Joaquin Correa scored a second-half double as Inter eased to a 2-0 Serie A win over Udinese at San Siro.

Correa had not been on target for the Nerazzurri since striking twice on his debut against Hellas Verona in August but doubled his tally for the champions on Sunday.

The forward took both goals superbly as Simone Inzaghi's third-placed side extended their unbeaten run to four matches.

Lautaro Martinez came on as a late substitute at the end of a week in which he signed a new deal, with Inzaghi rotating his squad ahead of a Champions League clash against Sheriff and the Milan derby in the next week.

Nicolo Barella twice went close to an early opening goal, landing a dipping long-range drive on the roof of the net and forcing Marco Silvestri to save with his feet at the end of a sweeping Inter move that was started by Edin Dzeko.

Andrea Ranocchia headed Hakan Calhanoglu's corner just over from close range and the lively Barella fired straight at Silvestri.

Dzeko was unable to reach a Ranocchia flick-on as desperate last-ditch defending frustrated Inter once again.

The Nerazzurri continued to dominate possession after the break and finally produced a moment of class to open the scoring just before the hour mark.

Ivan Perisic enabled Correa to race away down the left flank with a brilliant dummy and the Argentina international cut into the penalty area before burying a clinical right-foot finish into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Correa doubled Inter's advantage eight minutes later, finding the top-left corner with a sublime finish after the marauding Denzel Dumfries picked him out.

Arturo Vidal drilled narrowly wide from just outside the penalty area and Gerard Deulofeu had a goal ruled out for offside in a deserved win for Inter.

Vinicius Junior would welcome Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid as there is no player who would not want the Paris Saint-Germain forward as a team-mate.

Mbappe's PSG contract expires at the end of the season and the Ligue 1 giants reportedly rejected a staggering €220million bid for the France forward in August.

PSG have been critical of Madrid's open pursuit of Mbappe, with sporting director Leonardo suggesting they should be punished for unsettling the 22-year-old.

In-form Los Blancos forward Vinicius hopes to be lining up alongside the former Monaco star for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

"All the players want to play with Mbappe. He is a great player, like Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi were. He represents the new generation that comes to stay for many years." the 21-year-old Brazilian said in an interview with Esporte Interativo.

 

Vinicius, who scored both goals in a 2-1 LaLiga win at Elche on Saturday, also called for stronger action to be taken after he was racially abused during Madrid's Clasico win at Barcelona last weekend.

The incident occurred as Vinicius made his way around the Camp Nou pitch after being substituted in the 87th minute.

LaLiga reported the abuse to the Prosecutor's Office in Barcelona in case it constitutes a hate crime. 

Vinicius said: "When they changed me, I did see a child making a gesture to me but as it was a child I passed ... but then an older person insulted me and I pointed to him so that he knew I had seen him. I don't usually give importance to these things, I prefer to focus in my game."

He added: "I think they do deserve harsher punishments, so they don't do those things again."

Vinicius took his tally to seven goals in 11 LaLiga games in 2021-22 with his double against Elche, more than he managed in his previous two seasons combined, as Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Martinez Valero.

What does the future hold for Paul Pogba?

Pogba, who re-joined Manchester United from Juventus in 2016, is set to become a free agent at season's end.

Juve are believed to be trying to lure Pogba back to Italy.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE LEAD RACE FOR POGBA

Juventus are in pole position to re-sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to Sportitalia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and is reportedly not prepared to sign a new contract with United.

The World Cup-winning France international left United for Juventus in 2012 before returning to Old Trafford in 2016.

Le10 Sport, meanwhile, claims Paris Saint-Germain are circling amid interest from Real Madrid also.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Xavi wants to sign Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman if he is appointed head coach of LaLiga giants Barcelona . Barca great and Al-Sadd boss Xavi is favourite to replace Ronald Koeman.

Theo Hernandez is set to snub a move to Premier League champions Manchester City or Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG in favour of re-signing with Milan, per Calciomercato.

- The Mirror says Newcastle United are struggling to prise Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag from Amsterdam. Also linked to Manchester United amid pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer , Ten Hag is reluctant to move to Newcastle due to their position in the table.

