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Title race closes up in La Liga

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Madrid, April 13: The gap at the top of Spanish football league La Liga between FC Barcelo and Real Madrid rrowed to just two points after Madrid won while Barcelo were only able to draw away to Sevilla.

Real Madrid kicked off the weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Eibar despite resting a host of players with an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League tie away to Atletico Madrid, reports Xinhua.

Cristiano Roldo opened the scoring with a free-kick (21st minute) after Eibar keeper Xabi Irureta allowed the ball to deceive him. It was the first free-kick Roldo had scored since last April.

Javier Herndez, enjoying a rare start, doubled Madrid’s lead with a header from an Alvaro Arbeloa cross 10 minutes later and Jese Rodriguez rounded off the scoring with just seven minutes remaining.

That meant Barcelo kicked-off in Sevilla knowing they needed to win away to a side that had not lost in front of their fans in 31 league matches in order to maintain their four-point advantage at the top of the table.

Barcelo got a perfect start and played perhaps their best 30 minutes of football of the season during which they took a two-goal lead through Lionel Messi and a Neymar free-kick before Sevilla got a lifeline seven minutes before the break when Claudio Bravo failed to keep out Ever Banega’s 30-yard shot.

The home team domited the second half with a magnificent display of physical football. But it looked as if Barcelo would hold on for a vital win until Jose Antonio Reyes intercepted Pique’s pass from defence, fed the ball to Alex Vidal, who crossed for substitute Kevin Gameiro to sweep home.

That draw brings Sevilla right into the battle for third and fourth place after Atletico Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw in Malaga.

Atletico Madrid didn’t rest any players and took the lead (25th) thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s 17th league goal of the season after Carlos Kameni’s error from a long throw.

A Ferndo Torres own goal and a smart finish from Samu turned the score into Malaga’s favour. But Griezmann’s second of the game, scored from a clear offside position, assured a share of the points which is of no great help to either side.

Celta Vigo’s 19-year-old striker Santi Mi was the hero of the weekend when he scored four goals in his side’s 6-1 dismantling of Rayo Vallecano while Almeria won a vital relegation duel 3-0 at home to Grada.

In comparison to Saturday, Sunday produced less drama. Getafe and Villarreal drew 1-1 in a game which will be remembered for Mateo Musacchio’s horrible broken leg which he suffered after seeming to get his foot caught in the turf while bringing the ball out from defence.

Sergio Garcia’s goal five minutes before halftime was enough to give Espanyol a 1-0 win at home to Athletic Club Bilbao while Victor Sanchez’s first game in-charge at Deportivo la Coru ended in a 2-2 draw away to Real Sociedad, despite Chori Castro scoring one as the home side twice took lead.

Filly, Cordoba’s rapid return to the second division was all but confirmed when they lost 0-2 at home to fellow strugglers Elche, who take a huge stride away from the danger zone with their triumph. IANS

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