Five talking points in European football this weekend
Meanwhile, action in Portugal was overshadowed by racist abuse suffered by Porto star Moussa Marega.
AFP Sport rounds up the main talking points from the weekend on the continent:
Clasico set to be pivotal
Real Madrid dropped two points by conceding a late equaliser to Celta Vigo on Sunday as next month’s Clasico looks increasingly like proving a pivotal point in La Liga’s title race.
Madrid briefly pulled six points clear of Barcelona earlier this month but the Catalans kept pace by scraping past Real Betis before capitalising on Celta’s draw at the Santiago Bernabeu by beating Getafe 2-1 on Saturday.
It means instead of pulling away, Madrid’s lead at the top has been cut to one point, with their game at home to Barca on March 1 fast approaching. Victory for either team could prove decisive.
Marega racist abuse rocks Portugal
Images of Porto striker Moussa Marega walking off the pitch in disgust after being racially abused in his team’s game against Vitoria Guimaraes have sent shockwaves around the football world.
The 28-year-old, a France-born Mali international, signalled to the bench that he was walking off in protest in the 71st minute after being subjected to monkey chants.
He had scored a 60th-minute goal for Porto to seal a 2-1 win against his former club. Angry and upset, Marega gave a thumbs-down signal with both hands to home fans. Porto coach Sergio Conceicao and Vitoria players tried to get him to stay on the pitch.
“I hope I will never see you again on a football field. You are a disgrace,” he wrote on Instagram in a message aimed at his tormentors, and the referee who booked him.
“We are Marega” said the front-page headline in sports daily A Bola on Monday, as Portuguese media reported police were seeking to identify those responsible.
PSG defensive wobbles continue
Paris Saint-Germain did not get the reassurance they were looking for before Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first leg against Borussia Dortmund, as they drew 4-4 with Amiens in a remarkable Ligue 1 game.
PSG were 3-0 down, came back to lead 4-3 and then conceded a last-minute equaliser against opponents who have not won a league game in over three months.
Thomas Tuchel’s team have let in eight goals in their last four outings, which hardly bodes well before facing a Dortmund side who are scoring at an average of four goals a game in 2020.
However, Tuchel will point to the fact he heavily rotated his team. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were rested.
“It won’t be the same match in Dortmund,” insisted Tuchel. “I am still thinking about my team selection, and there are 12 or 13 players in contention to start.”
Germans prepare for Europe in style
Germany’s Champions League representatives warmed up for their return to continental competition by recording big victories in the Bundesliga title race.
Bayern Munich remains a point clear at the summit after winning 4-1 at Cologne as Robert Lewandowski grabbed his 23rd goal of the season.
The Bavarians are not in Champions League action against Chelsea until next week. Before that, RB Leipzig is in London this week, facing Tottenham Hotspur fresh from a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen which leaves them second.
Borussia Dortmund’s teenage star Erling Braut Haaland claimed his ninth goal in six games in Friday’s 4-0 thumping of Eintracht Frankfurt, leaving them four points off the top in third.
Ramsey ‘settling’ at Juventus
Maurizio Sarri said Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey was finally settling into life at Juventus despite reports the Turin giants are ready to sell the former Arsenal player.
The 29-year-old joined Juventus on a free transfer last summer but has had an injury-riddled season, making 13 league appearances and scoring two goals in all competitions.
He helped the champions return to the top of the league with a 2-0 win over Brescia.
“Historically, British players have struggled to adapt to the tactics of our football, but it seems to me that he has overcome the difficult phase and that he can reach a high-level performance,” said Sarri.
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