Inter have planned talks with Marcelo Brozovic regarding a new contract amid interest from PSG , Manchester United , Barca and Atletico Madrid , according to Corriere dello Sport.

Inter Miami have been eliminated from the MLS play-off race following a 3-1 defeat to New York City, while San Jose Earthquakes teenager Cade Cowell produced a stunning moment of individual brilliance.

David Beckham's Inter Miami were looking to keep their fading play-off hopes alive on Saturday, however, second-half goals from New York City pair Valentin Castellanos and Talles Magno dashed that dream.

Inter Miami had never taken a point against New York City in their three previous meetings, losing all three. New York City were one of two teams Inter Miami had faced more than once without claiming a point, along with DC United.

That drought continued despite Inter Miami defender Jorge Figal initially cancelling out Castellanos' 33rd-minute opener at DRV PNK Stadium, where co-owner Beckham was in attendance.

But New York City – third in the Eastern Conference – hit back via Castellanos and Magno to clinch a play-off spot thanks to results elsewhere as Inter Miami were left to pick up the pieces in Phil Neville's first season as head coach.

Cade Cowell, meanwhile, scored a memorable solo goal as the Earthquakes outlasted Real Salt Lake 4-3 in a wild showdown.

The 18-year-old collected the ball in his own half with 21 minutes remaining before barging down the right flank, cutting in between two RSL defenders and finishing past David Ochoa with the outside of his boot.

Elsewhere, Fabio netted a dramatic stoppage-time winner as New York Red Bulls edged Montreal 1-0 to move into the seventh and final play-off spot in the east.

Defending champions Columbus Crew kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a 3-1 win over DC United, Toronto and Atlanta United drew 1-1 and 10-man Dallas edged Austin 2-1.

Jordi Alba lamented Barcelona's "bad point" after the embattled LaLiga giants were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo Alaves.

Barca – playing for the first time since Ronald Koeman's sacking – saw Memphis Depay's sublime 49th-minute strike cancelled out within three minutes at Camp Nou on Saturday.

Spanish side Barca have taken 16 points from 11 games in LaLiga this season (W4 D4 L3) – equalling their worst start at this stage in the three points for a win era (also 16 in the 2000-2001 and 2002-03 campaigns).

"It's a bad point," star Barca full-back Alba told Movistar. "Anything other than three points for Barcelona is bad and even more so when you see where we are in the table.

"We did enough, but we're struggling to score and teams are scoring against us with very little. It's tough. The team is trying, but it's complicated." 

Sergi Barjuan has stepped in to replace Koeman on an interim basis amid growing links with club great Xavi, who is currently head coach of Qatari outfit Al-Sadd.

Sergi became the first Barcelona coach without a win in his LaLiga debut since Pep Guardiola in 2008.

"They're different coaches, but the idea is the same," Alba said when asked about Koeman and Sergi. "We had very clear chances.

"I hope we can improve, for our own good. We're grateful to the fans that are with us in difficult moments."

Barca are ninth in the standings after 11 rounds, eight points behind leading trio Real Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad.

Jose Mourinho said he realises why is it "tough" to work at Roma, but the Portuguese boss is having "fun" in the Italian capital.

Mourinho returned to Serie A as Roma head coach at the start of the season after he was sacked by Tottenham last term.

The Giallorossi have not won the Scudetto since 2001, while not since 2008 have they claimed silverware.

Mourinho has found himself under some pressure in the wake of Roma's shock 6-1 humbling at Bodo-Glimt in the Europa Conference League last week, with the former treble-winning Inter coach scathing of his players in the aftermath.

As Roma prepare to welcome high-flying Milan to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, Mourinho was in a combative mood during his pre-game news conference.

"You always find the negative side of any situation," Mourinho told reporters when asked about Roma conceding goals after the restart. "It would be more frustrating for me to concede a goal in the first five minutes of the match. Honestly, I am impressed by your ability to pick the negatives out of everything.

"I am starting to understand why Roma is a difficult place to work. In other clubs, you feel more protection and positivity with the fans at home.  Maybe in Rome it's more difficult for that too, but that's okay, it's still fun this way."

Mourinho's Roma are fourth in Serie A, nine points behind Milan and Napoli through 10 rounds of the season.

