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ronaldo-benzema-jonesAnother weekend and another twist in the title race as Real Madrid missed the chance to move four points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after being held to a 1-1 draw by Villarreal.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s early second-half penalty looked to have Madrid on course for a fourth consecutive win, but Gerard Moreno’s thunderous equaliser 26 minutes from time earned the visitors a deserved point.

Champions Atletico Madrid failed to gain any ground on the leaders as they battled to a 0-0 draw at Sevilla. Fourth-placed Valencia are now just a point adrift of Atletico after they were comfortable 2-0 winners over David Moyes’s Real Sociedad thanks to a double from Pablo Piatti.

suarez-neymar-messiBarcelona turned up the heat on Spanish La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 3-1 win at Granada. Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring after 25 minutes and Luis Suarez struck at the start of the second period, grabbing his third goal in four days.

Fran Rico pulled one back for the hosts from the penalty spot, but Suarez then set up Lionel Messi to seal the victory. The win moved second-placed Barça a point behind Madrid, who host Villarreal on Sunday.

sevilla-europa-leagueSevilla have been paired with Spanish La Liga rivals Villarreal while another highlight of the draw was an all-Italian clash between Fiorentina and Roma. Country protection does not apply at this stage of the competition but Russian and Ukrainian teams were kept apart due to the ongoing instability in the region.

An all-Serie A clash may not be the most obvious way of calming the waters for Roma but it is Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella who will be left to rue the luck of the balls, having stated beforehand that he hoped to avoid domestic opposition after being knocked out by Juventus last season. Montella told uefa.com:

“Certainly the further you go, the more exciting the games get. Last season we were eliminated after an Italian ‘derby’ so let’s hope we can avoid another Italian team this time around.”

simeoneAtletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said that he was relieved Bayer Leverkusen only scored one goal in their UEFA Champions League defeat on Wednesday in Germany.

Last season’s finalists were beaten 1-0 in the opening leg after Hakan Calhanoglu scored for the Bundesliga outfit the 57th minute and the Spanish champions were on the back foot for the last 14 minutes of the game following the sending-off of Tiago Mendes. Leverkusen dominated the encounter but could not add to their advantage.

We take a closer look at Barcelona and Lionel’s performances Champions League against Manchester City on Tuesday night and compare them with their league averages from the 2014/15 La Liga season.

Ahead of the Champions League tie between Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid, we compare the performances of Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid from the 2014/15 Champions League season

Manchester City v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Second Round First LegLuis Suarez struck twice on his return to England as Barcelona taught Manchester City another UEFA Champions League lesson with a 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.

But after being swept aside by a masterful Barça display in the first half, City at least gave themselves hope for the second leg of the last-16 tie as Sergio Aguero produced a brilliant reply. City were left hanging on in the latter stages, however, after Gael Clichy was sent off for a second bookable offence and it needed an injury-time penalty save from Joe Hart to prevent further damage.

Ahead of the Champions League clash between Manchester City and Barcelona, we analyse the key talking points coming into this fixture, including Yaya Touré’s absence, the two team’s recent form and Lionel Messi’s performances in 2015

carlo-ancelotti-real-madridReal Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti believes the Spanish title race will not be decided until the final day of the season. Los Merengues won 2-0 at Elche on Sunday to move four points clear at the top of La Liga after nearest rivals Barcelona lost 1-0 at home to Malaga. Defending champions Atletico Madrid are third, just three points adrift of Barça.

“It was an important match given what happened with Barcelona,” Ancelotti told his club’s official website. “It has enabled us to pull further away from Barça.

UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour 2008Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City are in far better form to take on Barcelona in this season’s UEFA Champions League than they were when they lost to the same opponents in the competition 12 months ago. The Catalan club visit the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday for the first leg of the last 16 tie, a repeat of last season’s two-legged meeting from which Barça emerged as 4-1 aggregrate winners and City had players sent off in each game.

But, after a 5-0 victory over Newcastle United hauled City to within five points of English Premier League leaders Chelsea, Pellegrini claimed that his side will be far tougher opponents in 2015.