Sunday.

The home side had the majority of the first-half openings but found themselves 2-0 down at the break after Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty and Matteo Politano’s fine finish put the visitors on course for victory.

Atalanta kept coming forward in Bergamo and deservedly got themselves back into the contest in the 58th minute when Marten de Roon headed home, with several other chances having come and gone as they chased an equaliser.

With the hosts committing bodies forward, title-chasing Napoli put the game to bed nine minutes from time as Elif Elmas added the finishing touch to a counter attack.

Napoli players and staff celebrated with their travelling supporters at the final whistle as they joined Milan on 66 points before the leaders welcome Bologna on Monday, as Luciano Spalletti’s side look to win their first Scudetto since 1990.

“We have made some steps forward, especially in terms of character,” Spalletti told DAZN. “Today we showed that we are a top-level team against a team that is difficult to face.

“There is still a long way to go (in the title race), we will see how many games we will win like this. We must not let our guard down.”

The defeat was a blow to Atalanta’s top four hopes, with Gian Piero Gasperini’s team remaining in sixth spot and eight points behind fourth-placed Juventus, who have also played 30 games and later on Sunday host Inter Milan in third on 60.

Meanwhile, Roma boss Jose Mourinho confronted a journalist in his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s 1-0 win at Sampdoria.

Journalist Alessandro Austini criticised Mourinho on Italian radio recently and then asked a tactics question ahead of kick-off.

Mourinho said: “I was expecting a much more aggressive question, more negative and violent after I listened to you on the radio.

“I didn’t expect such an easy question. My conclusion is that you are much more aggressive and violent on the radio but when you come here you s*** yourself a little bit in front of me.”

Bundesliga: Sommer to the rescue for Gladbach

Yann Sommer was in inspired form for Gladbach
Image:
Yann Sommer was in inspired form for Gladbach

Borussia Monchengladbach had keeper Yann Sommer to thank for securing a point in their 1-1 Bundesliga draw against visitors Mainz 05.

The 33-year-old Swiss made a string of key saves including a sensational double stop in second-half stoppage time as Gladbach moved eight points away from the relegation playoff spot and onto 34 points with six matches remaining in the season.

Breel Embolo put the hosts in front when he rifled in after 33 minutes with Gladbach enjoying a strong start.

Mainz, however, battled back after the break and Leandro Barreiro hit the post in the 48th before Sommer denied Jonathan Burkardt on the rebound.

Sommer was beaten when Karim Onisiwo was sent through by Lee Jae-sung and fired in the equaliser in the 73rd minute.

But the keeper pulled off the save of the game in stoppage time, first palming an Onisiwo header onto the bar and then saving the ball on the line to rescue a point for his team.

It was a bad day for VfL Wolfsburg who suffered a 3-0 loss to Augsburg to remain 13th on 31, three points behind Gladbach and deep in relegation danger.

La Liga: Barca up to second

Pedri fired Barcelona up to second in La Liga
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Pedri fired Barcelona up to second in La Liga

Barcelona’s revamped team under coach Xavi Hernndez kept its momentum and moved into second place in the Spanish league for the first time this season after defeating Sevilla 1-0 at home on Sunday.

Pedri broke the deadlock by scoring a beautiful goal in the 72nd minute at Camp Nou Stadium to move the Catalan club past Sevilla.

Barcelona were mostly in control but struggled to create significant scoring chances. Veteran defender Gerard Pique almost opened the scoring with a header that struck the crossbar in the 69th minute but Pedri finally got the winner by faking his shot twice outside the area before firing in a low strike.

The match came a few hours after the club ratified an agreement with Spotify for at least 12 seasons. The agreement, initially announced in March, was approved by 89% of votes in Sunday’s general assembly.

The victory kept Barcelona’s slim title hopes alive. They remain 12 points behind leaders Real Madrid with a game in hand.

Elsewhere, Real Betis routed Osasuna 4-1 to stay within range of the final Champions League place, and Athletic Bilbao ended a two-match winless streak with a 2-1 win over Elche to stay in eighth place, near the European spots – it was the fourth loss in five matches for Elche, who are six points above the drop zone.

Mid-table Valencia were held at home by relegation-threatened Cadiz 0-0, while 10-man Rayo Vallecano was held at Granada 2-2 after conceding a penalty kick four minutes into stoppage time.

Ligue 1: Marseille move back into second

Marseille moved back into second place in Ligue 1 after coming from behind to win 4-2 at St Etienne with a second-half goal blitz on Sunday.

Marseille, who are nine points adrift of Paris Saint-Germain before the leaders host Lorient later on Sunday, were originally scheduled to play St Etienne on Saturday but heavy snowfall forced the postponement of the match.

The visitors started brightly but had only themselves to blame for going behind, after poor defending from Sead Kolasinac and a howler from goalkeeper Pau Lopez gifted St Etienne their opener against the run of play.

Kolasinac’s headed back-pass was directed into the path of St Etienne forward Denis Bouanga, whose tame effort from a tight angle squirmed through Lopez’s legs in the ninth minute.

St Etienne looked like they would take their lead into half-time until Eliaquim Mangala brought down Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car in the box just before the break and, after a VAR check and a visit to the pitch-side monitor, the referee awarded a penalty.

Dimitri Payet, who was pelted with snowballs by home fans when taking corners, stepped up and calmly slotted the spot kick down the middle for his 10th league goal of the season.

Marseille carried their momentum into the second half and were rewarded on the hour when St Etienne’s off-balance Timothee Kolodziejczak misdirected a clearance into his own net to give the away side the lead.

St Etienne’s Arnaud Norin then brought down Gerson for a second Marseille penalty, which was converted at the second time of asking by Bamba Dieng, before Amine Harit capped a well-worked break with a tidy finish for their fourth.

Lucas Gourna-Douath got a second goal for St Etienne in the 86th minute but it was too late for a comeback as the visitors enjoyed a third straight league victory to leave St Etienne in 18th spot with 27 points, a point from the safety zone.


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