Arda Guler scored in the first half to earn a second-string Real Madrid side a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad on Friday, moving the LaLiga leaders a step closer to a record-extending 36th Spanish title.

With five games remaining, Madrid climbed to 84 points and extended their lead to 14 points over second-placed Barcelona, who have a game in hand and host Valencia on Monday.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti rested several key players ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, but his side did just enough to secure the three points.

The winner came from 19-year-old Turkish midfielder Guler, making his first start for Madrid after signing from Fenerbahce, when he turned home Dani Carvajal's cross in the 29th minute.

England cannot rely on Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham alone to win them the Euro 2024 crown, according to France great Marcel Desailly.

Bellingham has enjoyed a sensational debut campaign at Madrid that has seen him score 21 goals in all competitions and assist eight more.

Despite still being aged just 20, the youngster will already have the weight of a nation on his shoulders in the European Championship finals.

Desailly is a big fan of Bellingham, but he suggests Gareth Southgate may have to consider tweaking formation if England are to succeed.

"Too much quality can kill the quality," Desailly told Stats Perform. "This is your problem, you see? 

"All the players have to be able to perform at the same time and help each other. The Dutch have had this kind of problem in the past.

"The Dutch always have high levels of expertise, but every time it was difficult for them to all unite together at the same time and perform.

"The talent is there for England, even though Fabio Capello has said their defence is a bit weak, which I agree with.

"But too much quality kills the quality. Let's see how the coach is able to adjust the side and make certain choices.

"He may have to remove some of the players into a different tactical system to protect the team for the performances needed."

Bellingham's latest goal came in added time to earn Real Madrid a 3-2 win over Barcelona in a thrilling Clasico clash last weekend.

He is already being mentioned as a frontrunner to win this year's Ballon d'Or, which could depend on how England perform in the Euros.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund ace is also being likened to one of the all-time greats in Zinedine Zidane, but Desailly says there is a long way to go.

"In the game against Barcelona, he wasn't outstanding yet he was still key for his team," the World Cup 98 and Euro 2000 winner said.

"Carlo Ancelotti took Vinicius Junior off because he knew what Bellingham could give him in that position. 

"He also has the legs to defend and score the killer goal, or use his cleverness for the collective of the team.

"He's a good player. But trying to compare him to Zidane? It is difficult for us to accept he could be at that level.

"There are differences between them, but the potential of the talents is quite similar."

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to return for the final stretch of the season after making a full recovery from two knee injuries, Carlo Ancelotti said.

Madrid boss Ancelotti said he will be cautious with Courtois, who has not played this season after sustaining an ACL tear in August and a torn meniscus in March.

Stand-in Andriy Lunin will start Friday's LaLiga match at Real Sociedad and Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg at Bayern Munich.

However, Courtois should be back next week.

"I have to think carefully about the lineup moving forward. There has been a lot of wear and tear. Courtois is fine, he will be available next week and could play against Cadiz," Ancelotti said in a press conference on Thursday.

Courtois's injury was expected to be a serious blow for Madrid's hopes this season, but Ukrainian Lunin has been an able stand-in, establishing himself as first choice ahead of former Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Belgian's absence.

Lunin was Madrid's penalty hero as they beat Manchester City to reach the Champions League semi-finals, making two saves in their 4-3 shootout win after an inspired performance as they drew their quarter-final second leg 1-1.

The 31-year-old Courtois, however, is widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world and is likely to regain his starting spot with a LaLiga-Champions League double up for grabs.

He was named Player-of-the-Match in the 2022 Champions League final after producing a memorable performance, making nine saves to deny Liverpool as Madrid clinched a record-extending 14th European title with a 1-0 win in Paris.

Madrid are brimming with confidence following their 3-2 comeback win over bitter rivals Barcelona on Sunday.

The LaLiga leaders' pursuit of a record-extending 36th Spanish title gathered momentum as they moved 11 points clear of second-placed Barca with six games left.

Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo are doubts for Friday's game due to illness and Ferland Mendy is still recovering from a leg injury, but Ancelotti said his side will go all-out as they look to edge closer to the league title.

"With all the enthusiasm in the world, the objective is very clear, there are seven points left for us to win the league. We have to get them as soon as possible," Ancelotti said.

