FC Barcelona saw their lead at the top of the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga disappear on Sunday as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Valencia in the Camp Nou Stadium in the 33rd round games of the Spanish season.
An own goal by Ivan Rakitic and a strike by Santi Mina on the stroke of halftime put Valencia 2-0 up and although Leo Messi’s 500th goal brought Barca back into the game with 63 minutes, a series of bad misses by Barca’s strikers coupled with a magnificent display by Valencia keeper Diego Alves kept them at bay until the final whistle.
Barca have taken just one point from four games and their 11-point lead over Atletico Madrid has evaporated to leave them top of the table only on goal difference.
Atletico Madrid fulfilled their part of the bargain as they brushed past Granada 3-0 in the Vicente Calderon with goals from Koke, Fernando Torres and Angel Correa.
Diego Simeone’s side showed no ill effects from their efforts in the Champions League clash against the Catalans on Wednesday night and are now level on points at the top of the table.
Saturday saw Real Madrid continue their run of form with a 5-1 win away to bottom of the table Getafe, for whom Juan Eduardo Esnaider made his debut as coach.
The new man in the dugout could do little as goals from Karim Benzema and Isco put Real Madrid 2-0 up before the break.
Gareth Bale scored Madrid’s third shortly after halftime and although Pablo Sarabia pulled one back in the closing minutes, there was still time for James Rodriguez and Ronaldo to round off the scoring and Madrid are now just one point off the top.
Goals from Alfred N’Diaye and Pablo Hernandez saw Betis take a valuable point away to Celta Vigo, while Eibar ended an 8-game run without a win when they came back after conceding an early goal to David Zurutuza to win the Basque derby at home to Real Sociedad.
Sergi Enrich leveled the scores before halftime before Gonzalo Escalante scored just before the hour the goal which assures Eibar will remain in the top flight for a third consecutive season.
Sporting Gijon earned a battling point away to Las Palmas, but it remains whether Jony’s goal will be enough to save his side, who are still in deep trouble.
Celta’s slip up allowed Athletic Club Bilbao to move into fifth place thanks to a 1-0 win away to Malaga. Athletic overcame tired legs following Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final away to Sevilla and a second half goal from Raul Garcia coupled with a series of fine saves from Gorka Iraizoz was enough to take the 3 points back to Bilbao.
Thursday’s game did take a toll on Sevilla though as they struggled to a 1-1 draw at home to Deportivo la Coruna.
Vicente Iborra gave Sevilla the lead after 21 minutes, but Oriol Riera’s reply with 10 minutes left saw a share of the points and probably secures Deportivo’s top flight future for next season.
Rayo Vallecano also took a big step towards safety as goals from Javi Guerra and Miku gave them a narrow 2-1 win over Villarreal for whom Adrian Lopez scored.