Atlético Madrid's struggles in the Spanish league continued with a 0-0 draw at Villarreal on Friday.
Atlético stayed in sixth place with 26 points from 16 matches, five points behind leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid, which both have two games in hand on Atletico entering the weekend — including one against each other on Dec. 18.
It was the fourth straight match without a win for Atlético in all competitions, and the third consecutive without scoring a goal.
Diego Simeone's team has won only one of its last eight matches in all tournaments, with its only triumph a 3-1 result at home against Espanyol in the Spanish league last month.
"The team is trying but we are not being lucky, or not being precise enough up front," Atlético defensive midfielder Jorge "Koke" Resurrección said. "We need to start scoring goals. The team is defending well, but we need to improve up front."
Atlético had one of the game's best chances on Friday when Portugal teenager João Félix hit the post with a low shot from outside the area in the first half. He also nearly scored with a close-range shot with only goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to beat. In the second half, Félix made a well-placed cross to Renan Lodi, but his 79th-minute strike from near the net sailed wide.
"We needed the victory," Simeone said. "But we are on the right track, we had some clear opportunities. We have to keep creating chances like we did tonight."
Atlético was coming off a 1-0 home loss against Barcelona, when it dominated during most of the match but conceded in the 86th. It also lost 1-0 at Juventus in the Champions League.
The team is without striker Diego Costa because of a back injury, with Álvaro Morata playing in the attack along with Félix.
"We are going through a difficult phase, but things will improve," Félix said.
Atlético has drawn five straight away matches in the league, earning only eight points from the last 30 possible points. It hasn't won in seven straight away matches in all tournaments.
The result extended Villarreal's winless streak to six matches. It had lost four of its last five games. The team is in 12th place, six points from the relegation zone.
"We deserved to win this match," Asenjo said. "We played perfectly defensively. If we keep getting clean sheets, things will eventually start working out in the attack."
Villarreal has lost only one of its last nine matches against Atlético in the league, a 2-0 result in February in Madrid.
Atlético had lost three of its last four matches at La Cerâmica Stadium in Villarreal.
Atlético went into the 15th round with only 25 points, its joint worst performance since Simeone took over in late 2011. It also had only 25 points at the same point in the 2016-17 season.
Chelsea won its appeal against a second FIFA transfer ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday, allowing the English club to sign new players in January.
FIFA imposed a one-year ban on Chelsea registering new signings for breaking rules that protect youth players. The club already served one half of the FIFA ban when it was unable to register new players in the off-season.
CAS published its verdict two weeks after an appeal hearing in Lausanne. The ruling was needed before the next European player trading window opens on Jan. 1.
A FIFA investigation ruled the Premier League club violated 150 rules protecting minors involving about 70 players. Chelsea also broke rules prohibiting third-party influence on players.
CAS said Chelsea violated rules in a "significantly smaller" number of cases than FIFA said, and that the violations were less serious than previously judged.
Only the outcome was published Friday, from a single judge who heard the case instead of the usual three-judge panel. CAS said the detailed reasons would be provided to the parties early next year.
CAS also halved the fine that FIFA imposed, so Chelsea will have to pay only 300,000 Swiss francs ($303,000).
Chelsea joined Real Madrid, in a previous case, in winning a reduction to their one-year transfer bans. In separate cases, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid lost appeals against one-year bans.
On the field, the case ended up revitalizing a Chelsea team which is fourth in the Premier League despite being denied the chance to sign expensive and experienced players in the off-season. Coach Frank Lampard promoted homegrown prospects such as forward Tammy Abraham, midfielder Mason Mount and defender Fikayo Tomori. All have played for England this season in European Championship qualifying games.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale practiced separately from the squad on Friday and is set to miss the team's match against Espanyol in the Spanish league on Saturday.
The Wales forward is also expected to miss Madrid's game at Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Bale is nursing an undisclosed injury sustained in last weekend's league match against Alavés. Spanish media said he has swelling in his left leg. The club did not release information on Bale's injuries.
Bale's video practicing golf swings in Friday's training session was widely published in Spain, coming after he recently publicly mocked Madrid by celebrating Wales' qualification for the 2020 European Championship behind a banner that read "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In That Order."
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said he is not going to prohibit any of his players from doing anything during their off time.
"They are all adults and know what they have to do," Zidane said.
Other Madrid players who did not practice with the rest of the squad on Friday included Eden Hazard, James Rodríguez, Marcelo, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez.
Madrid is tied with Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league standings with 31 points from 14 matches. The Catalan club is ahead on goal difference. Barcelona hosts Mallorca on Saturday.
Madrid has already secured a spot in the knockout round of the Champions League ahead of its visit to Club Brugge.
The Romanian soccer federation was charged with "racist behavior" on Friday after a Swedish player said he was targeted by the country's fans at a European Championship qualifying game.
UEFA's disciplinary panel will meet on Thursday to judge the case.
Romania already faced charges relating to an "illicit banner" and "illicit chants" brought after the game on Nov. 15 in Bucharest.
Romania faces more severe UEFA action because it was already on probation for previous incidents of offensive fan behavior at Euro 2020 qualifying matches.
Sweden's 2-0 win over Romania was briefly stopped by the referee to broadcast a warning after forward Alexander Isak claimed he heard racist abuse. The game was played at the National Stadium, which will host four Euro 2020 games in June.
Romania will play two home games at Euro 2020 if it qualifies for the tournament. If Romania wins at Iceland in the playoffs, it faces a second game at Bulgaria or Hungary for the spot in the final tournament.
Not since 1977 have things been this bad at Arsenal.
The struggling Gunners slumped to a 2-1 home loss to Brighton in the Premier League on Thursday, taking the team's winless streak to nine games in all competitions — its worst run in 42 years.
Interim coach Freddie Ljungberg clearly hasn't found a quick fix to all the problems that plagued the team under Unai Emery — who was fired last week — and the Gunners looked completely shorn of confidence against a Brighton side that dominated large parts of the game.
"I don't know what to say. I have the feeling that whatever we do it doesn't come out right," Arsenal right back Hector Bellerin said. "I am lost for words a little bit."
Arsenal is looking lost, period.
The team hasn't won in 60 days and allowed Brighton to outplay it for most of the first half.
Adam Webster put the visitors ahead in the 36th after Arsenal failed to clear the ball inside the box, giving Graham Potter's side a deserved halftime lead.
"We didn't show up in the first half, didn't work hard and want to play. You can't start like that," Ljungberg said. "At halftime we said 'This is not Arsenal, we have to give it a crack.'"
That halftime talk seemed to have worked as Arsenal came out with a renewed sense of urgency, and Alexandre Lacazette equalized with a looping header five minutes after the break.
Arsenal kept pushing forward and had spells of pressure, but instead it was Neal Maupay who headed home the winner at the other end in the 80th minute.
The loss leaves Arsenal mired in 10th place after 15 games, 10 points outside the top four.
In Thursday's other game, Newcastle was helped by yet another disputed VAR decision as it ended Sheffield United's seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory.
Newcastle took the lead through Allan Saint-Maximin's header in the 15th minute, before Jonjo Shelvey netted a bizarre second midway through the second half.
United's defenders switched off completely after the linesman flagged for offside when Andy Carroll flicked the ball on toward Shelvey. However, the referee waved play on and the midfielder slotted the ball into the net when he was clear through on goal, with goalkeeper Dean Henderson making little effort to stop it.
A video review showed that Carroll was onside, and the goal stood.
It was the hosts' first defeat since losing at home to Liverpool in September.
The win brings Newcastle level with Sheffield and Arsenal on 19 points in midtable.