Barcelona 18 points clear after Real Madrid draw with La Liga's bottom side


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The Independent Football

In La Liga, Jose Mourinho came under further pressure on Saturday night, as Real Madrid drew 0-0 away to bottom side Osasuna. Iker Casillas returned for Real, but they were missing the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. Kaka was then send off 19 minutes after coming on as a substitute. The result meant Real are 18 points behind Barcelona after the Catalan side beat Malaga 3-1 on Sunday evening.

Mourinho was typically enigmatic in his post-match reaction, saying: "I don't want to explain anything, but this began in the first weeks of the season... Things happened then that I don't want to talk about, because it isn't worth talking about. Then of course one player is without pressure and the other sees you are not going to get there. It is a question of motivation." He then refused to go into detail about what he had said.

Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano continued their fine performances this season, Betis moving into fourth with a 2-0 victory over Levante and Vallecano winning 2-1 away to Athletic Bilbao, while Roberto Soldado scored twice as Valencia beat Sevilla 2-0.

In Italy, Serie A leaders Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by mid-table Parma, Nicola Sansone cancelling out Andrea Pirlo's opener, despite Antonio Conte's men controlling most of the match. That allowed Lazio to close the gap at the top to three points by beating Atalanta, which they did 2-0. Sergio Floccari broke the deadlock on 67 minutes and the win was sealed by Davide Brivio's own goal ten minutes later.

Third-placed Napoli also won, seeing off second-bottom Palermo 3-0, with goals from Christian Maggio, Gokhan Inler and Lorenzo Insigne. Inter Milan claimed a straightforward 2-0 win over strugglers Pescara in the San Siro, Rodrigo Palacio and Fredy Guarin scoring the goals. However, fellow high-fliers Fiorentina and Roma both lost ground, suffering defeats to Udinese and Catania respectively. 

The big-spenders in Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain, were held to a 0-0 draw with Ajaccio for the second time this season. Thiago Motta saw red for Carlo Ancelotti's team, although it took some inspired goalkeeping from Guillermo Ochoa to keep out the home side, for whom €40 million signing Lucas Moura, making his debut, impressed. Ancelotti said afterwards: "it wasn't easy for our attacking players tonight. There were a lot of defenders and not much space. We cannot be happy with the result. We need to perform better but our attitude was always right."

That result gave the chance to Lyon to go clear at the top by two points, an advantage gained courtesy of a 2-1 win at second-bottom Troyes on Saturday, Samuel Entiti scoring the winner.