European roundup: Raphaël Varane double rescues Real Madrid

The Real Madrid defender Raphaël Varane struck twice as his side came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at bottom-of-the-table Huesca in La Liga and offer some respite to the Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane.

Huesca took a shock lead against the Spanish champions early in the second half with a vicious strike in off the post from Javi Galán and nearly doubled their advantage moments later when Rafa Mir struck the bar.

Madrid pulled level in the 55th minute when Karim Benzema thumped a free-kick off the top of the bar and the ball bounced perfectly for Varane to head home from close range. The France defender then struck the winner, bundling over the line in the 84th following another free-kick.

Zidane had lashed out at reporters in the build-up to the game over speculation about his future in light of disappointing results but the win took his side second in the table on 43 points, seven behind Atlético Madrid who have two games in hand.

Sevilla defeated Getafe 3-0 to move above Barcelona into third place. Munir El Haddadi, Papu Gómez and Youssef En-Nesyri all scored in the second half after Djené Dakonam had been sent off.

Roberto Soldado struck in the second minute of injury time to earn Granada a 2-2 draw at Levante. José Luis Morales had twice put Levante ahead with Kenedy scoring Granada’s first equaliser just before half-time.

Elche and Villarreal also drew 2-2 after Gerard Moreno had given the visitors a two-goal interval lead. Guido Carrillo and Lucas Boyé netted to give Elche a point.

In Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo was on target as Juventus earned a 2-0 victory over Roma to leapfrog their opponents and move into third place in the Serie A standings.

A day after turning 36, the Portuguese scored his first goal in four league games to give Juve the lead in the 13th minute, drilling the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot. Ronaldo then thought he had netted another with his right, but saw his powerful effort come off the underside of the crossbar, bounce down on the line and away from goal.

Roma did put some pressure on the hosts in the second half but could not find the killer chance, with an own goal by Roger Ibañez in the 69th sealing the win for Andrea Pirlo’s side. A sixth victory in a row in all competitions moved Juve above Roma on to 42 points, two clear of their opponents and five behind the leaders, Inter, who have played a game more.

“Sometimes you can play well, sometimes less well. The important thing is to bring home the result,” Pirlo said. “I don’t know if it was the best Juve tonight but it was a great Juve.”

Goran Pandev scored two goals in the first half as Genoa beat Napoli 2-1, with Matteo Politano claiming a late consolation.

Atalanta were held 3-3 in a thrilling draw with Torino. First-half goals from Josip Ilicic, Robin Gosens and Luis Muriel put the home side in a commanding position before Torino fought back. Andrea Belotti missed a penalty but struck just before the break. Goals from Gleison Bremer and Federico Bonazzoli completed the comeback.

Spezia beat Sassuolo 2-1 to move them further from the relegation zone and into 15th place.

Borussia Dortmund conceded two goals in three minutes to slump to a 2-1 loss at Freiburg and drop 16 points behind leaders Bayern Munich while putting their hopes of a Champions League spot next season at risk.

Dortmund, who needed extra time to beat second-tier club Paderborn 3-2 in the German Cup on Tuesday, have long given up on the title but their third loss in the last four league games meant they remained in sixth place.

Freiburg, who won their first game in 11 years against Dortmund to climb to eighth place on 30 points, stunned the visitors with two goals in three minutes after the break with Jeong Woo-yeong firing in from 20 metres in the 49th minute.

Jonathan Schmid (right) punches the air with delight.
Jonathan Schmid (right) punches the air with delight. Photograph: Getty Images

Jonathan Schmid then shot, which the keeper, Marwin Hitz, got a hand to but sent it on to the post and into the back of the net in the 52nd minute as Freiburg celebrated a memorable win in their 700th Bundesliga match.

Emre Can had hit the crossbar in the first half for Dortmund but they were dazed following the double strike after the break and took too long to react.

The introduction of teenager Youssoufa Moukoko gave them some inspiration and he hit the post. The 16-year-old then cut the deficit in the 77th minute, firing in from a tight angle for his second league goal after a good run from Erling Haaland. But the visitors could do nothing to avoid their fourth loss in the last five away matches.

RB Leipzig cruised past hosts Schalke 3-0 to stay seven points behind the Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich, in second place and leave their opponents anchored at the bottom of the table.

Nordi Mukiele struck in first-half stoppage time when he drilled in a corner to take the lead while Schalke, with only one win this season, defended well for the half but were toothless up front.

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The visitors should have scored again early in the second half with Alexander Sørloth coming close in the 47th. Marcel Sabitzer did it better in the 73rd to add their second goal of the afternoon and kill off any Schalke thoughts of a comeback before Willi Orban’s 87th minute header made it 3-0.

Cologne earned a 2-1 victory at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Elvis Rexhbecaj struck twice with Florian Neuhaus replying for the hosts.