La Liga: Barca move second with solitary-goal win over Sevilla
Barcelona, April 4 (IANS): FC Barcelona moved into second place in La Liga thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Sevilla. Pedri’s spectacular goal in the 72nd minute decided the result on Sunday night and it was a goal worthy of winning any match, as he controlled the ball, beat two defenders and sent a diagonal shot into the corner.
Both sides had chances, with Gerard Pique’s header against the bar the best of all, but Barcelona did just enough to deserve the win that leaves them 12 points behind Real Madrid with a game in hand, Xinhua reports.
On Saturday, Real Madrid won controversially away to Celta Vigo in a game that saw referee Gonzalez Fuentes award Madrid three penalties and rule out a Celta goal for offside.
Karim Benzema put Madrid ahead in the 19th minute from the penalty spot after Nolito clipped Eder Militao’s heel as he was preparing to shoot.
Fuentes then ruled out an equaliser for Celta, deciding that the offside Iago Aspas had interfered with play when Thiago Galhardo’s header ended in the back of the net.
Celta equalised in the 52nd minute when Nolito scored from close range, but although Benzema saw a penalty saved in the 63rd minute after Rodrygo had gone down, the Frenchman scored the third penalty of the afternoon after Ferland Mendy was judged to have been fouled on the edge of the Celta area.
Joao Felix and Luis Suarez both scored twice as Atletico Madrid won 4-1 at home to Alaves.
Joao put Atletico ahead after 11 minutes, although Alaves dug in and deserved Gonzalo Escalante’s 63rd minute equaliser.
Atletico had enough to come back to win the game, with Suarez scoring a 75th-minute penalty before Joao Felix scored a third with eight minutes left to play, and Suarez added a fourth in the last minute.
Atletico move third after Sevilla’s defeat, while Real Betis remain fifth, four points behind their neighbors, after two first-half goals from Juanmi put them on the way to a 4-1 win at home to Osasuna.
Ante Budimir pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 65th minute, but a moment of magic from William Carvalho made it 3-1 and Alex Moreno added fourth with two minutes left to play.
Athletic Bilbao moved to within a point of the top seven with a 2-1 win at home to Elche with a spectacular volley from Alex Berenguer and Asier Villalibre’s first goal of the campaign.
Athletic controlled the game for 90 minutes, but had to survive a few nervous moments at the end after Jose Antonio scored Elche’s only chance of the game in injury-time.
Cadiz edged a point further away from the bottom three with a 0-0 draw away to Valencia in a game of very few chances, while Granada saved a point with another controversial penalty in a 2-2 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano.
Mario Suarez headed a 94th-minute cross clear, but VAR gave Granada a penalty from a handball which Luis Milla scored to complete a comeback from 2-0 down.
Alejandro Catena and Sergi Guardiola had put Rayo 2-0 up in the first 17 minutes, but after Santi Comesania was harshly sent off, Jorge Molina pulled the first goal back for the home side.
Borja Mayoral’s 81st minute goal gave Getafe a 1-0 win at home to Mallorca, who improved in Javier Aguirre’s debut as first-team coach and were unlucky to be reduced to 10 men when Franco Russo was shown a second yellow card for handball, which also saw Getafe given a penalty.
Mallorca keeper Sergio Rico saved the penalty and the follow up, but was helpless as Mayoral slid the ball across him.
Two moments of second-half magic from captain Jose Luis Morales gave Levante a 2-0 win against Villarreal to lift them off the bottom of the table.