FC Barcelona opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table ahead of El Clásico after Real Madrid suffered their first defeat of the season against Sevilla on Sunday. Meanwhile, a late goal from Antoine Griezmann handed Atlético Madrid a win which puts them within touching distance of second place.
Barça’s 3-0 win over Villarreal put pressure on Madrid to win at the Sánchez Pizjuán in order to remain joint-top of La Liga just two weeks before the first meeting of the season between the two sides. Former Sevilla man Sergio Ramos gave Rafael Benitez’s side the lead with an acrobatic strike but Ciro Immobile levelled proceedings before the break. After a fine run, Yevhen Konoplyanka laid the ball off to Éver Banega who converted from close range to give Sevilla the lead on the hour mark before substitute Fernando Llorente headed in a third on 74 minutes. A late long-range James Rodriguez goal in injury time proved to be little more than a consolation goal as the Andalusians sealed a big win.
Atlético kept the heat on their city neighbours with a 1-0 win over Sporting de Gijón at the Vicente Calderón. It was a nervy performance from Los Rojiblancos but a brave header deep into stoppage time from Griezmann was enough to give Diego Simeone’s side a crucial win which puts them within just one point of Madrid and four of Barça.
After El Clásico, the Catalans will host Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. The Basque side are enduring a tough period having lost four of their last five matches with their latest disappointment coming on Friday in a 2-0 defeat at Las Palmas.
Barça take on Villanovense in the second leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 32 on 2 December with the tie poised at 0-0. The Segunda B team slumped to a second straight league defeat on Sunday, 2-1 against Murcia, which moves them down to 16th place in the table.
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