"Until the mathematics don't guarantee us the title, we have to fight. The momentum is very good, it's important that we continue to compete and get the most out of it. Win as much as possible. Winning is the best thing to keep momentum going, that's why we have to win tomorrow."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has threatened legal action and could demand a replay after his side were denied a goal against Real Madrid at the weekend.

Lamine Yamal thought he had scored in the 28th minute of Sunday’s 3-2 LaLiga loss at the Bernabeu but, after a lengthy VAR check, it was ruled the ball had not cross the line.

The Spanish competition does not use goalline technology.

Laporta has requested footage and audio of the decision-making over this “phantom goal” incident from the Spanish Football Federation and will then consider further action.

He said in a statement on the club’s website, fcbarcelona.com: “If, once this documentation has been analysed, the club understands that an error was made in the revision of the incident, we will take all available measures to reverse the situation, without discounting, obviously, any necessary legal action.

“If it is confirmed that it was a legal goal, we will move ahead and we do not discount requesting that the game be replayed, just as has happened in another game in Europe due to a VAR error.”

Laporta was referring to a decision to replay a Belgian Pro League between Anderlecht and Genk because of a VAR error earlier this season.

Real went on to win the match 3-2 with a stoppage-time winner from Jude Bellingham and are now 11 points clear of Barca at the top of the table.

Real Madrid took a giant leap towards the LaLiga title after Jude Bellingham’s stoppage-time goal secured a 3-2 win against arch-rivals Barcelona.

Bellingham fired home at the far post in the first minute of added time after Vinicius Junior’s first-half penalty and Lucas Vazquez had cancelled out goals from Barca pair Andreas Christensen and Fermin Lopez in El Clasico.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side moved 11 points clear of Barca at the top of the table with six games remaining with victory at the Bernabeu, where the visitors needed to win to preserve their title aspirations.

Atletico Madrid’s top-four hopes were dented as they followed up their midweek Champions League exit to Borussia Dortmund with a shock 2-0 defeat at Alaves, with Carlos Benavidez and Luis Rioja on target for the hosts.

Real Sociedad remain in the final European qualification place after being held 1-1 at Getafe, for whom Mason Greenwood assisted Oscar Rodriguez’s first-half equaliser after Ander Barrenetxea had given the visitors the lead.

In the Bundesliga, Josip Stanisic’s stoppage-time equaliser clinched champions Bayer Leverkusen a 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund and extended his side’s unbeaten run in all competitions this season to 45 matches.

Leverkusen, crowned German title winners for the first time last week, trailed to Niclas Fullkrug’s late effort at Signal Iduna Park before Croatia defender Stanisic headed them level in the seventh minute of added time.

Third-placed Stuttgart’s 11-game unbeaten league run was halted in a 2-1 defeat at mid-table Werder Bremen.

In Serie A, Atalanta climbed back up to sixth place with a 2-1 win at Monza, with Charles De Ketelaere and El Bilal Toure on target before Daniel Maldini’s late consolation for the hosts.

Paris St Germain moved 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after a convincing 4-1 home win against Lyon, in which Goncalo Ramos fired a double with all five goals scored before the interval.

Third-placed Brest slipped to back-to-back defeats, with their bid for a top-three finish faltering after a 2-0 home defeat to Monaco.

Denis Zakaria and Takumi Minamino scored either side of half-time for Monaco, who had Eliesse Ben Seghir and Wilfried Singo sent off in added time, both for violent conduct.

Lille maintained their Champions League challenge, bouncing back from their Europa Conference League exit at the hands of Aston Villa by beating Strasbourg 1-0 at home.

Jonathan David struck early in the first half to lift Lille one point behind Brest with a game in hand.

Carlo Ancelotti has urged Real Madrid not to pass up the chance to edge closer to the LaLiga title with an El Clasico victory over arch-rivals Barcelona.

The sides meet at the Bernabeu on Sunday with leaders Madrid eight points clear of second-placed Barca and acutely aware of just how significant a win could be with just seven games of the season remaining.

Ancelotti told a press conference: “If we manage to win it, we’ll be within touching distance of LaLiga.

