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La Liga Review: Barcelona sink title rivals Atleti, Villarreal back to winning ways

Champions Barcelona came from behind to beat nine-man Atletico Madrid and move three points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of La Liga.

Koke stunned Camp Nou with a sharply dispatched 10th-minute opener on Saturday, and that advantage remained until Lionel Messi intervened with half-an-hour played.

The Barca superstar produced a clinical finish to crown a sweeping move involving Jordi Alba and Neymar before Luis Suarez slotted past Jan Oblak to establish an advantage before half-time.

Atletico’s task became a steeper one when Filipe Luis saw red for a rash challenge on Messi and Diego Godin would also leave the action early in the 65th minute, collecting a second yellow card for fouling fellow Uruguay international Suarez.

Villarreal pulled level on points with third-placed Real Madrid thanks to a 1-0 win over Granada.

Bruno’s 65th-minute penalty was enough to improve upon back-to-back draws from their previous Liga outings.

Highly rated forward Inaki Williams headed the only goal after 24 minutes to give Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 victory at Getafe, while Malaga were also winners on the road and moved into the top half of the table courtesy of a 2-1 triumph over Eibar.

Juanpi opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and Roque Santa Cruz coolly converted a one-on-one in stoppage time, before Borja Baston grabbed an even later consolation.

First half goals from Xabi Prieto and Inigo Martinez helped Real Sociedad to ease their relegation fears at Real Betis’ expense.

Ruben Castro hit back six minutes into the second half but Betis could not avoid a 2-1 loss.

Sat 30 Jan, 2016
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