World Sports News in Brief

Clever Benzema assist helps Real Madrid go clear at the top

Monday, 2020-06-29 07:39:48
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La Liga Santander - Espanyol v Real Madrid - RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Spain - June 28, 2020 Espanyol's Bernardo Espinosa in action with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. (Photo: Reuters)
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Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema produced an audacious back-heeled assist for Casemiro to score as they beat Espanyol 1-0 away on Sunday to capitalise on Barcelona’s slip-up a day earlier and move two points clear at the top of La Liga.

Real’s players embraced each other when the final whistle arrived to signal a fifth consecutive victory which took them top on 71 points after 32 games. Barca, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday, are second on 69.

* Third-placed Inter Milan scored twice in the last six minutes through Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni to snatch a 2-1 win at Parma in Serie A on Sunday despite a subdued display. The scarcely-deserved victory left Inter eight points behind leaders Juventus and four adrift of second-placed Lazio with 10 games each to play.

* Juventus are set to sign Brazil international Arthur Melo from Barcelona after the midfielder agreed a five-year contract with the Italian champions and passed a medical, according to Spanish media reports on Sunday. The move is part of a twin negotiation between the clubs which involves Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic moving to Barca, said reports in sports dailies Mundo Deportivo and Marca.

* Kevin de Bruyne's first-half penalty and a superb strike by Raheem Sterling after the break earned holders Manchester City a comfortable 2-0 win at Newcastle United in the weekend's last FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday. City set up a semi-final against Arsenal after the Gunners struck in stoppage time to beat Sheffield United 2-1. Manchester United will face Chelsea, who secured a 1-0 victory at Leicester City on the same day, in the other semi-final. Matches will be played at Wembley on July 18-19.

* Watford were dealt a major blow in their bid to avoid relegation as a Danny Ings double and James Ward-Prowse's stunning late free kick condemned them to a 3-1 defeat at home to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday. Southampton rose to 13th place with 40 points, while Watford remain in 16th with 28 points, one point ahead of third-bottom Bournemouth, who have a game in hand.

* AC Milan scored twice in the last quarter of an hour to sink AS Roma 2-0 in a slow-paced Serie A match on Sunday as both teams struggled in the San Siro heat. Their second straight win since the restart of Serie A helped Milan stay seventh with 42 points, six behind fifth-placed Roma.

* Villarreal beat neighbours Valencia 2-0 on Sunday with a pair of brilliant volleyed goals in the first half to boost their chances of a top-four finish, whilst further crushing their rivals hopes of returning to the Champions League. The victory took Villarreal up to fifth in the standings on 51 points, within three of fourth-placed Sevilla, while Valencia were left eighth on 46 with six games remaining in the season.

* Former European and German champions Hamburg SV on Sunday missed out on possible Bundesliga promotion, crashing to a 5-1 home loss to Sandhausen on the final matchday of the second division season to miss out on the promotion playoff spot. Heidenheim grabbed third place despite losing 3-0 to Arminia Bielefeld and will face 16th-placed Bundesliga club Werder Bremen in a promotion/relegation playoff over two legs. Second division champions Bielefeld and VfB Stuttgart have won automatic promotion, securing first and second place respectively before Sunday's matches. Paderborn and Fortuna Duesseldorf were relegated from the Bundesliga.

* Andy Murray has withdrawn from his third-place playoff match against Cameron Norrie in the Battle of the Brits exhibition tournament, the Lawn Tennis Association said on Sunday. Former world number one Murray, 33, returned to action following a seven-month injury layoff at the charity event organised by his brother Jamie this week.

* South African golfer Dylan Frittelli will miss this week's Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club after testing positive for COVID-19, the PGA Tour said. Frittelli, who missed the cut at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, is the fourth golfer to test positive since the elite US Tour resumed on June 11.

* Manchester City will give newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool a guard of honour when the teams meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, manager Pep Guardiola has said.