“We’re playing against highly competitive opposition who have played brilliantly in recent games. It will be a hard-fought and evenly-matched Clasico, as they always are.

“It’s a great opportunity to move closer to the LaLiga title, but we know how difficult it will be because Barcelona are still very much in it.”

Ancelotti’s men are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions culminating in Wednesday night’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at Manchester City which booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals.

They have lost only once in the league all season – in September – and even the hugely-experienced Italian is excited at the prospect of what lies ahead.

He said: “We’re doing a fantastic job. The cake is ready, out of the oven and all we have to do now is ice it this month. It’s a decisive month and we’re heading into it in a great position.”

Ancelotti has a near full complement of players from which to pick from with only defender David Alaba currently not on the training pitch.

Barca will run out in Madrid still licking their wounds after Tuesday night’s Champions League exit at the hands of Paris St Germain, and knowing they will have to do something special to reel in the leaders.

Head coach Xavi told a press conference: “For us, it is the most important game of the season. We have to win and put pressure on the leaders. We are going to try to compete and win at the Bernabeu.

“We will find a strong Madrid, and even more so after eliminating the best team in the world, (Manchester) City. Euphoria will be through the roof and they are a very strong rival.

“Today we trained well; yesterday we were hungover from the Champions League. The team has all the enthusiasm in the world to fight for this league.”

Xavi has immense respect for Madrid’s efforts to date, but knows his side are not far behind where it was at the same stage last season before going on to win the title.

He said: “We have all the respect in the world for Madrid and their numbers are extraordinary – ours too because we have only four points fewer than last season.”

Harry Kane is ready to go into battle against Jude Bellingham for a spot in the Champions League final before the pair aim to lead England to Euro 2024 glory.

England captain Kane moved to Bayern Munich from Tottenham last year while Bellingham left Borussia Dortmund to join Real Madrid.

Both helped their respective clubs to Champions League quarter-final wins over Premier League sides on Wednesday night as Bayern beat Arsenal and Real saw off Manchester City on penalties. Bellingham scored in that shoot-out while Kane netted a first-leg spot-kick at the Emirates Stadium.

Those wins tee up a mouth-watering semi-final clash between two clubs who have won 20 European Cups between them.

Despite Arsenal and City being eliminated, meaning the first semi-final line-up since 2020 with no Premier League clubs, Kane believes there will still be plenty of English interest in how he and Bellingham fare.

“Jude has had a fantastic season, he’s a top player,” he said.

“I’m really happy for him but it will be another war against his team – but that’s the experiences that we both went abroad to try to achieve, to play in these big nights in the Champions League, to play in these big semi-finals.

“It will be one to enjoy and I’m sure there will be a lot of English fans watching both of us. We have to focus on ourselves. Of course, I’ll say hello but once we’re on the pitch, it’s business.”

Kane is still yet to win a major trophy in his career and also has the added incentive of the Champions League final taking place at Wembley on June 1, with either Dortmund or Paris St Germain awaiting the winner of Real and Bayern.

“For both of us, for sure,” Kane replied when asked if Wembley is the dream for him and Bellingham.

“With Wembley being our national stadium, it’s extra motivation there for us but there are two games ahead of us before that, which are going to be really tough so we have to focus on that.

“Real Madrid are a big club with amazing history in the Champions League so it’s going to be a really difficult game for us.

“But that’s what the semi-finals of the Champions League are all about, the biggest teams, so we enjoy this tonight and then prepare for that game in a couple of weeks.”

Rodri claims he “saw only one team” trying to win as he bemoaned Real Madrid’s tactics following Manchester City’s heartbreaking Champions League quarter-final loss.

City’s European title defence ended in agonising fashion at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday as the Spanish giants prevailed 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw on the night meant the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

It was a clash the holders completely dominated, racking up 33 attempts on goal to the visitors’ eight, but Real defended deep to frustrate them and ultimately ended their hopes of a second successive treble.

City midfielder Rodri said: “To be honest, I saw only one team. In terms of defending, they defended (well). They knew how to suffer and we know how tough Real Madrid are.

“But in my opinion we should go through with that amount of chances but this is the trick of this competition. They know how to play it. We congratulate them.

