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European Football Round-up

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As part of a weekly column, World In Sport will focus on the key story of the weekend’s action of European football and recap the main results in Serie A, the German Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1.

This week we head back to Serie A with four league games being postponed on Sunday due to fears of coronavirus spreading.

The games were Inter Milan v Sampdoria, Torino v Parma, Verona v Cagliari and Atalanta v Sassuolo.

Italy has the largest number of cases in Europe with 165 with many schools and colleges being closed.

The postponements happened due to a woman from the northern region of Lombardy becoming the second person in Italy to die from the virus in 24 hours.

In Lombardy and Veneto residents will not be able to leave for the next two weeks without special dispensation.

Sunday’s match between Juventus and Inter in Turin will now be played behind closed doors.

Talks were also held between Uefa and Italian officials and they have confirmed that Inter’s Europa League encounter against Ludogrets on Thursday will also be played behind closed doors.

Serie A

On the pitch, both Juventus and Lazio increased their leads over Antonio Conte’s side with narrow wins over SPAL and Genoa respectively.

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Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th match by equalling the Serie A record of scoring in 11 consecutive games with former Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey also netting in their 2-1 win which keeps them one point clear.

Second-place Lazio also have a record holder in prolific striker Ciro Immobile who became the first player in 61 years to score 27 goals after 25 matches as they moved five points ahead of Inter.

Antonio Angelillo was the last man to make such a prolific start to a Serie A season, with Inter Milan in 1958-59.

However, Juve forward Gonzalo Higuain holds the record for the most league goals in a season with 36 for Napoli in 2015-16.

Despite not playing, it was still a good weekend for Sampdoria as they remain out of the relegation zone a point ahead of Genoa. The three teams below them, the aforementioned Genoa and SPAL, and Brescia all suffered defeats with Leece directly above them hammered 4-0 at Roma.

La Liga

Setting up next weekend’s Clascio nicely, there are new leaders in Spain with Barcelona now two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi was in vintage form for the Catalan side, scoring four goals in a thumping 5-0 win over Eibar. The league’s top scorer with 17 goals, the Argentine’s fourth was assisted by Martin Braithwaite, Barcelona’s controversial new signing from Leganes.

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Their bitter rivals fell to a shock 1-0 loss at lowly Levante and saw Eden Hazard’s troubled time in the capital continue when he was forced off with a broken ankle. Injuries have seen the ex Chelsea man make just 15 appearances since his summer move.

Levante’s win was important as relegation rivals Celta Vigo moved up to 16th with talisman Iago Aspas claiming the only goal as they edged fellow strugglers Leganes.

In a big match in the race for the Champions League, Sevilla eased to an impressive 3-0 victory at Getafe to leapfrog the hosts into the fourth and final place.

German Bundesliga 

Bayern Munich remain the team to catch after they edged past bottom side Paderborn 3-2 on Friday, Robert Lewandowski scoring with two minutes left.

All eyes for the Bavarians will now focus on London and tonight’s Champions League last-16 clash with Chelsea.

In the latest protest against Monday night football in the Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt fans left part of their ground empty and displayed banners in protest during they defeat to Union Berlin.

Monday games will be stopped from 2021-22 the German football league have announced.

Ligue 1

PSG were involved in another thriller, this time edging Bordeaux 4-3 at Parc des Princes but the win came at a cost with Thiago Silva coming off injured and Neymar being sent off.

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Lille eased past Toulouse 3-0 with former Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Newcastle striker Loic Remy netting a brace to take his season’s tally to 13.

After finishing second last season, Christophe Galtier’s side remain fourth this time around after having to contend with a disappointing Champions League campaign where they lost all six games.

Their opponents however, look destined for Ligue 2 football next season as they find themselves 14 points adrift of safety with 12 games remaining.

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