Barcelona re­gain top spot as Sevilla are held by Alavés

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Spanish Football -

By Dave Redshaw BARCELONA re­gained top spot as Ger­ard Piqué and young­ster Car­les Aleña scored to se­cure a 2-0 win over strug­gling VIL­LAR­REAL at the Camp Nou. Barca, miss­ing sev­eral reg­u­lars through in­jury, were far from at their best and the Yel­low Sub­ma­rine should have led early on, with Ger­ard Moreno hit­ting a post af­ter hold­ing off cen­tre­back Cle­ment Len­glet. How­ever, Piqué headed in Ous­mane Dem­bele’s rightwing cross for the opener on 36 min­utes. Lionel Messi was de­nied a se­cond for the hosts soon af­ter when Ser­gio Asenjo clawed his close-range ef­fort away, and it took Ernesto Valverde’s team un­til three min­utes from time to calm any nerves when sub­sti­tute Aleña latched onto Messi’s pass to clip the ball over Asenjo for his first league goal.

SEVILLA sur­ren­dered their lead at the top of La Liga af­ter only manag­ing a 1-1 draw at high-fly­ing ALAVÉS, who re­main in fourth place. The Vi­to­ria out­fit went ahead when Jony found the back of the net at the far post on 37 min­utes, with the Sevilla play­ers ap­peal­ing for off­side. The vis­i­tors strug­gled to re­spond but Wis­sam Ben Yed­der res­cued a point with 12 min­utes re­main­ing, fir­ing home af­ter get­ting on the end of a ball from sub­sti­tute Pablo Sara­bia.

REAL MADRID made amends for last week’s shock loss at Eibar with a 2-0 vic­tory over VA­LEN­CIA at the San­ti­ago Bern­abéu. Los Blan­cos gained an early ad­van­tage when Daniel Wass in­ad­ver­tently headed a Dani Car­va­jal cross into his own goal on eight min­utes, although Va­len­cia had two great chances to equalise through Santi Mina and Gabriel be­fore Lu­cas Vázquez got a se­cond for Madrid with seven min­utes left. The winger slot­ted in his first league goal of the sea­son from Karim Ben­zema’s cross to hand boss San­ti­ago So­lari a sixth win in seven games since tak­ing charge in Oc­to­ber. De­feat for Va­len­cia leaves them 14th while Madrid move into fifth.

HUESCA re­main rooted to the foot of the ta­ble and seven points from safety af­ter an Iago As­pas dou­ble con­demned them to a 2-0 de­feat at CELTA VIGO. The vis­i­tors had their chances in a lively first half but were made to pay for their profli­gacy in front of goal when As­pas grabbed the first for Celta seven min­utes be­fore the break. And it was the for­mer Liver­pool man again on 77 min­utes who sealed the points for the Gali­cians.

LEGANÉS gained a much-needed win fol­low­ing a 4-2 suc­cess against a be­low par VAL­LADOLID at the Es­ta­dio José Zor­rilla. Dim­itris Slo­vas and Ós­car Ro­dríguez found the net to hand Leganés a two-goal lead be­fore half­time, be­fore Toni Villa re­duced the deficit five min­utes into the se­cond half. A Guido Car­rillo dou­ble then put the game be­yond the home side, with Enes Unal´s stop­page time goal lit­tle more than a con­so­la­tion.

RAYO VAL­LE­CANO earned a first win in 10 games with a 1-0 vic­tory over EIBAR at the Campo de Fút­bol de Val­le­cas cour­tesy of a goal from cap­tain Adri Em­barba. The Basques dom­i­nated the open­ing pe­riod but fell be­hind seven min­utes af­ter the restart, Em­barba fin­ish­ing from a tight an­gle af­ter Alex Moreno de­liv­ered the ball to the near post hav­ing bro­ken down the left.

GETAFE moved into the top half with a con­vinc­ing 3-0 home win over ES­PANYOL. The clash re­mained goal­less at half-time af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing 45 min­utes, which in­cluded a flood­light fail­ure, and it took a piece of skill from Jorgé Molina on 55 min­utes to break the dead­lock, the striker crash­ing an un­stop­pable shot past Diego López. Jaime Mata dou­bled the Madrid side’s lead 10 min­utes later and left-back Vi­torino An­tunes made cer­tain of the points by wrap­ping things up with a late strike.

REAL BETIS got back to win­ning ways af­ter last week’s de­feat to Vil­lar­real with a 1-0 home win over REAL SOCIEDAD in a keenly-fought con­test. The af­ter­noon got off to a bad start for Los Béti­cos when An­drés Guardado needed to be re­placed by Ryad Boude­bouz, but thanks to an as­sist from William Car­valho they took the lead just af­ter the half-hour mark through Ju­nior Firpo. A flurry of yel­low cards in the se­cond half en­sured the game be­came some­what scrappy, yet the An­dalu­sians held on to record a third home win of the cam­paign.

ATLÉTICO MADRID con­tinue to strug­gle away from home as they were held to a 1-1 draw at GIRONA. Diego Sime­one’s men have just one vic­tory on their trav­els and did not cre­ate much in terms of chances in the first half, although Saúl went clos­est to open­ing their ac­count with a shot from in­side the area that hit a post. The game came to life within 60 sec­onds of the restart when Cristhian Stu­ani scored from the penalty spot af­ter Jan Oblak was ad­judged to have brought him down in­side the box. While the ref­eree ini­tially gave a free­kick out­side the area, VAR was used to show the of­fence had taken place in­side and Stu­ani con­verted for his 11th goal in 12 games. It looked as if it might prove enough to take the points, but Diego Costa brought the ball down in the 83rd minute and Girona de­fender Jonas Ra­malho put the ball into his own goal when at­tempt­ing to clear.

ATH­LETIC BILBAO’s sea­son goes from bad to worse and they have still won just one league game af­ter go­ing down 3-0 at LE­VANTE. Af­ter a dis­jointed first half Chema got the opener in stop­page time, prod­ding the ball home fol­low­ing an ef­fort from José Luis Mo­rales. José Cam­paña made it two on the hour af­ter an­other ef­fort from Mo­rales, and the same player was in­volved again 10 min­utes later when find­ing Roger Martí to add a third and make the game safe. Ath­letic’s mis­ery was com­pounded min­utes af­ter­wards with Peru No­laskoain re­ceiv­ing a red card for a dan­ger­ous tackle. The Basques, who have spent their en­tire his­tory in the top flight, are stuck in the drop zone three points from safety.

Real Betis' de­fender Ju­nior Firpo (L) cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the open­ing goal against Real Sociedad

Real Madrid's Lu­cas Vazquez cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing the 2-0 lead

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