“We gave everything, there is nothing to regret. This is football sometimes. This shows how difficult it is to win it, as we did last season. It was very frustrating and sometimes it is difficult to explain.”

City’s exit from the competition they won with a Rodri goal in Istanbul last year, coupled with Arsenal’s loss to Bayern Munich, means there are no English semi-finalists for the first time since 2020.

City had to chase the tie after Rodrgyo pounced to put Real ahead after 12 minutes.

They created a plethora of chances in a storming response, with Erling Haaland going the closest in the first half when he headed against the bar.

Further opportunities came and went after the break and it was not until the 76th minute that Kevin De Bruyne finally broke through to net a deserved equaliser.

But De Bruyne spurned a good chance to win it when he fired over soon after and, with extra-time failing to separate the sides, it came down to spot-kicks.

Ederson saved from Luka Modric but Bernardo Silva’s attempted Panenka was too easy for Andriy Lunin, who also denied Mateo Kovavic as Real went through.

The Premier League leaders now have little time to pick themselves up before heading to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea on Saturday.

Rodri said: “We will have to digest the loss but we will have to wake up, stand up. We still have two more competitions to play for.

“We need the mentality (to be) positive, to find any ambition that right now is difficult to find. Tomorrow we will find it and go against Chelsea, try to be in another final and fight for the Premier League.”

City will need to assess key pair Haaland and De Bruyne who, along with Manuel Akanji, were substituted before the penalty shoot-out.

Haaland was removed at the end of the regulation 90 minutes with the influential De Bruyne leaving the action in the second period of extra-time.

Manager Pep Guardiola said: “Erling and Kevin asked me to go out – they could not continue, like Manu. The game we were playing, they were amazing, but they could not continue.”

Pep Guardiola insisted there were no regrets after Manchester City’s bid to retain their Champions League crown ended in a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid.

The holders were beaten 4-3 on spot-kicks by the Spanish giants after their quarter-final tie ended 4-4 on aggregate – 1-1 on the night – despite a dominant display from Guardiola’s side in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

City fell behind early to a Rodrygo goal but created a host of chances as they sought to regain control of the tie but Kevin De Bruyne’s 76th-minute equaliser was their only reward.

City manager Guardiola said: “I would have preferred to win but congratulations to Real Madrid, they defended so deep with incredible solidarity and we did everything.

“I don’t have any regrets about what we have done. Always we try to create more chances and concede less, because we believe that helps you to win and we did everything.

“We played exceptionally in all departments and unfortunately we could not win.”

Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic both missed in the shoot-out, with the former’s effort proving a particularly comfortable save for Andriy Lunin.

Guardiola refused to blame the Portuguese for his failure to register.

He said: “Bernardo asked to take it, he’s a reliable player and decided to shoot in that way. What a game he had played. It happens.”

Guardiola also had no complaints about Real’s tactics, with the Spanish side forced to sit back and defend deep for much of the game.

“I don’t judge,” he said. “I’m not here to do this. It’s football. In this competition, that’s the way football happens.”

City’s loss also ended their hopes of winning a second successive treble and they must now pick themselves up for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley.

Guardiola said: “Now we will rest and on Friday we travel to London to play the game.

“We will see how people will react. Of course the recovery is easier when winning, rather than losing, but it is the semi-final of the FA Cup and we will try to compete as much as possible.”

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted the strength of City had forced them to soak up pressure and look to take the tie on penalties.

The veteran Italian said: “We defended really, really well. This was about survival. Madrid is a club based on always fighting to stay in situations where there seems to be no way out – but we always find a way.

“By the time the penalty shoot-out came, we were totally convinced we’d go through.

“This is about the only way you can come to City and win. You work, sacrifice and win however you can.”

Manchester City’s dreams of retaining the Champions League were shattered after a dramatic penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid.

Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic both missed from the spot as City were beaten 4-3 on penalties after their pulsating quarter-final tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.

Rodrygo had given Real an early lead in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium but City otherwise dominated and, after creating a host of chances, finally made it 1-1 on the night through Kevin De Bruyne in the 76th minute.

De Bruyne spurned a good chance to win the tie in normal time and Erling Haaland had earlier hit the crossbar but it was the competition’s record 14-time winners who ultimately prevailed.

