Real Madrid suffered a second successive defeat, losing at Sevilla as Atletico Madrid and Barcelona both gained victories to pull clear of Los Blancos in the Spanish title race, but Barca’s success was marred by a serious injury to goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Barcelona followed their 4-3 Clasico victory on Sunday by beating Celta Vigo 3-0 at Camp Nou. Barca went ahead through Neymar’s sixth minute goal and Lionel Messi doubled the Catalans’ advantage on the half-hour before Neymar struck again midway through the second period to deal the points. The night was tarnished for Tata Martino’s men, however, after Fabian Orellana’s free-kick appeared to catch Victor Valdes wrong-footed. Although the goalkeeper was able to make the save, he had to dive forward to gather the rebound, and suffered what turned out to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the process.
The injury to Valdes looks certain to have ended his career at Camp Nou, the goalkeeper already having announced that this season would be his last with the Catalans. To make matters worse, Valdes will also miss out on a place in Spain’s World Cup squad in Brazil in the summer.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid top La Liga on 73 points, just a point ahead of Barcelona, after Diego Costa’s 63rd minute header was enough to give them all three points against Granada at the Vicente Calderon.
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Cristiano Ronaldo put Real Madrid in front at Sevilla with a 15th minute deflected free-kick after he had been fouled by Andujar Coke, but the home side Sevilla responded almost immediately through Carlos Bacca, and in the 72nd minute some superb skill from Ivan Rakitic set up Bacca for his and Sevilla’s second. It was a record sixth straight win for Unai Emery’s side, elevating them to fifth, six points behind Athletic Bilbao in fourth, while the defeat leaves Los Blancos third, two points behind Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao were held to 0-0 draw at struggling Elche, who remain just three points clear of the drop zone. Athletic’s ability to break down Elche, who had not conceded any goals in their previous five home games, was made harder by the strong wind blowing over the Martinez Valera, but Fran Escriba’s men also worked hard to deny the Basques any clear-cut scoring opportunities.