Barca, Real Madrid to continue head-to-head in La Liga

FC Barcelona retained a three-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga after both sides won.

Pedri’s 35th-minute goal gave Barca a 1-0 win at home to Getafe, who complicated things for the league leaders for most of the game, reports Xinhua news agency.

Barca lacked spark in attack without Robert Lewandowski, but goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen produced another solid display in goal to snuff out any threat from Getafe.

Barca’s win meant Real Madrid kicked off their game away to Athletic Club Bilbao six points off the back of the table, but an excellent goal from Karim Benzema in the 24th minute (his 19th against the Basques) put them ahead in an even first half.

Athletic had Madrid on the back foot for nearly all of the second half but struggled to provide a finish to some good approach play. When Inaki Williams did get the ball in the net, it was ruled out for an offside against Gaizka Guruzeta.

With the home side pressing for an equalizer, Toni Kroos scored Madrid’s second goal in the last minute.

Real Sociedad claimed a club record ninth consecutive win that strengthens their position in third, thanks to first-half goals from Alexander Sorloth and Ander Barrenetxea away to Rayo Vallecano.

Imanol Alguacil’s team impressed in the first half and were able to control the match as Rayo tried to get back on level terms after the break.

Atletico Madrid had an easy 3-0 win at home to Valladolid (who have now lost their last five matches), with all three goals coming in a 10-minutes spell.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring in the 17th minute, with Antoine Griezmann adding a second five minutes later and Mario Hermoso making it 3-0 in the 27th minute.

Villarreal beat Girona 1-0 with a 98th-minute penalty from Dani Parejo, who decided the game just five minutes after Gerard Moreno had seen an earlier spot kick saved by Paulo Gazzaniga.

Girona played the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Santiago Bueno was sent off.

Memphis Depay came off the bench for his debut in the second half, but the bad news was an apparent muscle problem for midfielder Marcos Llorente ahead of next week’s Copa del Rey tie against Real Madrid.

Martin Braithwaite’s 42nd-minute goal gave Espanyol their second league win in two matches to lift them clear of the bottom three while ending a poor week for Betis, who were knocked out of the Copa del Rey in midweek by Osasuna.

Sevilla climbed out of the bottom three thanks to Ivan Rakitic’s 88th-minute penalty, which gave them a nerve-wracking 1-0 win at home to Cadiz in a game that saw Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli was sent off in the second half.

Elche remain bottom of the table without a win all season, although Pablo Machin’s side took a draw from their home game with Osasuna after Jose Angel Carmona’s 66th-minute shot canceled out Chimy Avila’s 19th-minute opener for the visitors.

The round of matches began on Friday with Dani Rodriguez’s precise second-half shot giving Mallorca a 1-0 win at home to Celta Vigo, who remain in the battle to avoid relegation.

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