It was harsh on City, who had immediately set out their stall to dominate possession.

Despite their control, however, the hosts looked vulnerable to the counter-attack and were caught out after 12 minutes.

Jude Bellingham brilliantly controlled a high ball with the outside of his foot and found Federico Valverde, who in turn fed Vinicius Junior in the box.

Vinicius pulled back for Rodrgyo and, although Ederson did well to beat out his powerful first-time shot, he could do nothing to deny his fellow Brazilian on the rebound.

City stepped up the tempo in response and created a host of chances.

Haaland sent a header against the bar and Silva missed the rebound before De Bruyne forced Andriy Lunin to save from 25 yards.

Jack Grealish twice went close with two efforts deflected wide and De Bruyne had two attempts on goal direct from corners, with Lunin palming both over.

Phil Foden also missed the target as City kept up the pressure but Josko Gvardiol needed to block a Dani Carvajal shot to prevent Real snatching a second on the break.

City started the second half strongly and Nacho needed to scramble clear off the line with Haaland lurking after a mix-up in the Real box.

Yet Foden could only manage a weak shot at Lunin and there were signs of frustration as the game passed the hour mark with Pep Guardiola trying to rouse the crowd.

City pressed on with Grealish shooting at Lunin and their persistence finally paid off as Antonio Rudiger could only half-clear a cross from substitute Jeremy Doku and De Bruyne clipped home the loose ball.

With the crowd energised, City stepped on the accelerator and De Bruyne sent a dipping shot narrowly over before skying an even better chance.

City kept the pressure on until the end of normal time but could not find a way through Real’s stubborn defence.

Haaland was sacrificed for extra time and Foden spurned a good chance when he mis-kicked in front of goal.

Real attacks remained rare but Kyle Walker, underlining an impressive return after injury, raced back to prevent Vinicius escaping and Rudiger put a chance over.

It came down to penalties and, although Ederson lifted City by saving from Luka Modric, Lunin denied both Silva and Kovacic to send Real through.

Jude Bellingham admitted joining Real Madrid last summer was a “no-brainer”.

The England midfielder opted for the Spanish giants amid interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs after three highly-impressive seasons with Borussia Dortmund.

The 20-year-old Birmingham academy product has hardly looked back since, netting 20 times in an outstanding debut campaign at the Bernabeu Stadium that has catapulted him into the game’s elite.

Bellingham, speaking at a press conference ahead of Real’s Champions League clash with Manchester City on Wednesday, said: “I had good chats with loads of clubs – including Dortmund – and my family were great in helping me chew up that information.

“It’s difficult while you are still in the season to take in the information and process it and still have to play at the weekend or in the Champions League.

“I had conversations with other teams but when Madrid came in it was a no-brainer really. The size of the club, the project, the plan going forward, the chance to play with such amazing players.

“I just jumped at it. That’s why I made my decision.”

Bellingham has no doubt his game has developed considerably since joining Real and he puts a lot of that down to the influence of veteran manager Carlo Ancelotti.

He said: “I think the sign of a good manager is when he can make you believe that you’re a bit better than maybe you thought you were before.

“I think he fills me with that confidence every day, in training and in the game. Not only that, but he’s a top person. He makes you feel comfortable.”

Real are locked in a ferocious battle with holders City to advance to the semi-finals after an enthralling 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu last week.

City are now regarded as the favourites due to their home advantage – and the fact they thrashed Real 4-0 at the same venue last season – but Bellingham is taking no notice of predictions.

He said: “That’s just the impression from the outside, the feeling from everyone else.

“I’m not a gambler and I’ve never been to the bookies, so I don’t know about betting favourites and things like that.

“But I do know that we’re a pretty good team ourselves. They’re the treble winners, they’re an amazing team but we’ve got some brilliant players.

“There’s external noise, but internally, we’re confident.”

Jude Bellingham has demanded football’s authorities – particularly in Spain – do more to combat racism but admitted: “I doubt that will happen.”

The England midfielder’s call came after his Real Madrid team-mate Aurelien Tchouameni was racially abused by a Mallorca supporter after scoring last weekend.

It is the latest of a number of incidents in Spanish football, with another Real player in Vinicius Jr having been a regular victim of offensive chanting and gestures.

