Wednesday, December 1, 2021

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La Liga: Madrid, Atletico maintain title charge

Real Madrid beat Osasuna 2-0 in La Liga on Saturday as Eden Hazard made his first start since January.

After making a brief cameo off the bench in the Champions League semifinal first leg against Chelsea last week, Hazard played 72 minutes at Valdebebas and could now face his former club from the start in the pivotal return game at Stamford Bridge.

Los Blancos have it all to do against Chelsea after drawing the opener 1-1 and they are playing catch-up in LaLiga too, after Atletico Madrid had earlier scraped to a 1-0 victory against struggling Elche.

Elche’s Fidel Chaves missed a 91st-minute penalty in what could prove a pivotal moment in Spain’s thrilling title race, with Atletico maintaining their two-point lead over Real Madrid and stretching the advantage to five over Barcelona.

Barca travel to Valencia on Sunday while Sevilla, who are now six points back, play their game in hand on Monday against Athletic Bilbao.

Atletico’s win meant victory for Real Madrid was essential and they had to work hard for it against a determined Osasuna side, Eder Militao breaking the deadlock in the 76th minute before Casemiro made it two four minutes later.

Zidane’s squad has been stretched by absentees in recent weeks and he left Luka Modric and Toni Kroos on the bench, while handing Hazard his first start since 30 January.

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