The race in the English Premier League just got a lot more interesting after Wednesday’s result, which saw Chelsea’s impressive 13-match winning streak come to a halt at the hands of Dele Alli and Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The loss by the league leader tightened the gap between first place and sixth to just 10 points, with Spurs leapfrogging from fifth to third and trailing the Blues by seven points.
In Spain, the Copa del Rey round of 16 fixture pitted Real Madrid against last season’s finalist, Sevilla, in a first-leg match. James Rodriguez shook off a lackluster 2016 with a first-half brace en route to a 3-0 win by the Galacticos.
The win extended Real Madrid’s unbeaten streak to 29 matches across all competitions, with its most recent loss coming in the club’s preseason opener in the International Champions Cup last summer.
Here is a closer look at the two matches on Wednesday:
RED-HOT DELE ALLI ENDS CHELSEA’S FINE RUN
For the third consecutive Premier League match, Dele Alli recorded a brace.
That is certainly a welcoming sign for Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, as Spurs have never lost a match when Alli has found the back of the net.
On Wednesday, the 20-year-old midfielder opened the scoring moments before halftime as he headed home a cross from Christian Eriksen to beat a leaping Thibaut Courtois. Nine minutes after the restart, it was deja vu as Alli and Eriksen connected again for another aerial strike to give the home team a comfortable cushion.
The two goals give Alli 10 total on the season through 19 appearances. He tallied just as many last season through 33 matches.
JAMES RODRIGUEZ SHAKES OFF 2016 WOES WITH QUICK GOALS
Once the darling of the soccer world following his performance during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, James Rodriguez has found his role slowly diminishing at his dream club Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane’s leadership.
Rodriguez saw little time on the pitch in 2016, but in his first start of the new year, the 25-year-old Colombian midfielder found the back of the net just 11 minutes in.
Following a giveaway by Sevilla in its defending third, Rodriguez found space to unleash a low curler that tucked inside the bottom left corner from just outside the box to put the hosts ahead.
In the 29th minute, Raphael Varane headed home a cross from Toni Kroos on a corner kick to double his side’s lead. Rodriguez then capped the scoring in the 44th with a penalty.
The two goals for Rodriguez matched the total he had for Real Madrid during the 2016-17 season so far, with his most recent scoring coming on Nov. 30, also in Copa del Rey action.