It was a familiar story at the Bernabeu as Sergio Ramos scored a late header after Cristiano Ronaldo scored a crucial headed equaliser after Zinedine Zidane’s side went behind for the fifth time in seven games. Keylor Navas’ own goal was just his latest error after referee Matheu Lahoz incomprehensibly refused to send off the Costa-Rican for a key foul on Darko Brasanac when through on goal. Then, the ‘keeper flopped and flailed before palming a tame shot from Tony Sanabria into his own net. With the opportunity to move back to the top of La Liga though, Madrid did not disappoint and it was Navas whose vital late save kept his side in front.
They only had that opportunity after a much changed Barcelona side fell to their first defeat at La Riazor since 2008. Having won this fixture 8-0 last season, the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Andres Iniesta and Neymar were rested and it was Stoke loanee Joselu who proved decisive. The striker opened the scoring in the first half pouncing on some woeful defending, only for Luis Suarez to equalise just after half-time. The spirit of their midweek comeback against PSG could not be mustered though and Alex Bergantinos gave Pepe Mel’s side the lead again as they remain unbeaten under their new boss.
Third placed Sevilla were also held by lowly Leganes as the Madrid minnows fought to earn a point in their battle to climb away from the relegation zone. Gabriel Appelt’s header only three minutes in gave them the advantage, and whilst Stevan Jovetic scored before half time to draw the two sides level, they could not do enough to come away with the three points in a flat display ahead of their Champions League tie against Leicester this week.
The greater concern for Atletico Madrid is securing Champions League status next season, and they once again relied upon Antoine Griezmann to score a late winner as they traveled to a resurgent Granada side. The home team were playing more than well enough to earn a draw but Diego Simeone’s side robbed them of that with their winner with only 10 minutes left on the clock.
In another crucial tie, the Basque derby saw Real Sociedad fall to a surprise defeat as Athletic Bilbao saw them off with goals from Raul Garcia from the penalty spot and Inaki Williams. The duo made the difference as Eusebio and co. suffered a real blow in their hopes to secure Champions League football next season, with the rain typifying the emotions of many fans in San Sebastian.
Celta Vigo may have had their last hopes of European football ruled out as they lost out against Villarreal as they rested a number of key players. The likes of Iago Aspas were on the bench as Eduardo Berizzo prioritised their Europa League clash against Krasnodar on Thursday but the Galicians were unfortunate as Roberto Soldado scored the only goal despite having seen red for a late and high challenge earlier on in the first half.
Malaga were in action in the south of the country, but they could not experience the kind of form that Deportivo A Coruna have under their new boss, as Michel made his debut in the dugout at the Rosaleda in a 2-1 defeat to Alaves with Edgar pouncing to record an injury time winner which sent Malaga into the bottom five for the first time this season.
This weekend’s results in full can be found below:
RCD Espanyol 4-3 UD Las Palmas
Valencia 1-1 Sporting Gijon
Sevilla 1-1 Leganes
Malaga 1-2 Deportivo Alaves
Granada 0-1 Atletico Madrid
Real Sociedad 0-2 Athletic Bilbao
Deportivo A Coruna 2-1 Barcelona
Celta de Vigo 0-1 Villarreal
Real Madrid 2-1 Real Betis
Osasuna vs Eibar (to be played on Monday night)
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