European roundup: Karim Benzema double fires Real Madrid to the top
A first-half double from Karim Benzema helped Real Madrid cruise to a 3-0 victory away to Cádiz that moved them top of La Liga.
The Frenchman’s brace came either side of a maiden senior league goal for defender Álvaro Odriozola , as Real moved onto 70 points, level with city rivals Atlético Madrid, who have a game in hand.
Benzema netted his first from the penalty spot on the half hour, before teeing up Odriozola three minutes later. He then completed his double five minutes before the break to seal the points for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
A second-half strike from Youssef En-Nesyri gave Sevilla a 1-0 win away at Levante that moved them to within three points of the top.
The visitors took the lead eight minutes after the restart when En-Nesyri was sent through on goal by Suso. The Moroccan forward rounded Dani Cardenas in the Levante goal before finishing into an empty net.
Lucas Ocampos was denied late on, but Sevilla held on for victory, making it six wins from their last seven La Liga games to blow the title race wide open.
Milan’s slim Serie A title hopes faded further as they slumped to a 2-1 home defeat by Sassuolo.
Without injured top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan struggled to break down the visitors early on, butHakan Calhanoglu gave them the lead on the half-hour mark. Two goals in seven second-half minutes, however, turned the match on its head, both from substitute Giacomo Raspadori, as he earned Sassuolo a surprise win.
Ivan Perisic’s equaliser earned Internazionale a 1-1 draw at Spezia to move Antonio Conte’s side one step closer to the Serie A title. A bad error from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic had allowed Spezia to sneak into a 12th-minute lead through Diego Farias.
Inter piled men forward and the pressure told as Perisic arrived at the far post to level six minutes before the break.
Juventus came from behind to beat Parma 3-1and climb back into third inSerie A.
Gaston Brugman fired a low free-kick into the net in the 25th minute to give the visitors a shock lead. Yet a double from full-back Alex Sandro turned the match on its head either side of half-time, with another defender – Matthijs de Ligt – heading a third.
Juve saw out the win with ease to move onto 65 points from 32 matches, one ahead of Atalanta, who play Roma on Thursday.
In Germany, Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro scored a goal apiece to beat visitors Union Berlin 2-0and maintain their outside chances of securing a spot in next season’s Champions League.
The hosts were awarded a controversial penalty after Reus went down in the box and although Erling Haaland’s effort was saved, Reus stabbed home the rebound in the 27th minute. Guerreiro finished a quick break to seal the three points for his team.
Dortmund moved to 52 points, four behind fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt VfL Wolfsburg, who face Dortmund on Saturday, tightened their hold on third place with a 3-1 win at VfB Stuttgart that lifted the Wolves to 57 points, one ahead of Eintracht and five clear of Dortmund.
Striker Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain eased into the French Cup semi-finals with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Angers and Monaco joined them with a 2-0 win over 10-man Lyon. Icardi’s early strike for PSG was followed by an own goal from Angers defender Vincent Manceau and a simple headed third from Neymar in the second half, before the Argentinian striker added two more.