After losing his first match against Milan in Serie A in 2008, Mourinho has won each of his last three top-flight matches against the Rossoneri, with eight goals scored and only one conceded.

In each of the previous nine occasions – in the era of three points per win – in which Roma have won at least six of the first 10 Serie A games, they have then finished within the top three positions in the table (currently six wins, one draw and three defeats).

"I like to play against the best and I think I convey well to the players this feeling of pleasure when playing against teams that are playing well, are higher than us in the standings and that have different goals than ours," Mourinho said.

"From this point of view, there are no problems, only motivations. When I was in Italy, Pioli did not coach in Serie A. Our teams have never played against. I will have the pleasure of meeting him and greeting him before and after the game. His work maybe has some similarities to what I have to do here.

"He deserves a lot of credit for what he is doing, but from the outside, it seems to me that we're talking about a club effort: behind him there are people like [Paolo] Maldini, just to give an example, and there is a good, stable structure, a squad that improves in every transfer window.

"If you compare the squad he first had and the one he has now – a very good evolution of the club, which is in a good position now, plays in the Champions League and is first or second in the standings. They're doing very well."

Sergio Aguero was taken to hospital following his early substitution against Deportivo Alaves, Barcelona have confirmed.

The Argentina international was making his first LaLiga start at Camp Nou, but was replaced by Philippe Coutinho after just 41 minutes.

Aguero went down clutching his chest and was tended to by the medical team, although he was able to get to his feet and walk from the field.

The club later confirmed the former Manchester City striker had complained of chest discomfort and had been admitted to hospital for a cardiac exam.

Barca also lost Gerard Pique to a right calf strain during the 1-1 draw.

"[Aguero] told me he was a little dizzy," interim coach Sergi Barjuan told Marca. 

"Now, I have learned that he has been taken to the hospital. I can't say more.

"Between cheering on the guys and the press conference, it's hard to know more."

The stalemate marked Sergi's first match in temporary charge following the departure of Ronald Koeman earlier this week.

Memphis Depay's sublime strike was immediately cancelled out by Luis Rioja and despite just under 80 per cent of possession and 16 shots on goal, the hosts were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

"We controlled the game, and we were intense in the second half," Sergi continued.

"We had our chances to score and win the game, but we could not take them.

"I have had very little time to work with the players. I have tried to get them in order in both a defensive and an offensive level.

"But, these players are very good, and they have to believe in themselves."

Barcelona's struggles continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou in their first game since the dismissal of Ronald Koeman.

Under the temporary stewardship of Sergi Barjuan, Memphis Depay opened the scoring early in the second half as the hosts sought to overcome consecutive LaLiga losses. 

But the Blaugrana were pegged back almost immediately as Luis Rioja netted a fine equaliser for the visitors.

Another concern for Barca saw a distressed Sergio Aguero forced off before half-time on his first home LaLiga start.

Barcelona had won eight of their nine previous meetings with Alaves and quickly stamped their authority in possession.

They went close to breaking the deadlock when Eric Garcia's header was brilliantly clawed away by Antonio Sivera, while an unmarked Edgar Mendez nodded Ruben Duarte's deep free-kick just wide at the other end.

Concerns grew for the hosts when Aguero was forced to leave the field before the break.

The Argentina international went down clutching his chest and appeared to be in some discomfort when tended to by the medical team, but was able to get to his feet and walk from the field.

Nevertheless, Barca took the lead in emphatic fashion four minutes after the restart; Depay bending a tremendous 25-yard effort into the far corner for his fifth goal of the season.

However, the visitors hit back within three minutes; Rioja playing a neat one-two with Joselu before rounding Marc-Andre ter Stegen and slotting into the empty net.

Barca looked to restore their advantage and Sivera produced smart saves to deny Philippe Coutinho and Depay, who also hit the post following a wonderful individual run by Gavi.

But despite dominating possession, the hosts were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

Sergio Aguero's first Barcelona start at Camp Nou ended prematurely as he was substituted before half-time against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

The former Manchester City striker, who arrived on a free transfer in July, led the line in Barca's first game since the departure of Ronald Koeman this week.

Aguero went down clutching his chest just before the break and appeared to be in some discomfort as he was tended to by the medical team.

