Un­beaten Barcelona and Va­len­cia set the pace

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Spanish Football - By Dave Red­shaw

PACO ALCÁCER stole the show in Lionel Messi’s 600th game for BARCELONA as his two goals were enough to see off SEVILLA 2-1 at the Camp Nou. Barça were re­warded for a blis­ter­ing start when Alcácer took ad­van­tage of an er­ror from Sevilla cap­tain Ser­gio Es­cud­ero, who need­lessly lost pos­ses­sion, to coolly slot the ball un­der David So­ria af­ter 23 min­utes. The An­dalu­sians re­sponded strongly af­ter the break and drew level on the hour mark through Guido Pizarro, but Alcácer made sure of vic­tory six min­utes later when turn­ing home Ivan Rakitic’s per­fect cross at near post. The Cata­lans re­main top, four points clear of sec­ond­placed Va­len­cia.

VA­LEN­CIA recorded a sev­enth straight league win and re­main un­beaten this sea­son af­ter com­fort­ably dis­pos­ing of LEGANÉS 3-0 at Mestalla. Dani Parejo opened the scor­ing with a free-kick on 14 min­utes, prompt­ing calls for his in­clu­sion in the Spain squad, be­fore Ro­drigo Moreno dou­ble Los Che’s lead with a header into the top cor­ner 19 min­utes from time. Santi Mina put the ic­ing on the cake for the hosts in the 82nd minute by con­vert­ing from the penalty spot af­ter a foul by Diego Rico. The re­sult was made all the more im­pres­sive by Leganés pos­sess­ing La Liga’s sec­ondbest de­fence be­fore the game.

REAL MADRID re­turned to win­ning ways with a 3-0 win over LAS PALMAS at the San­ti­ago Bern­abéu. Los Blan­cos had lost their last two games, against Girona and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, but Casemiro got them on their way af­ter 41 min­utes when he headed home the open­ing goal. Mar­cos Asen­sio made it 2-0 shortly af­ter half-time, strik­ing a fe­ro­cious first-time ef­fort from long range, and Isco rounded off the scor­ing in the 74th minute when he slot­ted in Ron­aldo’s low de­liv­ery. Real are now third, level on points with Atlético Madrid, and eight points be­hind lead­ers Barcelona.

Newly-pro­moted GIRONA moved into the top half of the ta­ble af­ter fol­low­ing up last week’s shock win over Real Madrid with a 2-1 suc­cess at LEVANTE. Borja Gar­cía opened the scor­ing for Girona on 58 min­utes with a rocket shot into the top cor­ner, be­fore for­mer Mid­dles­brough striker Cristhian Stu­ani dou­bled the ad­van­tage six mintues from time when tuck­ing home from close range for his sixth goal of the sea­son. Enes Unal claimed a late con­so­la­tion for the hosts with a pow­er­ful header but Levante slipped to a sec­ond home de­feat this term.

CELTA VIGO ended a run of suc­ces­sive de­feats by sweep­ing aside ATH­LETIC BILBAO 3-1 at Balaí­dos. The sides were level on 11 points at kick­off, but it was Celta who raced into a three-goal lead in­side the open­ing 26 min­utes. Sergi Gómez got the ball rolling af­ter 15 min­utes and a brace from Spain for­ward Iago As­pas ef­fec­tively killed the game. Los Leones did pull one back just be­fore the break through Raúl Gar­cía, but that was as good as it got for Ath­letic, who have now lost four in a row.

REAL SO­CIEDAD emerged 3-1 vic­tors at Anoeta in the Basque derby against EIBAR, who have now gone seven games with­out a win. A Wil­lian José header from a right-wing cross and Ad­nan Januzaj’s tap-in put La Real out of sight within 28 min­utes, while Mikel Oyarz­a­bal killed off the visi­tors once and for all with a goal al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter the restart. Joan Jordán pulled one back on 71 min­utes for Los Armeros, but they have not picked up three points since a 1-0 de­feat of Leganés in mid-Septem­ber.

VILLARREAL made it four wins in five league games un­der Javi Calleja with a 2-0 vic­tory over strug­gling MÁLAGA at the Es­ta­dio de la Cerámica. How­ever, it took un­til the 68th minute for the Yel­low Sub­ma­rine to fi­nally break down a re­silient Málaga de­fence, Ni­cola San­sone head­ing home from close in, and the Ital­ian was on the mark again eight min­utes later when rac­ing clear to slot home. It was enough to move the Yel­low Sub­ma­rine into the top five, while Los Blan­quiazules fell to bot­tom and are still with­out a goal on their trav­els this sea­son.

REAL BETIS needed to come from two goals down to sal­vage a 2-2 draw with GETAFE at the Ben­ito Vil­la­marín. Los Béti­cos’ hopes of fifth home win in six games looked to be in tat­ters dur­ing a first half in which Markel Ber­gara net­ted for the Madrid side and a goal from Fran­cisco Por­tillo – against his for­mer team – seem­ingly fired Getafe to a sec­ond straight win. None­the­less, a sec­ond away win of the cam­paign proved be­yond them as Betis boss Quique Setién saw his 63rd-minute in­tro­duc­tion of An­to­nio Sanabria and Ryad Boude­bouz pay div­i­dends. Sanabria halved the deficit when he drilled home a low shot just five min­utes af­ter com­ing on for his sev­enth goal of the cam­paign, be­fore fel­low sub­sti­tute Boude­bouz crashed home the equaliser with three min­utes re­main­ing.

ATLÉTICO MADRID needed a goal in stop­page time to see off DEPORTIVO LA CORUÑA 1-0 in a hard-fought con­test at Ri­a­zor. Af­ter a first half which saw nei­ther team man­age a shot on tar­get, there was not much more en­ter­tain­ment af­ter the restart, with An­toine Griez­mann miss­ing Atleti’s best chance early in the sec­ond pe­riod. How­ever, Diego Sime­one’s men grabbed all three points when Thomas Partey found the top cor­ner in the 91st minute with a side-footed shot. The re­sult earned Los Ro­ji­blan­cos a sec­ond win in nine matches and ended a run of three con­sec­u­tive draws in the league and Copa del Rey.

ALAVÉS lifted them­selves off the bot­tom with a 1-0 home tri­umph over

– their first of the sea­son at Men­di­zor­roza. Chris­tian San­tos needed barely a minute to se­cure the three points for Gianni De Bi­asi’s team, the Venezue­lan striker’s left-footed shot from in­side the penalty area find­ing the net fol­low­ing a cor­ner. Es­panyol’s cause was not helped when de­fender Mario Hermoso was sent off five min­utes be­fore half-time for a sec­ond book­able of­fence.

Paco Alcácer stole the show in Barcelona's win over Sevilla ES­PANYOL

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