Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich kept their hopes of a treble alive after beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday to win the German Cup for the 20th time.

David Alaba gave Bayern the lead with a free-kick in the 16th minute after Robert Lewandowski was fouled at the edge of the box.

Bayern doubled the lead when Joshua Kimmich released Serge Gnabry down the right channel and the winger’s uncontested shot nestled into the bottom corner for the 24-year-old’s 20th goal of the season.

Lewandowski made it 3-0 when he let fly a thunderous strike from range straight at Lukas Hradecky and the Finnish goalkeeper fumbled, to give the Polish striker his 50th goal of the season in the 59th minute.

Leverkusen opened their account four minutes later when Sven Bender headed home at the far post from a corner kick but it was too little, too late as Lewandowski grabbed a second with a chip over the keeper in the 89th minute.

There was late drama when VAR spotted a handball in the box in stoppage time to award Leverkusen a penalty. Kai Havertz’s consolation strike into the top corner proved to be the final kick of the game.

In Serie A Cristiano Ronaldo finally scored with a free-kick to help Juventus beat Torino 4-1 in a match in which Gianluigi Buffon set the Serie A appearance record.

Ronaldo scored Juve’s third goal to take his tally to 25 league goals this season, four behind Lazio forward Ciro Immobile who leads the Serie A goalscoring charts. It was the 46th club goal Ronaldo had scored in his career direct from a free-kick but his first in nearly two seasons with Juventus and on his 43rd attempt. He became the first Juventus player since 1961 to score 25 league goals in a season.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we deserved to win,” said Ronaldo. “I was waiting to score on a free-kick, I’m happy, but it’s important to win regardless of who scores. We are improving.”

Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado had scored in the first half before Andrea Belotti’s penalty reduced the deficit. Torino defender Koffi Djidji netted an own goal late on.

The Turin derby was Buffon’s 648th appearance in Italy’s top flight, moving the 42-year-old keeper one ahead of the Milan great Paolo Maldini, who set the record in 2009.

Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon did not manage to keep a clean sheet on the day he broke the Serie A record. Photograph: Chris Ricco/Getty Images

“It wasn’t a problem to wait for the record game: I would have waited even longer, because this is a delicate moment of the season,” said Buffon. “I am well and I can still play at a good level. And if you are enthusiastic, it is right to continue. I think of the future month after month. The Champions League? It is something that buzzes in the head, having often come close.”

Buffon had only a couple of saves to make before being beaten by Belotti’s penalty in first-half stoppage time.

A good day for Juventus was made even better when second-placed Lazio were beaten 3-0 at home by Milan in the evening kick-off, meaning Juve’s lead is seven points with eight games remaining. Goals by Hakan Calhanoglu, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic sealed the points for Milan, who leapfrog Napoli into sixth place.

In Spain, Celta Vigo were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Betis after the visitors were denied a second-half penalty by VAR.

Nolito gave Celta the lead in the first half with a clever free-kick from a tight angle. Betis were awarded a penalty in the second half when Rafinha made contact with Andrés Guardado’s foot as he took his shot at the edge of the box but the referee overturned the decision following a three-minute VAR review.

However, Betis were the better side and Zouhair Feddal controlled a deep cross from a set-piece play to fire home the equaliser.

Meanwhile, Real Valladolid beat Deportivo Alavés 1-0 in a mid-table clash, while Valencia drew 2-2 at Granada.

source: theguardian.com


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