Although the stretcher was initially called for, the Argentina international was able to get to his feet and walk from the pitch to be replaced by Philippe Coutinho in the 41st minute.

Sergi Barjuan was taking temporary charge of the hosts, who had lost three of their past four LaLiga matches.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri believes his side are a "mid-table team" following their 2-1 loss at Hellas Verona on Saturday, acknowledging they are currently no better than Igor Tudor's men.

An early double from the in-form Giovanni Simeone was enough for the hosts to seal the win, despite Weston McKennie's reply 10 minutes from time.

Simeone became the seventh player in the history of Serie A to have scored two or more goals against Juventus for three different sides (Genoa, Cagliari and Verona). The last player to do so was Enrico Chiesa, father of Juve star Federico.

The defeat was the fourth Juve have suffered in Serie A this season and comes after the late 2-1 reverse at home to Sassuolo just three days earlier.

Sitting in ninth place in the league following the latest setback, Allegri insisted his team can get out of their current funk but must be realistic as well.

"Words are meaningless right now. We're in a bad situation, we have to accept the reality that right now we are a mid-table team. We can get out of this situation with a little more determination and quality," Allegri said to DAZN after the game.

"We will drag ourselves out of this situation. There's no point feeling sorry for ourselves, that won't help, we just need to focus on what we need to do and then things will sort themselves out.

 

15 - Juventus have conceded at least 15 goals in their first 11 Serie A matches of the season for the first time since 1961/62, when they ended at 12th place of the table. Flaw. #SerieA #VeronaJuventus

— OptaPaolo  (@OptaPaolo) October 30, 2021

"It's a good squad, but things don't always go your way in football. We have to react with pride and determination. We had to play like a team that had one point, and we did, now we have to play like a team that has 15 points.

"We realised Verona were going to make it physical and a battle for every ball, so if you don’t meet them at that level, you will lose.

"Wearing the Juventus jersey does not give us a guarantee we will beat the teams in mid-table. We have to earn every point and do it with the right attitude."

When talking about playing styles, Allegri added: "Football is football, it is not fencing. You need to fight it out on the pitch at the same level. We lost a lot of tackles and aerial duels against Sassuolo too, and they are frankly not a very physical side.

"Verona knew that was how they had to play in order to beat Juventus. Our mistake was assuming we were better than Verona, and right now we are not. We must be realistic.

"There is no big team that has ever won without respecting their opponents. We are lacking that desire to fight it out, because games are a battle.

"There's nothing we can say now, we just need to stay silent and work hard to prove ourselves on the pitch."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was unhappy with the decisions to send Aymeric Laporte off and disallow Gabriel Jesus' goal as his side slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha scuffed in an early opener before Laporte was shown a straight red card for hauling the Ivory Coast forward down in a promising position.

Jesus thought he had snatched an equaliser despite City's man disadvantage, but the strike was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check, and Conor Gallagher made it 2-0 late on to seal the result.

Leicester City defender Jonny Evans committed an almost identical offence to the one Laporte was dismissed for against Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day, but was only shown a yellow card.

Guardiola, who was unable to mark his 200th Premier League game with a victory, revealed his frustration with the inconsistency of the decisions made and claimed that his team played well for long spells, despite the error that led to the opening goal.

"Many things went wrong," Guardiola said to the BBC after the game. "We conceded an early goal, played a good first half but at the same time there was the sending off and the interpretation from the referee.

"The fans were behind us but unfortunately the goal was disallowed. This afternoon, Jonny Evans with the same action got a yellow card. It is an interpretation from the referee. We made a mistake for the goal and the second one a yellow or red card it depends on the referee.

"It's VAR. I don't know the line. It was a yellow card in Leicester a red here. The referees are the bosses and they decide. The goal we conceded was our mistake."

Palace manager and former Arsenal and City midfielder Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, declined to pass judgement on whether the decisions were accurate, but said that luck was necessary to overcome difficult opponents.

"I wasn't really well-positioned to make a call [on Laporte's red card]," Vieira told the BBC. "That went in our favour, the offside went in our favour. You need that if you want to win at City and we will take it because in the last couple of games we have not had that luck."

The Frenchman also hailed his side's defensive work as a unit, while also singling Zaha out for special praise after a superb showing from the forward.

