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Sevilla top in Spain after Barca draw in Valencia

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-10-08 09:52
Leo Messi celebrates goal with teammates Luis Suarez during the week 8 of La Liga match between Valencia CF and FC Barcelona at Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain on Octo 7, 2018. [Photo/IC]

MADRID - FC Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw away to Valencia in the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday night to surrender their leadership of the Liga Santander on the eve of the forthcoming international break.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde made just one change to the side which won away to Tottenham on Wednesday with Thomas Vermaelen replacing Clement Lenglet in central defense.

Valencia took the lead in front of a packed ground after just two minutes after Ezequiel Garay scored from a loose ball in the Barca area following a corner.

Leo Messi leveled the scores with a left foot shot in the 23rd minute, but despite an entertaining game in which Barca had the best chances there were no further goals.

The reigning Champions have taken just 3 points from a possible 12, although the visit to Valencia is traditionally one of their toughest games of the season.

Barca's draw allowed Sevilla to go to the top of the table as a result of their 2-1 home win against Celta Vigo earlier in a game which ended shortly before Barca's kicked off.

Pablo Sarabia's header put the home side ahead in the 39th minute and things got a lot easier for the home side when Nestor Araujo was sent off for Celta in the 58th minute.

Wissan Ben Yedder continued his excellent recent form with Sevilla's second goal just three minutes later and although Soufiane Boufal pulled one back for Celta with five minutes left, it was too little too late for the visitors, meaning Sevilla have now won their last four league games.

Angel Correa's 74th minute goal decided a tight match between Atletico Madrid and Betis. The game was a contrast in styles between Atletico's tight defensive organization and Betis' expansive passing game.

Correa scored the only goal of the game to take Atletico up to third place 16 minutes from time following a pass from midfielder Thomas Partey.

Newly promoted Valladolid's excellent run of form continued with a 1-0 win at home to Huesca thanks to a 28th minute goal from Ruben Alcaraz.

Valladolid have won their last three games, while Huesca have now gone seven matches without a win.

Espanyol took advantage of some tired Villarreal legs as they claimed a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Hernan Perez (a former Villarreal player), Sergi Darder and Pablo Piatti, with Karl Ekambi scoring a consolation goal for the visitors.

Saturday saw Real Madrid's crisis deepen as they conceded a 95th minute goal to crash 1-0 away to Alaves in the Mendizorroza Stadium where they had not lost a league game since 1931.

Madrid have now failed to score in around 650 minutes of football, with their last goal coming in the 40th minute of a win at home to Espanyol on September 22nd.

Julen Lopetegui's side failed to create chances and an injury time header from Alaves captain, Manu Garcia condemned them to their third defeat in four games.

Saturday also saw Leganes claim their second win of the campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Rayo Vallecano thanks to Carrillo's 14th minute goal.

Eibar won an exciting game 3-2 away to Girona. Eibar scored first through a 12th minute Charles penalty, only for two goals from Cristhian Stauni in the 40th and 42nd minute to turn the score around.

However, Anaitz Arbilla's header in the fifth minute of first half injury time levelled the scores and Sergi Enrich gave Eibar the win with another header with 18 minutes remaining.

Elsewhere, Levante won their second game in a week when Enis Bardhi's 60th minute free kick giving them all three points away to Getafe.


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