Madrid (Spain) : FC Barcelona opened an 11-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table thanks to a 1-0 win away to Villarreal. Pedri’s first-half goal on Sunday night, which came after a neat flick from Robert Lewandowski, was enough to exert pressure on Real Madrid, who play on Wednesday night after their success in the Club World Cup on Saturday night.
Once again Barca produced an excellent defensive performance to keep Villarreal at bay, although the home side pushed for an equalising goal in the closing minutes.
Memphis Depay’s 89th-minute goal for Atletico Madrid, plus a series of saves from Jan Oblak and a stroke of fortune when Iago Aspas hit the crossbar from a free kick, gifted Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win away to Celta Vigo.
Atletico had to play the last 20 minutes with a player less after Stefan Savic was sent off for pulling back Haris Serefovic when he was the last defender. Depay decided the game when he turned home Yannick Carrasco’s deflected shot with time running out.
Valladolid and Osasuna drew 0-0 in a game that was more entertaining than the final score may suggest, while Getafe saved a point with a 1-1 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano in a game where it looked as if everything was going against them.
Mauro Arambarri scored an own goal to put Rayo ahead in the 38th minute and Borja Mayoral then wasted a great chance to level in the 51st minute, when he sent his penalty over the bar.
Carles Alena was sent off two minutes later after being shown a second yellow card, to leave Getafe with 10 men, before luck finally shone on the home side when Enes Unal scored the equalizer.
The striker charged down a clearance, with the fortune that the ball bounced into the Rayo net. Getafe keeper David Soria was then Getafe’s hero after saving an 85th-minute penalty from Rayo striker Raul de Tomas.
Athletic Club Bilbao made it two wins from two games as they beat Valencia 2-1 in the Mestalla Stadium. Samu Castellejo’s 17th-minute goal put Valencia ahead, but Nico Williams equalized with a great solo on the half-hour and Oihan Sancet scored the winner after good work from Inaki Williams in the 72nd minute.
Valencia worked hard for an equalizing goal, but Athletic’s Spain international keeper, Unai Simon kept them a bay with a string of fine saves that leaves Valencia in the bottom three, with problems on and off the pitch.
Sevilla continue to improve and Jorge Sampaoli’s side won 2-0 at home to Mallorca thanks to first-half goals from in-form striker Youssef En-Nesyri and winger Bryan Gil, who netted his first goal since returning to the club on loan from Tottenham.
Betis won a thrilling match 3-2 away to Almeria after Andreas Guardado scored the winning goal in the 70th minute. Betis twice led through Rodri and Sergio Canales, but Almeria twice fought back through Luis Suarez and Samuel Costa, before Guardado’s winner.
On Friday night, Cadiz claimed three vital points in their battle against relegation with a 2-0 win at home to Girona thanks to first-half goals from Gonzalo Escalante and Sergio Guardiola, who scored his first goal for the club, in the 34th minute.
Espanyol entertain Real Sociedad on Monday, while Real Madrid take on Elche on Wednesday night.
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