"You have to defend well and we did it," Vieira continued. "You have to take your chances and we did it and you need a bit of luck because of the quality of their players. When you have those three aspects you have more chance but I am really proud of the way we fought.

"We could not come to a place like this and not have players taking part of the defensive work. Everyone worked really hard. When you sacrifice yourself like that you are really pleased when you get a win.

"What is important is to keep improving ourselves. This is a group that needs to play more games together and believe more in themselves. I am pleased with the step we made today. We have started to have confidence in ourselves but there is still a lot they can give.

"When Wilf is like that, taking his chances and working really hard, he is somebody who is really strong on one versus one. His personality, his character he is a winner. He worked really hard and this is what I expect and want from him."

Giovanni Simeone scored twice as Hellas Verona inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Juventus in Saturday's Serie A clash.

The in-form striker bagged a quickfire first-half brace – taking his league tally for the season to eight – to put Verona in command at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Substitute Weston McKennie pulled one back with 10 minutes remaining but could not prevent a second loss in the space of four days for the visitors, who were also beaten 2-1 by Sassuolo in midweek.

Following a fourth straight home win, Verona move above Massimiliano Allegri's men on goal difference into eighth place.

Igor Tudor has overseen an upturn in Verona's fortunes since replacing Eusebio Di Francesco in September.

Indeed, no side has since scored more Serie A goals than the Gialloblu, who took the lead after just 11 minutes.

Simeone, who netted four times against Lazio last time out, slotted home after Wojciech Szczesny parried Antonin Barak’s initial effort.

It was the 14th goal Juve had conceded in their opening 11 matches, the first time they have done so during a Serie A season since 1984-85.

The forward grabbed his second in emphatic fashion just three minutes later, latching onto Darko Lazovic's pass before arrowing a wonderful 25-yard strike into the top corner.

The visitors looked to respond before the break, Alex Sandro drilling into the side-netting while Paulo Dybala clipped the top of the crossbar.

Juventus improved in the second half and pulled a goal back in the 80th minute, McKennie controlling Danilo's fizzed pass before firing home off the underside of the crossbar.

It then took magnificent reflexes from Lorenzo Montipo to deny Dybala later on as Verona held out for another impressive win.

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha heaped praise on manager Patrick Vieira after a shock 2-0 victory over defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

Zaha opened the scoring in the sixth minute, becoming the first player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League for Palace, before Aymeric Laporte was sent off for bringing him down and Conor Gallagher wrapped up the points late on.

The unexpected win at the Etihad Stadium saw the Eagles end their run of four consecutive draws and rise to 13th in the table, and Zaha was quick to credit Vieira for the team's positive form.

Vieira ended his playing career at City and then began his coaching career with the north-west club, bossing the reserve team before moving on to sister club New York City FC. He had a spell with Nice and joined Palace in July of this year.

"I feel like we have had a threat [before] but the difference now is that we keep the ball from the back and build and make our chances," Zaha said after the game. "We are exploiting our talent.

"[Vieira] knows what he is talking about and we have all seen him do it. It's surreal because he was an amazing player. Every player is buying into it and slowly the results will come."

The Ivory Coast forward was pleased with how Palace disrupted City and revealed delight at his growing connection with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gallagher.

"It was about getting in their faces and not letting them play," said Zaha, according to the BBC. "We know how good they are, we wanted to show them what we could do."

His goal was not a clean strike, as Zaha admitted.

"I scuffed it, but a goal is a goal," he said. "I was just buzzing to see it go in, so I was happy. Conor Gallagher brings a lot of energy and I needed people to link up with."

City defender Dias was downcast about the result and questioned whether Laporte's challenge on Zaha was worthy of a red card, with Leicester City's Jonny Evans shown only a yellow for a similar offence against Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day.

"The reaction is that we have a game in a short period of time and we are already thinking about it," Dias said. "Today we lost three very important points, but it is football. We are not happy but looking forward. Today we were not at our best, but even so the team fought and gave everything and it was not enough."

On the dismissal of Laporte, Dias said: "It was a little bit strange to see a red. I was walking back thinking it was a yellow. I never thought [the referee] would go for a red but we have to accept it."

