Home Sports Real Madrid return to top, Barca and Atletico drop points

Real Madrid return to top, Barca and Atletico drop points

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Real Madrid

Real Madrid enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 win at home to Villarreal to return to the top of La Liga, but risk losing defender David Alaba for an extended period after he was carried off in the first half with what appeared a serious knee injury.

Madrid took advantage of the fact that Girona don’t play Alaves until Monday, with Jude Bellingham putting them ahead in the 24th minute with a header from a Luka Modric cross.

Rodrygo then doubled their lead from close range following a corner, with a goal initially chalked off for offside but reinstated after a VAR check.

As well as Alaba’s injury, Villarreal also lost two players, with Gerard Moreno limping off after a collision with Alaba, and Alex Baena injured after a challenge from Lucas Vazquez.

Jose Luis Morales pulled a goal back for Villarreal 10 minutes after the break, finding space between Nacho Fernandez, who had replaced Alaba, and Antonio Rudiger.

Brahim Diaz quickly re-established Madrid’s two-goal lead with an individual effort that saw him beat three defenders before scoring with a low shot.

Luka Modric added a fourth after Rodrygo latched onto a dreadful Etienne Capoue backpass to set him up in the penalty area.

Real Sociedad and Real Betis drew 0-0 in a very even game which either side could have won.

Both sides hit the woodwork and Real Sociedad had three goals correctly ruled out for offside in a game that was more entertaining that the scoreline indicates.

On Saturday, FC Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw away to Valencia with another disappointing performance.

Joao Felix put Barca ahead in the 55th minute after a brilliant pass from Frenkie de Jong allowed Raphinha to set him up, but Hugo Guillamon leveled for Valencia with an excellent curling shot, and Valencia keeper Giorgi Mamardashvili also made several acrobatic saves to keep the scores level.

Athletic Bilbao celebrated their 125th anniversary with a brilliant 2-0 win at home to Atletico Madrid thanks to second-half goals from Gorka Guruzeta and Nico Williams, who curled a delicious shot past Jan Oblak.

The scoreline does not tell the whole story, as Nico and Inaki Williams both hit the post, while Oihan Sancet missed a penalty and Oblak made several vital stops to keep the score down as Atletico were completely outplayed.

Sevilla sacked coach Diego Alonso almost directly after the final whistle of their disastrous 3-0 defeat at home to Getafe.

Penalties from Borja Mayoral and Mason Greenwood and a 37th-minute shot from Jaime Mata gave Getafe three easy points against a Sevilla side that failed to win in eight league and four European games with Alonso in charge.

Jorgen Strand Larsen’s backheeled goal in the 19th minute gave third-from-bottom Celta Vigo a vital 1-0 win at home to second-from-bottom Granada and possibly saved Rafa Benitez’s job as coach.

The bad news for Celta was the red card shown to Iago Aspas for a cynical challenge from behind with 11 minutes left to play.

Cadiz’s point in a 1-1 draw away to Las Palmas means Celta remain in the bottom three, but level on points with Sevilla. Pejino put Las Palmas in front with a powerful stop after seven minutes, but Chris Ramos saved a deserved point for Cadiz with an 83rd-minute header, although they remain without a win since September 1.

Almeria remain bottom of the table and winless, but did at least pick up their fifth point of the season after a painful 0-0 draw at home to Mallorca in a game where the visitors had 20 shots, but only managed to get two on target.

Raul Garcia’s 95th-minute header allowed Osasuna to end a run of six games without a win with a 1-0 win at home to Rayo Vallecano on Friday night.

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