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Barcelona follow Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid beat Betis

Madrid, Oct 24 (IANS) FC Barcelona remain three points behind Real Madrid at the top of La Liga after a 4-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night.

One of Barca’s best performances of the season coincided with Bilbao’s worst as Barca led 3-0 at the break thanks to Ousmane Dembele’s 12th-minute header, followed by Sergi Roberto’s 18th-minute shot, which took a slight deflection to lift it over Athletic keeper Unai Simon.

Robert Lewandowski added a third in the 22nd minute and Bilbao weren’t helped by Ander Herrera limping off injured, reports Xinhua.

Herrera’s replacement Dani Garcia also had to go off injured in what was a relatively tepid second half which saw Ferran Torres score Barca’s fourth following a pass from Dembele.

Atletico Madrid moved third after a 2-1 win away to Real Betis thanks to two goals from Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman’s first goal was a near-post corner that nobody was able to cut out, and his second was a finish from a narrow angle that went through the legs of Betis keeper Rui Silva.

Nabil Fekir pulled a goal back for Betis with six minutes left, but the home side were unable to find an equalizer, leaving Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini to complain Atletico had taken the lead “without even having a shot on target.”

Ten-man Villarreal won at home to Almeria in a dramatic game. Almeria opened the scoring in the 31st minute thanks to Gonzalo Melero. Alex Baena scored Villarreal’s equaliser in the 56th minute, but was then harshly sent off for a second yellow card after lifting his shirt to show a message of support for the club’s former vice president, who died last week.

Villarreal held on with 10 men and got their reward in the 94th minute when Nicholas Jackson scored the winner from a Dani Parejo cross.

Elche remain bottom of the table, but took a valuable 2-2 draw away to Espanyol, who continue to struggle for a win.

Pere Milla put Elche ahead early in the game, but although Javi Puado and Martin Braithwaite turned it around for Espanyol, Gonzalo Verdu snatched an equalizer with seven minutes left to play.

Girona climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna, with defender David Lopez scoring a 46th minute goal to cancel out Kike Barja’s opener for the visitors, six minutes earlier.

On Saturday, Real Madrid had a convincing 3-1 win at home to Sevilla, with Luka Modric putting them ahead in the fourth minute.

Madrid dominated the first half, but were stunned by Erik Lamela’s 53rd-minute goal for Sevilla, before Vinicius set up substitute Lucas Vazquez for Madrid’s second in the 78th minute and Fede Valverde continued his excellent recent form with another powerful shot to make it 3-1.

A first-half goal from Valladolid striker Sergio Leon ended Real Sociedad’s run of eight consecutive wins that had lifted them to third in the table.

VAR ruled out goals for both sides for questionable fouls, before Real Sociedad also had a late equalizer disallowed for a tight offside.

Lee Kang-in scored an 83rd-minute winner against his former club as Mallorca came back from a goal down to stun Valencia 2-1 at the Mestalla Stadium.

Edinson Cavani’s 51st-minute penalty put Valencia ahead, but another penalty allowed Vedat Muriqi to level from the spot just 12 minutes later, and Lee won the game for the visitors with an excellent finish after a pass from Dani Rodriguez.

Cadiz ended up with nine men as they crashed 5-1 away to Rayo Vallecano. The visitors looked solid until Iza was sent off in the 41st minute after conceding a penalty.

Isi Palazon scored the penalty and Alvaro doubled their lead before half-time.

Cadiz had Ruben Alcaraz sent off in the 63rd minute, Florian Lejeune scored twice and Sergio Camelo added another as Rayo ran riot in the last 25 minutes.

–IANS

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CELEBRITY GALLERY

Nikki Tamboli

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu

Nora Fatehi

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