Thomas Muller hailed Bayern Munich's efforts after the Bundesliga leaders responded to a 5-0 thrashing by Borussia Monchengladbach with victory over Union Berlin.

Gladbach handed the Bavarian giants a shock demolition in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday, the first time Bayern had lost by a five-goal margin since December 1978.

However, Julian Nagelsmann's side responded well with a 5-2 win against Union, who had gone 21 home league games without defeat before facing the reigning champions.

Leroy Sane added to Robert Lewandowski's first-half brace to put Bayern three ahead before Niko Giesselmann and Julian Ryerson struck either side of Kingsley Coman's finish.

Muller, who has scored against all the other 17 current Bundesliga teams bar Bayern, then netted to seal victory while adding Union to his list – the 26th side he has scored a top-flight goal against.

The 32-year-old was one of the more vocal figures after the Gladbach thrashing and he once again defended his team-mates and club after Saturday's game.

"You don't have to work on every little detail now," Muller told reporters post-match.

"If FC Bayern crashes out of the cup with a 5-0 loss, you have to be able to learn something, we're not made of sugar.

"Sometimes there is criticism that is a little below the belt. But we are not standing here comfortably.

"We are still out of the cup, the competition was very important to us. It's certainly not all great now."

Muller also explained how Bayern were expecting a tough task, given Union's impressive home form and the fact they had taken 16 points after nine games – their best return, joint with last season, in a top-flight season.

"We had to show a reaction," he continued. "Here in this stadium you never know what's going to happen.

"We had to accept the duels and take responsibility that everyone wanted the ball.

"We played a very dominant game, we should have scored a few more goals.

"Then came the Union response, they fought back and showed even more aggressiveness, played long balls but we gave the right answers with the goals."

Carlo Ancelotti refused to criticise Brazil boss Tite for snubbing Vinicius Junior after the Real Madrid star's match-winning performance at Elche.

Vinicius took his tally to seven goals in 11 LaLiga games in 2021-22, more than he managed in his previous two seasons combined, as Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Martinez Valero.

The winger scored in each half, either side of Raul Guti's dismissal, to send Madrid back to the top of the table despite a nervy finish to the game following Pere Milla's late goal.

Amid his impressive form, Vinicius has been omitted from Tite's national squad for the World Cup qualifiers in November, with Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho surprisingly recalled for what could be his first Brazil game in over a year.

However, Ancelotti was not prepared to call out Tite for the decision as he praised Vinicius' commitment this season.

"I haven't done anything but play him and give him the confidence that he obviously deserves because he's playing very well and scoring goals," Ancelotti said.

"As I've said many times, I'm not a magician. I try to do my best and give the maximum confidence to all the players. The Brazil issue is a friend's decision. A great friend. I've nothing to answer.

"He has confidence now. Everything is going well for him. He's also getting used to playing a bit more inside because he has the speed to do it. It's one thing to play one-against-one on the wing and another to do it in the middle of the box. I believe that, little by little, he's learning and doing very well."

 

Vinicius' opener was set up by Mariano Diaz, who was given a surprise start in place of the rested Karim Benzema.

Luka Jovic, who is yet to start a game under Ancelotti, was again overlooked but the Madrid boss said the striker was not yet fully fit after a knee injury.

"Jovic had a problem with his knee in the last game he played," Ancelotti explained. "He still hasn't trained and he's not comfortable. That's why he didn't play. He had a sprain and he still hasn't recovered.

"I like the way Mariano played: he did well, he was committed, he gave a fantastic assist... he played a good game."

Madrid were in complete control of the contest until Milla capitalised on a mistake by Casemiro to give Elche's 10 men the chance to snatch a point.

Ancelotti felt Madrid should have managed the latter part of the game better, but he said there was little more the players could have given after playing late on Wednesday against Osasuna.

"We have to think that, after two and a half days, you can't play a game with intensity and energy," Ancelotti said. "So, you have to get into a middle block and try to look for opportunities when they come. This isn't a Real Madrid problem, it's a problem for all teams. You can't play at your highest level with two and a half days off.

"We didn't handle the end of the game well. If you're 2-0 up with an extra man, you can't think it's over because the referee still hasn't blown his whistle. We made it complicated for ourselves, but luckily we have three more points."

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