Bellingham, speaking to media ahead of Real’s Champions League clash with Manchester City on Wednesday, said: “I think in the games where we go away, in La Liga especially, you almost get so used to it that I wasn’t even aware of the (Tchouameni) incident. I think that’s a massive problem in itself.

“More has got to be done, whether it’s the punishment and how you react to it or how you move proactively to (stop) this kind of thing.

“I think it’s a horrible way for a player to prepare for a game, knowing that they’re probably going to get racially abused. It’s disgusting. It shouldn’t happen.

“The people in power need to do more. No-one deserves that kind of thing.

“It’s definitely a call-out for the people who are in charge to take control. I doubt that will happen.

“It’s going to be something that I imagine we will still have to just deal with going into games. You have just got to play your game and hope that the people look after you, and they’re not doing it well enough at the moment.”

Vinicius broke down in tears at a press conference as he discussed his experiences of racism ahead of Brazil’s recent friendly against Spain in Madrid.

Bellingham expressed sympathy for his colleague.

He said: “I think the blame gets shifted more onto him because of maybe his playing style and the way he likes to express himself and I don’t think that’s fair.

“The game would miss players like Vini if he decided to take a break because of this thing. More needs to be done to support these players.”

Aurelien Tchouameni’s deflected strike was enough to secure Real Madrid a 1-0 win at Mallorca and keep them out on front at the top of LaLiga.

France midfielder Tchouameni broke the deadlock early in the second half as Real extended their unbeaten league run to 25 matches and after arch-rivals Barcelona’s win later on Saturday night, the gap remains eight points.

The two sides meet in El Clasico next Sunday and Barca also remain in top form as they made it six straight wins in all competitions after Joao Felix’s first-half overhead kick secured all three points in Cadiz.

Barcelona were indebted to goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for their win as the German goalkeeper made two crucial saves to deny Cadiz pair Javi Hernandez and Diadie Samassekou.

Antoine Griezmann scored twice to help keep Atletico Madrid on course for the final Champions League spot after a 3-1 home win against Girona, who remain third.

Griezmann’s first-half penalty cancelled out Artem Dovbyk’s early opener for Girona and Angel Correa headed Atletico into the lead in stoppage time before the break.

France forward Griezmann added his 12th league goal of the season early in the second period as Girona slipped to their fifth defeat in eight league matches.

Rayo Vallecano edged six points clear of the relegation zone after being held 0-0 at home by Getafe.

In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich got their domestic campaign back on track as second-half goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Thomas Muller sealed a 2-0 home win against Cologne.

It was a crucial win for Bayern, who had lost their previous two league matches, as Champions League rivals Stuttgart, Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund all won.

Dani Olmo, Benjamin Sesko and Lois Openda were on target for Leipzig in their 3-0 home win against Wolfsburg and Dortmund held on to win 2-1 at Borussia Monchengladbach despite the second-half dismissal of Germany winger Karim Adeyemi.

Marcel Sabitzer gave Dortmund the lead and then converted a penalty before Max Wober hit back for the hosts before the interval.

Adeyemi’s second yellow card left Dortmund with 10 men for most of the second period, but they held on.

Third-placed Stuttgart extended their unbeaten run to nine matches with a 3-0 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Serhou Guirassy, Deniz Undav and Jamie Leweling were all on target in the first half for Stuttgart, who are level on points with Bayern.

Mainz boosted their survival hopes with a 4-1 home win over Hoffenheim, which made it 10 points from their last four matches and lifted them to within a point of Bochum, who drew 1-1 against Heidenheim.

In Serie A, Juventus failed to close the gap on second-placed Milan after they were held 0-0 by derby rivals Torino.

Juve have won only one of their last six domestic league matches and are five points behind Milan and 19 adrift of leaders Inter, with the top two both in action on Sunday.

Fourth-placed Bologna failed to capitalise on Juve’s dropped points as they were also held to a goalless stalemate at home against Monza, while Nicola Sansone’s late goal clinched Lecce a 1-0 home win against Empoli.

In Ligue 1, Reims’ hopes of European football next season were dealt a blow as they lost 3-1 at Strasbourg and Rennes had a setback in their bid for a top-six finish after losing 2-1 at home to Toulouse.

