Madrid, Feb 27 (IANS) FC Barcelona wasted a chance to move 10 points clear at the top of La Liga when they lost 1-0 away to Almeria.
El Bilal Toure’s 23rd-minute shot, which went in off the underside of the bar, led to the only goal of the game as the forward found space between the Barcelona defenders, reports Xinhua news agency.
What followed was an exercise in frustration for Barca who tried, but failed to create clear chances against a rival that had lost three consecutive matches and started the game in the relegation zone.
Xavi Hernandez commented post-match that it was his side’s worst display of the season.
The result ends a dreadful week for Barca, who were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night as they wasted the chance to take an almost definitive grip on La Liga after a 1-1 draw between second-placed Real and Atletico Madrid in Saturday’s Madrid derby.
A dull Madrid derby came to life in the 64th minute when Atletico’s Angel Correa was sent off for elbowing Real Madrid defender, Antonio Rudiger in the chest, although Rudiger did go down very easily.
Atletico took the lead with a man less 12 minutes from time when Jose Gimenez headed home following a free kick.
Real Madrid salvaged a point five minutes from time when 18-year-old forward, Alvaro Rodriguez equalised from Luka Modric’s corner.
Real Sociedad slipped to a rare away defeat in Valencia, who took three vital points when Real Sociedad defender, Igor Zubeldia slid a cross into his own net.
Celta Vigo’s impressive young midfielder, Gabri Veiga scored twice as his side won 3-0 at home to Valladolid.
Haris Seferovic had opened the scoring for Celta in the 16th minute thanks to an assist from Veiga, who could be close to earning a first international cap in March.
Osasuna ended Sevilla’s recent recovery with a 3-2 win in the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
David Garcia put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute and although Nemanja Gudelj equalized in the 62nd minute, an own goal from Fernando put Osasuna back in front five minutes later.
Youssef En-Nesyri made it 2-2 in the 77th minute, but Ez Abde won the game for Osasuna with an angled shot in the 83rd minute.
Cadiz continued their solid home form with a 1-0 win at home to Rayo Vallecano, thanks to Sergi Guardiola’s 73rd-minute goal against his former club.
Rayo’s afternoon was made worse with an injury to the key midfielder, Santi Comesana and a late red card for Alejandro Catena.
Athletic Club Bilbao were unable to capitalize on Rayo’s slip-up after a disastrous 3-2 defeat at home to Girona which saw the home side lose three players (Unai Simon, Yeray Alvarez and Jon Morcillo) through injury and score two own goals through Oscar de Marcos and Mikel Vesga.
Aleix Garcia scored a brilliant opening goal for Girona before Oscar de Marcos deflected into his own net following a corner, Yuri Berchiche pulled a goal back for Athletic with a shot from outside of the area, but Vesga’s own goal on the stroke of halftime made it 3-1 before Raul Garcia gave Athletic hope with a late goal.
Espanyol won 2-1 at home to Mallorca thanks to two goals from Martin Braithwaite, who scored either side of Vedat Muriqi’s 40th-minute equaliser.
There was drama at Elche on Friday night when Betis came back from 2-0 down in a match that saw the visitors given three penalties, while Elche had three players sent off.