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PSG can seal record-breaking 10th title but morale is low

Despite Paris Saint-Germain finishing a record-breaking 10th on Wednesday. (Author: Gardener)

10thPARIS (AP) - Despite Paris Saint-Germain sealing a record-breaking 10th French league title on Wednesday, fans are in no mood to celebrate and a tense atmosphere hangs over the club. PSG can join Marseille and Saint-Etienne on 10 titles if they win at Angers and second-place Marseille fail to win at home to Nantes. But PSG fans have still not forgiven the players for their most recent humiliating Champions League elimination against Real Madrid last month and there was very little vocal support at home against bitter rivals Marseille last Sunday. It was her way of making the players realize that the throwaway nature of the Madrid defeat was unacceptable. The players looked shaken after the Marseille game. It wasn't the right time for it," said PSG captain Marquinhos. But after a disastrous 6-1 defeat by Barcelona in 2017, a 5-2 aggregate defeat by Real Madrid next year and a historic home defeat by Manchester United in 2019, last month's defeat in Madrid - conceding three goals in 17 minutes - felt like a humiliation too much. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino sounded more understanding of the fans venting their frustration. "The goal was the Champions League and not to achieve that is a disappointment," admitted Pochettino. “Right now our common goal is to win the (French) title. Although his side have a huge 15-point lead over Marseille, the gap should be much smaller. Drawn and won late in the first half of the season, PSG have often been saved by Kylian Mbappe's individual brilliance and their rivals are far too fickle to face a serious challenge. So PSG's alarming flaws, ruthlessly exposed by Madrid, went unpunished in the French league. In the seasons where PSG have had a serious challenger - Monaco in 2017 and Lille last year - they lost the title despite having a star-studded squad funded by well-funded Qatari owner QSI. PSG has a far better goal difference than Marseille. So if both teams win on Wednesday, PSG would need a home draw against Lens on Saturday to guarantee the title. Pochettino appeared sad when asked if, given the tension, it would actually be better to win the title in Angers than at home. "For the future of the club we hope for a good understanding (with the fans)," he said. PSG are short of a team against an Angers side in 14th place and need points to secure top-flight status next season. Mbappe is looking to add to his 21 league goals as he bids for another top scorer. Third-placed Rennes, meanwhile, are three points behind Marseille in the race for automatic Champions League entry. But he has a difficult game against fifth-placed Strasbourg, who are chasing automatic entry into the Europa League. Nice is fourth, two points behind Rennes and one ahead of Strasbourg and sixth-placed Monaco. The table could be upset on Wednesday as Monaco host the Nice Riviera derby. Match shirts from this game will be auctioned and the proceeds will benefit Ukrainians fleeing their country after the Russian invasion. Monaco said club president Dmitry Rybolovlev, who is Russian, has requested that part of the ticket proceeds go to the Secours Po pulaire des Alpes-Maritimes Association, which helps fleeing Ukrainians. In the relegation battle, 19th-placed Bordeaux desperately need a home win over 17th-placed Saint-Etienne, with both sides losing goals. Saint-Etienne have conceded 11 goals in their last three games and six-time champions Bordeaux have conceded a league-high 77 this season.

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Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale in MLS move talks aged 32

Gareth Bale will leave Real Madrid in the summer and could be on his way to MLS. (Author: Gardener)

Gareth BaleBale was once the most expensive player in world football when Real signed him from Spurs in 2013 and has fallen out of favor at Los Blancos. The Welshman has played just 290 minutes in all competitions this season and looks set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer. However, according to Washington Post's Steven Goff, the D.C. United team and Bale are "exchanging suggestions". United in talks with Gareth Bale's representatives over the move to MLS, I'm told. (They actually spoke months ago, but haven't gone anywhere.) Sides exchange suggestions, but unclear if it'll pick up steam. DCU was willing to pay more than Wayne Rooney in 2018. Bale leaves Real Madrid. — Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 21, 2022 Seems very far-fetched to be sure, but perhaps some hope for DCU as talks have resumed after a long hiatus. We'll see. — Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 21, 2022 United, who have won four MLS trophies, are said to be willing to pay more for Bale than they paid for English superstar Wayne Rooney in 2018. Rooney was a lucrative win for the league and signed a three and a half year contract before scoring 25 goals in 52 games. Bale would join as United's third designated player alongside Taxiarchis Fountas and Edison Flores but would almost certainly face a significant pay cut to the reported £570,000 a week he is making at Real. Bale has scored 106 goals in 258 games and won two La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies with the 13-time European champions. Recent footage showed him looking extremely awkward and lost in the dressing room after the stunning 3-2 comeback win over Sevilla. However, Bale has continued to shine when it comes to his successes in Wales, scoring two stunning goals in March's World Cup play-off win over Austria.

