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Barcelona stayed top in La Liga despite Espanyol holding them to a 2-2 draw in the Catalan derby on Saturday. Wu Lei equalised in the 88th minute against 10-man Barca, who saw Frenkie de Jong sent off for two yellow cards but stay ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference.
Real had gone top earlier in the day after putting three goals past Getafe away from home. Raphael Varane and Luka Modric were the goalscorers for Los Merengues.
Atletico Madrid kept the top two in their sights thanks to a 2-1 victory over Levante at home. Felipe netted what proved to be the winner for Atleti.
The day began with Maxi Gomez firing Valencia to a narrow win over Eibar, good enough to move Los Che into the top six.
- Valencia 1-0 Eibar
- Getafe 0-3 Real Madrid
- Atletico Madrid 2-1 Levante
- Espanyol 2-2 Barcelona
Barca were stunned when David Lopez headed the hosts in front after 23 minutes at the RCDE Stadium. The quality in the Blaugrana’s ranks means they are always in a game, though.
So it proved when Luis Suarez drew the hosts level five minutes after the break.
Arturo Vidal gave Ernesto Valverde’s team their first lead nine minutes later. The combative midfielder has been involved in a dispute over bonus payment with the club, per Reuters (h/t Daily Mail), but Vidal is still delivering on the pitch.
Barca should have made the points safe, but Diego Lopez saved twice from Suarez.
Espanyol’s hopes of salvaging a point grew when De Jong was dismissed after his foul on Jonathan Calleri prompted a second booking.
China international Lei helped Espanyol take full advantage by finishing smartly from close range:
Real were well on the way to three points after David Soria turned the ball into his own net. Varane made life difficult for Getafe stopper Soria, whose mistimed punch sent the ball the wrong way.
Varane was deemed onside when he got his head to a pinpoint delivery from Toni Kroos eight minutes after the restart. Modric capped the scoring deep into injury time when he was played in by Federico Valverde.
The scoreline somewhat flattered Los Blancos, who relied on Thibaut Courtois’ superb display to help earn a clean sheet:
Real’s city rivals Atletico also leaned on the man between the sticks. Jan Oblak’s resistance proved key after a flurry of early goals against Levante. Angel Correa opened the scoring on 13 minutes, but Roger Marti soon equalised for Levante.
Felipe’s 18th-minute header, along with Oblak’s brilliance, proved enough for Atleti to take all three points:
Atletico also benefited from Thomas Partey’s efficient performance at the heart of the engine room:
Valencia scored the winner after 27 minutes when a Daniel Wass cross found Gomez free inside the box. The Uruguay international powered a decisive finish into the bottom corner to keep Los Che’s European hopes alive.