[[DES_1]]FC Barcelona ended the year with a 4-0 win at home to Real Betis, but their two main rivals in the Liga title chase also picked up three points in Wednesday’s midweek matches.
Atlético Madrid, who missed out on the chance to go temporarily top of the table with 1-0 defeat at Malaga before Christmas, left it late to avoid dropping two more points from their trip to Rayo Vallecano. Correa after 88 minutes and Griezmann after 90 finally found the net just when it looked like the game was heading for a 0-0 draw.
The result leaves Atlético tied on points with Barça, but trailing on goal difference, and the Catalans have a game in hand.
Earlier on in the day, Real Madrid had also clinched three points thanks to a 3-1 defeat of Real Sociedad to stay two points behind the top two teams in the championship race. Cristiano Ronaldo scored both sides of the interval, but Bruma netted in between to keep the Basques in contention at the Bernabéu. The result remained in doubt right until the 87th minute, when substitute Lucas Vázquez finally struck Madrid’s third.
Next up for Barça are league and cup derbies with Espanyol, who saw out their year with 2-0 defeat at Sevilla. Both the home side’s goals, for Immobile and Banega, came in the first half and on the back of sloppy defensive errors from an otherwise solid-looking Espanyol. The result leaves the ‘parakeets’ 13th in the table with 20 points from 17 games.
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