Rival watch: Sporting lose at Celta, Real Madrid held by Villarreal

Rival watch: Sporting lose at Celta, Real Madrid held by Villarreal

While Barça are held by Atlético on Wednesday, the Liga leaders also draw on home turf and Saturday’s opponents Sporting Gijón go down 2-1 in Vigo

FC Barcelona’s two dropped points against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday night mean a missed opportunity to cut the gap at the top of the table to just one point – after leaders Real Madrid were also held at home earlier in the evening.

Bruno Soriano put an impressive Villarreal into a 1-0 lead at the Santiago Bernabéu with a ‘Panenka’ style penalty on the stroke of half-time. Although Sergio Ramos squared things up with a headed goal just three minutes after the restart, there was no further score and Real Madrid have dropped their first points of the campaign.

Zinedine Zidane’s side still lead La Liga with 13 points, while it’s Sevilla who are now second after beating Betis 1-0 in Tuesday’s derby. They have 11 points, while Barça have 10 and Atlético are one of four teams on nine points. These include Las Palmas, whose impressive start to the season took a knock as they fell 4-1 at Real Sociedad.

Next up for Barça is a trip to Sporting Gijón on Saturday at 4.15pm CET. The Asturians are provisionally tenth in the table after being beaten 2-1 at Celta, who were without a win before today. Hugo Mallo put the Galicians ahead after 66 minutes, and Croatian Duje Čop’s equaliser for Sporting counted for nothing when Iago Aspas grabbed a winner for Celta with just three minutes to go.

Champions League rivals in action

All three of Barça’s Group C opponents also played on Wednesday night. Borussia Mönchengladbach were in Bundesliga action away to top flight newcomers RasenBallsport Leipzig and were a goal down after just six minutes. That was also the time remaining on the clock when Fabian Johnson snatched an equaliser. The 1-1 draw leaves Borussia sixth in the table.

Manchester City were on EFL Cup duty and Pep Guardiola fielded a number of reserves in a 2-1 win at Swansea City, with Gael Clichy and former Villarreal man Aleix García scoring the goals. The draw for the last 16, held immediately after Wednesday’s games, has delivered City an enticing trip to neighbours Man United.

It was League Cup night north of the border too, where Celtic made it into the semi-finals thanks to two late goals from Forrest and Dembélé against Alloa Athletic. 

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