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Benzema misses two penalties in Real Madrid's win

MADRID: Karim Benzema missed two penalties in seven minutes on Wednesday but Real Madrid still had enough to defeat Osasuna 3-1 as they continued their march towards the La Liga title. Benzema wa (Author: Gardener)

BenzemaMADRID: Karim Benzema missed two penalties in seven minutes on Wednesday but Real Madrid still had enough to defeat Osasuna 3-1 as they continued their march towards the La Liga title. Benzema wanted his 45th goal of the season but was thwarted twice by Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera, who dived right both times and saved both times in Madrid's 2-1 lead at El Sadar. But Osasuna failed to equalize in the second half and Madrid added a third in stoppage time, Vinicius Junior found Lucas Vazquez for an easy finish. David Alaba's opener had previously been canceled out by Osasuna's Ante Budimir before Marco Asensio restored Madrid's lead just before half-time. Carlo Ancelotti was unfazed by Benzema's mistakes from the point. "If there had been another penalty he would have taken it and he will take the next one too," said Ancelotti. Madrid are 17 points clear at the top of La Liga at Atletico Madrid, who missed a chance to break away in the race for the top four after suffering a goalless draw with Granada. Real Betis, beaten by Elche on Tuesday, are four points behind Atletico in fifth place. Ancelotti benched Toni Kroos and Vinicius, while Luka Modric has been left out of the squad altogether as Madrid's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City is less than a week away. Alaba went off in the second half but Ancelotti said the problem didn't seem serious. Alaba put Real Madrid ahead in the 13th minute and bundled the rebound after Benzema tapped the ball across, but the advantage was short-lived when Budimir knocked Chimy Avila's pass against the back post a minute later. Madrid restored their lead at the end of the half when Asensio played in from the right wing and continued his run into the box. Eduardo Camavinga chipped to the left of the box and while Dani Ceballos' try was saved, Asensio's run was rewarded with an easy finish. On the first try, Benzema smashed to the left but Herrera dived to save. The second time Herrera pointed to Benzema's right side, but Benzema chose the same side and Herrera guessed correctly again to escape.

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Spanish FA boss changes salary after leaked audio

MADRID (AP) - After being widely criticized across the country, the president of the Spanish Football Federation said on Thursday he would scrap salary bonus variables he earned when Barcelona and Real Madrid thrived. Luis Rubiales said one of the reasons behind the move was criticism from Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone, who said it seemed better for the federation to have Barcelona and Madrid at the helm. (Author: Gardener)

SpanishFILE - Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales listens to a reporter as he meets with Saudi General Sports Authority chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal during a news conference near the Spanish Super Cup venue in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. on Wednesday 14 February 18, 2019. After being widely criticized across Spain, the president of the Spanish Football Federation said on Thursday he would scrap salary variables he earned when Barcelona and Real Madrid thrived. MADRID (AP) - After being widely criticized across the country, the president of the Spanish Football Federation said on Thursday he would scrap salary bonus variables he earned when Barcelona and Real Madrid thrived. Luis Rubiales said one of the reasons behind the move was criticism from Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone, who said it seemed better for the federation to have Barcelona and Madrid at the helm. Rubiales and Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué have been in the spotlight in Spain after stolen audio was leaked to the media and a series of conversations between them about behind-the-scenes negotiations on various issues were uncovered. One of these concerned the hugely lucrative Spanish Super Cup deal that Pique's Kosmos group helped negotiate with Saudi Arabia, which was worth more to the Spanish FA when Madrid and Barcelona were both involved. Since Rubiales' salary included the variables, he earned more when the two powerhouses qualified for the competition. "I see social clamor about the variables in my salary," Rubiales told TV channel Telecinco. Rubiales has previously defended himself against wrongdoing, saying it's normal for any company to pay its officials more when it's successful. He said there was a €3,000 ($3,200) difference in his salary when Madrid and Barcelona played in the Super Cup. Rubiales had said he believed there was no conflict of interest - or reason to question referee bias - although he and the federation benefited from the participation of Madrid and Barcelona. Rubiales said Simeone's criticism made him "reconsider" some things. "I don't want Simeone or any other coach to think that something is wrong," he said. "It was all legal but when there's this social noise there's no reason to continue doing this. In the audio, released by El Confidencial newspaper this week, it was revealed that Piqué helped negotiate a €24 million ($26 million) contract to bring the federation's Super Cup to Saudi Arabia. Piqué is also heard asking Rubiales to speak to Olympic team coach Luis de la Fuente and set up a meeting between them so he can attend the tournament. Rubiales had given a press conference Wednesday and spoke again to a range of media outlets on Thursday to explain itself. The association said it was targeted by hackers who stole audio, emails, text messages and documents belonging to its top officials be involved.