Real Madrid kept themselves in control at the top of LaLiga with a 1-0 win at Mallorca.

In a game of limited clear chances, a deflected effort from Aurelien Tchouameni early in the second half proved the difference for Los Blancos, who built towards a defining period of the campaign next week in the Champions League and hosting Barcelona in El Clasico.

With an eye on next week’s European quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti opted for five changes, but England midfielder Jude Bellingham retained his place in the side.

The visitors made a bright start, with Luka Modric sending an early free-kick straight into the wall.

Mallorca, recently beaten in the Copa del Rey final by Athletic Bilbao, were proving difficult to break down.

In the 34th minute, Bellingham sent in a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area but it looped over the goalkeeper and cannoned off the crossbar.

Real finally made their pressure count three minutes after the restart.

Tchouameni picked the ball up around 25 yards out before drilling in a rising drive which took a deflection off a Mallorca defender and spun off up into the top right corner.

Brahim Diaz had a chance to quickly double the lead after running into the Mallorca penalty area but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.

As the hour mark passed, Mallorca substitute Abdon Prats saw his shot blocked before Real missed the chance to add a second.

Modric cut a pass back to Diaz just outside the six-yard box but the winger’s touch was too strong, which allowed Rajkovic to kick the loose ball clear.

Ancelotti then made a couple of changes, with Diaz and Bellingham given a rest as Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga were sent on.

Real pressed for another goal to kill off the match, with Camavinga playing in Federico Valverde, only for his effort to be hacked off the line by Mallorca defender Matija Nastasic.

Sergi Darder almost scored a fine equaliser when his 25-yard effort, flying towards the top left corner, was palmed away by Real keeper Andriy Lunin at full stretch.

With 10 minutes left, Joselu’s header from a free-kick was saved by Rajkovic.

Mallorca almost snatched a dramatic equaliser with what proved to be the last kick of the game deep into stoppage-time.

Lunin jumped with Vedat Muriqi as he tried to catch a high cross into the Real box but dropped the ball – which the Kosovo striker then stabbed wide of an open goal.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has backed Jude Bellingham to rediscover his golden touch in front of goal.

Bellingham made a stellar start to life in Madrid after his summer transfer from Borussia Dortmund and scored 16 times during the first half of the season.

Goals have been harder to come by since the turn of the year with Bellingham only able to find the net on four occasions in 2024 and not at all in two months, but Ancelotti is positive his drought will end soon.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to LaLiga struggles Mallorca, Ancelotti told a press conference: “The goals he was scoring have dropped off a bit.

“It was a surprise for everyone when he hit 20 goals in the first part of the season. Now he’s doing his job as a midfielder or a number 10, he’s not a centre forward.

“His performance levels have not dropped. He’s not lacking anything. He’ll get back to scoring goals again sooner or later.”

Ancelotti also leapt to the defence of other stars across world football following a week where it was noted that Kylian Mbappe of Paris St Germain and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland failed to make an impact in Champions League matches, which was also the case for Bellingham.

“Perhaps these big stars haven’t delivered their best displays in the first games but there are more matches to come and we have to be careful with Haaland, Mbappe and  Bellingham,” Ancelotti warned.

While Madrid have a quarter-final second leg to come next week in Manchester, Ancelotti insisted they were fully focused on the trip to Mallorca.

Madrid boast an eight-point advantage over nearest challenger Barcelona but will face a Mallorca side still reeling from last Saturday’s Copa del Rey final loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Ancelotti added: “I’m not sure how the Copa final defeat will affect Mallorca.

“I doubt it will have too much influence because they have a big challenge, which is to ensure their survival as soon as possible.

“For us, it’s a key game in trying to win the league as quickly as we can.

“It will be a tough game, as ever, they will fight hard. We’re up against a very committed team who have shown an incredible attitude as a unit.

“We’re expecting an intense game and we have to try and match the things the opposition do superbly well, which is their collective commitment.

“The whole squad is ready. Our priority is tomorrow’s game. We have a lot to play for this week.

“Our confidence is just the same as it was a few days ago, unchanged, but we have to remember that tomorrow is a crucial game in the battle to win LaLiga.”

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