Dembele’s goal moves Barcelona three clear in La Liga


FC Barcelona reopened a three-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 1-0 win away to Atletico Madrid.

Ousmane Dembele’s goal midway through the first half after good work by Pedri and Gavi was enough to give Barca the win, reports Xinhua news agency.

The league leaders struggled at times to create clear chances without the suspended Robert Lewandowski, but produced a much-improved defensive display to frustrate an Atletico side in which Joao Felix failed to make a difference.

Tempers frayed in the closing moments and both Barca’s Ferran Torres and Atletico defender Stefan Savic were sent off for fighting moments before Ronald Araujo cleared off the line to deny Antoine Griezmann.

Real Sociedad enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win away to Almeria thanks to second-half goals from David Silva and Alexander Sorloth to strengthen their position in third.

The San Sebastian outfit has won their last three La Liga matches and Sunday’s win lifted them to within six points of second-placed Real Madrid, who lost to Villarreal 2-1 on Saturday.

Real Betis won 2-1 away to Rayo Vallecano with Luiz Henrique scoring the winning goal.

Before the Brazilian’s 40th-minute winner, Betis had taken the lead when Rayo keeper Stole Dimitrievski punched the ball into the head of his teammate Ivan Balliu for it to rebound into the net.

Sergio Camello leveled for Rayo in the 20th minute after an error from Rui Silva, but Henrique’s goal proved decisive.

Marcos Acuna’s first-half header and another header from Rafa Mir 10 minutes from time gave Sevilla a vital 2-1 win at home to Getafe.

Borja Mayoral pulled a goal back for the visitors in the closing minutes, but it wasn’t enough to save a point and Sevilla climb out of the bottom three.

On Saturday, Argentina’s World Cup-winning coach Lionel Scaloni returned to Spain to watch Mallorca beat Real Valladolid 1-0.

Espanyol is still struggling in the relegation zone after being denied a win by a late goal from Girona midfielder Yangel Herrera in a 2-2 tie.

Friday night saw Iago Aspas give Celta Vigo a 1-0 win away to bottom side Elche, while Ruben Alcaraz’s ninth-minute strike saw Cadiz shock Valencia 1-0 to lift them closer to safety.


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