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Ticket information for the semi-finals of the Champions League

Tickets for the second leg of Manchester City's Champions League semi-final game against Real Madrid go on sale to qualified fans on Friday 22 April at 9am. (Author: Gardener)

the Champions LeagueThe club has a quota of 1,808 tickets, with each ticket costing £59. The game will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday 4 May with kick-off scheduled for 21:00 local time. The name of the backer who bought the game card will be written on the face of the card. Once the name has been written on the ticket, it cannot be changed as this will invalidate the ticket. Fans are advised that on the night of the match, Real Madrid stewards will check that the name on the ticket matches that of the fan who bought the ticket. Therefore, a photo ID (passport) is required to validate the name of each supporter and allow access to the stadium. Supporters must provide their passport number upon purchase, which will be communicated to UEFA in order to fulfill their requirements. Fans must enter their passport number to purchase game tickets and will not be able to complete their transaction without them. All purchased tickets must be correctly attributed to the traveling supporter and you may not purchase a ticket on your account to give to another supporter. Additionally, no duplicate tickets will be issued, so it's important to keep your ticket safe at all times. Tickets for this game can be picked up at Etihad Stadium. Information about your ticket collection with further details will be sent to you directly. Please note: fans who are unable to pick up at Etihad Stadium will have the option of picking up in Madrid on the day of the match. Our official travel partner, Sportsworld, is offering qualifying fans a one-day travel package to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium match on Wednesday 4th May. Priced at £390, the package includes: Fans should note that the package does not include the cost of a matchday ticket. In the meantime, follow this link for more information and to purchase the one-day travel package. Below are the different entry requirements for fans traveling to Spain: * Fans must provide proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain, or provide proof of having recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months . * There are different entry requirements for children between the ages of 12 and 17 and children under the age of 12. * For more information on Spain's entry requirements, see Gov.uk. Please note: Different entry requirements apply for children between the ages of 12 and 17 and children under the age of 12. For more information on these age-specific requirements, see this link. Supporters are advised to check Gov.uk before traveling to Spain as entry requirements are subject to change. Subject to availability, tickets may be purchased online at tickets.mancity.com or by calling 0161 444 1894 (Option 1)** by fans who meet the criteria below. * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with at least 19,000 Ticket Points – Friday 22 April 17:00. * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with at least 19,000 Ticket Points – Friday 22 April 17:00. * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with at least 19,000 Ticket Points – Friday 22 April 17:00. * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with at least 19,000 Ticket Points – Friday 22 April 17:00. * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with at least 19,000 Ticket Points – Friday 22 April 17:00. * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with 17,000 or more ticket points – Saturday 23 April 11:00 . * Cityzens with a Platinum, Gold or 93:20 2021/22 season ticket registered to the 2021/22 UEFA Competitions Cup program with 17,000 or more ticket points – Saturday 23 April 11:00 . Ticket points are no longer awarded for away games. The club has been allocated 4 wheelchair spaces and a limited number of tickets for disabled fans. * Wheelchair users - simply log into your online account, select the 'wheelchair section' and you will be assigned the best available position. When purchasing online select the number as one ticket as this will the personal assistant is also assigned to the shopping cart. Within the shopping cart you can then change the owner of the second ticket to your personal assistant. If you have a specific seating requirement where you need to discuss the seats the opposing club may have allocated for easy access, please contact Access on +44 (0)161 444 1894 (Option 1, Option 2). -Team to discuss your requirements in more detail. ** Tickets purchased over the phone have a booking fee of £2.50 per ticket. Supporters purchasing online must have a valid email address already registered with the club and a valid supporter number before logging into their account online. If a backer has forgotten their password, they have the option to request a new password to be sent to their registered email address. You can also view your Ticket Points online by logging in here and clicking "My Account". When visiting the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, please respect the stewards and staff of the club and we ask that you: * Stay in the seat you have purchased. * Always keep your ticket with you. All tickets are sold subject to availability and are subject to Manchester City Football Club Limited's 2021-22 Away Terms of Sale and the opposing team's applicable pitch rules. It is important to note that as per our refund policy, tickets cannot be returned within seven days of the game. We are available seven days a week between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

