Real Madrid beat Valencia to close gap to Barcelona

MADRID (Agencies): Real Madrid beat 10-man Valencia to cut Barcelona’s lead at the top of La Liga to five points.

Los Blancos took the lead through a stunning left-footed strike from Marco Asensio in the 52nd minute. Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr celebrated his 200th Real appearance with his side’s second goal two minutes later.

Gabriel Paulista was shown a straight red card for the visitors in the 72nd minute for kicking out at Vinicius. Antonio Rudiger thought he had opened the scoring for the hosts in first-half stoppage time when he headed home from Luka Modric’s cross.

However, the goal was ruled out after a video assistant referee intervention for a Karim Benzema foul on Yunus Musah in the box. France forward Benzema, 35, was substituted on the hour mark and walked off the pitch holding the back of his thigh.
Real travel to Liverpool on 21 February for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, but manager Carlo Ancelotti said Benzema’s injury was “very light”.

Ancelotti told DAZN: “This is what happens when you play every three days and there is no time to recover.”

Neymar ruled out of PSG’s game against Toulouse

PARIS: Neymar will miss his second straight game for Paris Saint-Germain after being ruled out of Saturday’s match at home to Toulouse because of a groin problem, the club announced.

The Brazilian has been receiving treatment and training individually this week. He sat out Wednesday’s 3-1 victory in Montpellier, in which Kylian Mbappe picked up a thigh injury. Mbappe faces three weeks on the sidelines and will be unavailable for the first leg of PSG’s Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich on February 14.
Neymar is expected to resume full training next week, as is Sergio Ramos who also came off against Montpellier after suffering a groin strain.