Late Messi goal keeps Barca top as Real Madrid pile on the pressure

Sports Monday 02/December/2019 21:48 PM
By: Times News Service
Late Messi goal keeps Barca top as Real Madrid pile on the pressure

Madrid: Leo Messi scored a late goal to give FC Barcelona a 1-0 win away to Atletico Madrid on Sunday night to keep them at the top of the Liga Santander table ahead of Real Madrid.

The Argentinean played a one-two with Luis Suarez on the edge of the Atletico area before curling a left foot shot into the back of the Atletico net to decide an entertaining game that could have gone either way as the rain poured down in Madrid.

Both sides had chances to win the game, with Barca keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen making two brilliant first half saves, while Gerard Pique, who had to leave the pitch injured in the closing minutes, saw a header bounce back off the crossbar.

Barca had been in danger of losing the leadership after Real Madrid dug deep to take all three points from their visit to Deportivo Alaves with goals from defenders Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal 24 hours earlier.

Ramos headed Madrid into a 52nd minute lead after a free kick taken by Tony Kroos but then committed a needless penalty against Joselu to allow Lucas Perez to equalize from the spot.

Carvajal sealed the points for Madrid from close range after Alaves keeper Fernando Pacheco had pushed Isco's header onto the post.

Sevilla remain third, but had to work hard to beat Leganes with Diego Carlos scoring the only goal of the game in the 62nd minute against the bottom of the table side. Leganes have improved under coach Javier Aguirre, but are starting to get left behind in the battle to avoid relegation.

Athletic Club Bilbao opened the scoring in their 2-0 win at home to Granada with a twice-taken penalty from Raul Garcia .

Raul's first penalty was saved by Granada keeper Rui Silva, but he was adjudged to have moved off his line and the forward made no mistake with his second attempt.

Yuri Berchiche secured the win for Athletic Club with a close range finish from Unai Garcia's pass in the closing minutes.

Real Sociedad produced a convincing display to beat local rivals Eibar 4-1 thanks to goals from Robin le Normand, Mikel Oyarzabal, Willian Jose and Martin Odegaard, who curled in an impressive 25 yard effort to conclude the scoring.

Valencia won the east-coast derby at home to Villarreal on Saturday night thanks to a decisive 70th minute goal from youngster Ferran Torres. Gerard Moreno missed a 13th minute penalty for the visitors, who were then punished by Roberto Moreno's 49th minute opener and although Andre-Frank Zambo levelled on the break, Torres' goal decided the game.

Betis had goalkeeper Joel Robles to thank for several excellent second half saves as they won 2-1 away to Mallorca. Joaquin Sanchez opened the scoring from the penalty spot for the visitors in the 7th minute and Nabil Fekir doubled their lead in the 33rd minute as the visitors completely dominated the first half.

Lago gave Mallorca hope with a 55th minute penalty but Joel's saves meant the points go back to Seville.

Things went from bad to worse for Espanyol who surrendered a 1-0 lead at home to Osasuna, who went down to 10 men, but still managed to turn the score around to 4-1 before a late consolation goal for the home side.

Marc Roca put Espanyol ahead from the penalty spot in the first half, before Ruben Garcia equalized with a header just seconds after the start of the second half and a horrific defensive error allowed Chimy Avila to turn the game around in the 48th minute as he collected a backpass and slid the ball past Diego Lopez.

Roncaglia was sent off for Osasuna in the 51st minute, but the visitors scored twice more thanks to Jon Moncayola and Roberto Torres to leave Espanyol with just 9 points from 15 games.