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The judge gives UEFA the green light to sanction Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus

The judge of the 17th Commercial Court of Madrid, Sofia Gil Garcia, has upheld UEFA's appeal against the injunction in the Super League case issued in April 2021 and ha (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridThe judge of the 17th Commercial Court of Madrid, Sofia Gil Garcia, has upheld UEFA's appeal against the injunction in the Super League case issued in April 2021 and has allowed the injunction to be lifted, according to the Madrid Supreme Court (TSJM). The judge ruled after the April 1 hearing with the various parties to decide whether to maintain the precautionary measure, forcing UEFA to suspend its disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, who remain involved in the Super League project involved . "There is not the slightest indication that the threat and imposition of sanctions against the three remaining clubs will result in the necessary impossibility of carrying out the financially independent project," says the court ruling, "these would thwart". the implementation of the project defended by the plaintiffs – A22 Sports Management S. During the development of the project, the parties involved - including the financial institutions - were fully aware of the possible consequences, which did not prevent the acceptance of funding commitments that were not accepted or accepted that they will be thwarted by the possible sanctions," he adds. The judge considers the system of prior approval of alternative competitions by UEFA and FIFA to be "reasonable and justified" and "in the interest of preserving equal opportunities for those in the sports industry clubs operating" as the economic capacity of clubs is "very unequal" and this affects the real possibilities for developing a competition, be it financed by the individual clubs or, as in this case, by third parties. It adds that "sporting merit and Equal opportunities must be guaranteed, what dur ch could undermine the apparent economic inequalities between the participants". “The enormous economic interests that football games have for clubs, players and managers pose an obvious risk to upholding and protecting the fundamental principles of any sport; it is necessary to uphold them to prevent the economic interests mentioned above from dominating all of them,” she says. In view of this, the judge notes that "a control mechanism for the competitions that may be organized is justified, whether by prior authorization by the governing bodies or by other systems" so that "as a precautionary measure it cannot be assumed that the system of prior approval from UEFA, which was not followed in the present case, is unacceptable." The decision denies that UEFA and FIFA abused their powers by combining commercial and regulatory functions, as the plaintiffs allege, and by organizing competitions. "It cannot be presumed, as a precaution, that the defendants have unjustified and arbitrary cover to prevent the entry of new competitors into the single football market, which is by its purpose and effect a restriction of competition." Among their arguments, UEFA's opposition to to maintain the temporary injunctions, the judge considers "the need for control, administration and organization institutions, which must guarantee a system that corresponds to the sporting principles, to be justified". “It cannot be concluded that the existing system and control would produce anti-competitive effects as alleged without the plaintiffs attempting to act in accordance with established channel requirements or compliance with conditions as an obstacle to free competition the decision, which can be appealed to the Madrid Provincial Court, was published 20 days after the hearing on the appeal against the injunctions issued by the court itself a year ago, in which UEFA expressed its objection, the co-defendants LaLiga, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed allegations and plaintiffs ESLC and A22 requested that the restraining orders be upheld.Among the precautionary measures taken by former chief of the court Manuel Ruiz de Lara, UEFA and the FIFA instructed during the main proceedings, no action to take any action that would directly or indirectly impede or impede the development of the Super League and prohibited the threat or adoption of any disciplinary or sanctions measure. Last July, Ruiz de Lara ordered UEFA to drop disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus and to drop "veiled sanctions" against the other nine clubs that dropped out of the project - Arsenal, AC Milan, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. The pretrial hearing will be held on June 14, the judge said on April 12, at which she declared FIFA in contempt of court for failing to appear as a co-defendant within the time limit to answer the lawsuit. The Super League organizers will appeal the decision of the 17th Commercial Court of Madrid to the Provincial Court of Madrid. Super League sources confirmed to EFE that they will appeal to the appropriate body, in this case the Provincial Court of Madrid, Judge Sofia Gil Garcia's decision made known on Thursday. Aleksander Ceferin has repeatedly threatened to ban teams playing in the European Super League from UEFA competitions.

