La Liga: Girona drop points in Almeria, Athletic Bilbao go third

Girona wasted a chance to go three points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga

Madrid, Jan 15 (IANS) Girona wasted a chance to go three points clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga when they were held to a 0-0 draw away to the bottom side Almeria.

Almeria went into the game without a win and just five draws from their first 19 games of the season, but were the better side and would have won but for several excellent saves from Girona keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, reports Xinhua.

Girona, who missed injured defenders David Lopez and Eric Garcia, finished with 10 men after key midfielder Aleix Garcia was sent off for a professional foul with 10 minutes left to play.

Garcia will now miss Girona’s home game against Sevilla next Sunday.

Athletic Bilbao moved up to third with a 2-1 win at home to Real Sociedad in the Basque derby on Saturday evening.

Alex Berenguer scored after 30 and 42 minutes as Athletic dominated the first half, with their pace and aggression. Mikel Oyarzabal chested the ball home in the 88th minute but Sociedad were unable to make an overturn.

Isco’s 76th minute goal gave Betis a 1-0 win at home to Granada, who remain rooted in the relegation zone.

Betis were the better side overall, but Granada were inches away from an equalizer after the VAR ruled out Matias Arezo’s 83rd minute ‘goal’ for a tight offside.

Cadiz slipped deeper into relegation trouble after suffering a 4-1 defeat at home to Valencia, which leaves them still searching for a win since September 1.

Hugo Duro side-footed Valencia ahead in the eighth minute, but Ruben Alcaraz leveled from the penalty spot in the 21st minute. Diego Lopez put Valencia back in front in the 52nd minute and the goals from Javi Guerra and Jesus Vazquez in injury time gave extra sheen to the visitors’ win.

Villarreal’s miserable form also continued as they were well-beaten 3-0 away by Las Palmas.

Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side traveled after a cup defeat to third tier Unionistas and were quickly behind to the first of Kirian Rodriguez’s two goals after just eight minutes.

Juan Herzog headed home from a corner in the 51st minute and Rodriguez’s second of the game 12 minutes later sealed the win.

Mallorca and Celta Vigo Drew 1-1, with Iago Aspas putting Celta ahead in the 10th minute with a well-placed shot, before Cyle Larin leveled two minutes from halftime with a good finish following a cross from Gio Gonzalez.

On Friday night, Alaves took three big points with a 3-2 win away to Sevilla, with Ruben Duarte scoring a late winner after Sevilla had come back from 2-0 down.

Nahuel Tenaglia and Kike Garcia put Alaves 2-0 ahead, before Rafa Mir chested in a goal for Sevilla with 20 minutes left. Lucas Ocampos scored a controversial penalty in the 82nd minute to raise thoughts of a fightback, but Duarte’s header further exposed Sevilla’s defensive chaos.

–IANS

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