Barcelona came from a goal down to beat a battling Sevilla 2-1 and regain their eight-point lead at the top of La Liga.
Gerard Pique scored the game’s decisive goal, linking up with Luis Suarez to net from close range just after half-time, but Sevilla pushed the champions hard and had led through Vitolo’s 20th-minute goal before Lionel Messi scored a brilliant free-kick.
The result provided a positive response to second-placed Atletico Madrid’s victory over city rivals Real in the battle between La Liga’s second- and third-placed sides, and the title continues to be Barcelona’s to lose.
At Camp El Madrigal, fourth-placed Villarreal enjoyed an emphatic 3-0 victory over Levante.
Goals from Leo Baptistao and Samu Castillejo gave Marcelino’s side a 2-0 lead before half-time, and Adrian scored his first goal since joining the club from Porto.
The defeat leaves bottom side Levante three points adrift of 19th-placed Granada, who ran out 1-0 winners away at Deportivo La Coruna.
After a four-match losing streak in La Liga, Granada earned a surprise victory at Estadio Municipal de Riazor, with Youssef El-Arabi scoring the winner from the penalty spot.
In doing so, he became Granada’s all-time top scorer in La Liga with 35 goals.
Athletic Bilbao’s hopes of a top-six finish were given a boost as they claimed a 3-0 away win at Valencia.
The game looked to be heading for a stalemate until Sabin Merino’s 73rd-minute strike, and the victory ended up looking more emphatic after Iker Muniain and Aritz Zubeldia scored in quick succession to compound Valencia’s woes and help Athletic move up to seventh in the table.
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