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Real Madrid are closing in on the LaLiga title despite two penalties missed by Karim Benzema

Carlo Ancelotti's side won 3-1 despite Karim Benzema missing two penalties. (Author: Gardener)

Karim BenzemaReal Madrid moved closer to the LaLiga title after beating Osasuna 3-1, despite Karim Benzema missing two penalties. First-half goals from David Alaba and Marco Asensio on either side of Ante Budimir's equalizer put Real Madrid on course, with Lucas Vasquez sealing the win with a late third. The win extends their lead at the top of the table to 17 points over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who were only able to draw 0-0 against 18th-placed Granada. That means only a major collapse will stop Carlo Ancelotti's side from winning their 35th league title. The French striker, a hero of his Champions League campaign this season, became the first Real Madrid player to miss two penalties in a La Liga game. Benzema saw penalties from Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera in the 52nd minute and then seven minutes later, but they didn't prove costly. The Paris St Germain champagne remains firmly on hold as they are a point away from another Ligue 1 title with a 3-0 win over Angers. Goals from Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos meant three points at Angers were never in question, but with second-placed Marseille falling to Nantes at home, the title went back to Paris. However, Marseille went from a 1-2 deficit to a 3-2 win, delaying the inevitable until – in all likelihood – until the weekend. Andrei Girotto and Marcus Coco scored for Nantes on either side of Dimitri Payet's penalty for Marseille to put the visitors under control. Rennes' hopes of usurping Marseille for automatic Champions League qualification were met with a 2-1 defeat in Strasbourg, who stayed fourth ahead of Monaco on goal difference. Monaco won the Riviera derby 1-0 against Nice and remain firmly in the running for a possible qualification for the Champions League. It's a fascinating race as Rennes, Strasbourg and Monaco are tied on 56 points, with Nice two points behind. Metz moved closer to relegation when they were beaten 1-0 at Lorient, leaving them seven points adrift of relegation play-off position. Simone Verdi's goal in the third minute of added time saw them close in hand to 17th-placed Cagliari with a game in hand.

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Real Madrid move closer to title with win in Pamplona; Granada holds Atlético to a draw

Real Madrid took another step towards winning the LaLiga title this season with a 3-1 away win over Osasuna on Wednesday night. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridMadrid: Real Madrid took another step towards winning the LaLiga title this season with a 3-1 away win against Osasuna on Wednesday night. Also read - Champions League: Karim Benzema hat-trick helps Real Madrid beat Chelsea 3-1 The game will probably be remembered because Osasuna keeper Sergio Herrera saved two penalties from Karim Benzema, but it wasn't enough to save Real Madrid, who opened the lead, saved thanks to David Alaba in the 12th minute, when he scored from close range. Ante Budimir equalized a minute later after good work from Chimmy Avila, but Marcos Asensio restored Madrid's lead just before half-time after Herrera saved Dani Ceballos' shot. Also read - Real Madrid: Coach Carlo Ancelotti tests positive for Covid-19, could miss Champions League quarter-finals against Chelsea Madrid were awarded two penalties in the second half after fouls on Rodrygo but Herrera saved both, although Lucas Vazquez assured the three Scores deep in stoppage time, Xinhua reports. Atletico Madrid moved up to second place after beating Granada 0-0 at home, who had Aitor Karanka in charge for the first time. Atletico had many chances but only managed one shot on goal in the whole game. Both Barca and Sevilla are set to overtake Atletico in their respective games on Thursday with a draw while a point isn't enough to see Granada out of the last three. Getafe took a big step towards another season in the top flight with a 2-0 away win at Celta Vigo thanks to two goals from Borja Mayoral, who struck in the 23rd and 51st minutes of the game. Finally, Mallorca clinched an important 2-1 home win over Alaves, who remain bottom of the table, six points clear. Barcelona play Real Sociedad later on Thursday, while Cadiz meet Athletic Club Bilbao at home and Levante meet Sevilla.

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Real Madrid win in Osasuna despite Benzema's missed penalty

Real Madrid stayed on course for the Spanish LaLiga title with a 3-1 win over Osasuna, despite Karim Benzema missing two penalties in seven minutes... (Author: Gardener)

OsasunaReal Madrid stayed on course for the Spanish LaLiga title with a 3-1 win over Osasuna, despite Karim Benzema missing two penalties in seven minutes on Wednesday. Benzema wanted his 45th goal of the season but was thwarted twice by Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera, who dived right both times and saved both times in Madrid's 2-1 lead at El Sadar. But Osasuna failed to equalize in the second half and Madrid added a third in stoppage time, Vinicius Junior found Lucas Vazquez for an easy finish. David Alaba's opening goal had previously been canceled out by Osasuna's Ante Budimir before Marco Asensio restored Madrid's lead just before half-time. Carlo Ancelotti was unperturbed by Benzema's penalties. "If there had been another penalty he would have taken it and he will take the next one too," said Ancelotti. Madrid are 17 points ahead of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, who missed a chance to break away in the race for the top four after conceding a goalless draw with Granada. Real Betis, who were beaten by Elche on Tuesday, are four points behind Atletico in fifth place. Ancelotti benched Toni Kroos and Vinicius, while Luka Modric has been left out of the squad altogether as Madrid's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City is less than a week away. Alaba went off in the second half but Ancelotti said the problem didn't seem serious. Alaba put Real Madrid ahead in the 13th minute and bundled the rebound after Benzema tapped the ball across, but the advantage was short-lived when Budimir knocked Chimy Avila's pass against the back post a minute later. Madrid restored their lead at the end of the half when Asensio played in from the right wing and continued his run into the box. Eduardo Camavinga then chipped to the left of the box and while Dani Ceballos' try was saved, Asensio's run was rewarded with an easy finish. On the first try, Benzema smashed to the left but Herrera dived to save. The second time Herrera pointed to Benzema's right side but Benzema chose the same side and Herrera guessed correctly again to escape. Vinicius came off the bench and should have added a third in stoppage time, but with the ball wide before pulling away again, this time laying Vazquez for the corner. Atletico Madrid were previously frustrated by a goalless draw against Granada. Without Joao Felix, who will be out through injury for the remainder of the season, the reigning La Liga champions lacked the boost needed to beat a determined Granada side playing their first game under new coach Aitor Karanka.

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Real Madrid are closing in on the LaLiga title despite two penalties missed by Karim Benzema

Carlo Ancelotti's side won 3-1 despite Karim Benzema missing two penalties. (Author: Gardener)

Karim BenzemaReal Madrid moved closer to the LaLiga title after beating Osasuna 3-1, despite Karim Benzema missing two penalties. First-half goals from David Alaba and Marco Asensio on either side of Ante Budimir's equalizer put Real Madrid on course, with Lucas Vasquez sealing the win with a late third. The win extends their lead at the top of the table to 17 points over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who were only able to draw 0-0 against 18th-placed Granada. That means only a major collapse will stop Carlo Ancelotti's side from winning their 35th league title. The French striker, a hero of his Champions League campaign this season, became the first Real Madrid player to miss two penalties in a La Liga game. Benzema saw penalties from Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera in the 52nd minute and then seven minutes later, but they didn't prove costly. The Paris St Germain champagne remains firmly on hold as they are a point away from another Ligue 1 title with a 3-0 win over Angers. Goals from Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos meant three points at Angers were never in question, but with second-placed Marseille falling to Nantes at home, the title went back to Paris. However, Marseille went from a 1-2 deficit to a 3-2 win, delaying the inevitable until – in all likelihood – until the weekend. Andrei Girotto and Marcus Coco scored for Nantes on either side of Dimitri Payet's penalty for Marseille to put the visitors under control. Rennes' hopes of usurping Marseille for automatic Champions League qualification were met with a 2-1 defeat in Strasbourg, who stayed fourth ahead of Monaco on goal difference. Monaco won the Riviera derby 1-0 against Nice and remain firmly in the running for a possible qualification for the Champions League. It's a fascinating race as Rennes, Strasbourg and Monaco are tied on 56 points, with Nice two points behind. Metz moved closer to relegation when they were beaten 1-0 at Lorient, leaving them seven points adrift of relegation play-off position. Simone Verdi's goal in the third minute of added time saw them close in hand to 17th-placed Cagliari with a game in hand.

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