MADRID (AP) — Sevilla showed it remains a strong title contender in the Spanish league, ending Las Palmas’ 15-game unbeaten streak at home with a late 1-0 victory on Sunday to stay close to leader Real Madrid and second-placed Barcelona.
Substitute Joaquin Correa scored an 80th-minute winner at Gran Canaria Stadium for Jorge Sampaoli’s team, which was coming off defeat at Espanyol and a draw against Villarreal.
Sevilla is third with 46 points, two behind Barcelona and three behind Madrid, which has two games in hand. Madrid won 3-1 at last-placed Osasuna on Saturday with one of the goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, while Barcelona routed Alaves 6-0 in the Basque Country with Neymar and Lionel Messi scoring a goal each and Luis Suarez adding a brace.
Fourth-placed Atletico Madrid salvaged a 3-2 win over Celta Vigo. Fernando Torres scored a stunning goal, flicking the ball into the top corner while facing away from the net, but also failed to convert a penalty.
Correa netted Sevilla’s winner three minutes after coming off the bench, entering the area free from markers and easily finding the net.
“It’s extremely hard to win in this stadium, I’m glad I got to score and that it helped the team win,” the Argentine midfielder said. “We want to stay near the top and keep pace with the teams ahead of us.”
Las Palmas, 11th in the standings, hadn’t lost at home in the league since a game against Madrid in March last year. It had lost at its stadium in a Copa del Rey match against Atletico Madrid earlier this year.
“It’s a shame because we wanted to remain strong at home,” Las Palmas midfielder Roque Mesa said. “But we knew that this would eventually happen. We have to keep our heads high and think about our next match.”
ATLETICO MADRID 3, CELTA VIGO 2
Torres impressed fans at the Vicente Calderon Stadium with his 11th-minute goal, controlling the ball with his back to the net and immediately flicking it over the defender closely marking him inside the area. Goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez could only watch as the ball went in the top corner.
Yannick Carrasco scored Atletico’s second goal with another remarkable strike, a long-range volley into the corner in the 86th as Atletico twice came from behind. Antoine Griezmann’s winner came two minutes later as Atletico stayed in fourth place with 42 points, four behind Sevilla.
Torres missed a penalty kick in the 30th, hitting the crossbar.
“It was an intense match,” Griezmann said. “We were able to rally because we are a team that always gives everything every single minute.”
VILLARREAL 1, MALAGA 1
Villarreal’s struggles in the Spanish league continued with a 1-1 home draw against Malaga, a result that left it further behind in the fight for a Champions League spot next season.
Villarreal remained sixth as the gap with fourth-placed Atletico Madrid increased to six points after 22 matches. It is 10 points behind third-placed Sevilla.
The top three teams automatically advance to the group stage of Europe’s top club competition. The fourth-placed club has to go through a playoff.
Villarreal has won only one of its last six league matches.
Striker Charles opened the scoring for Malaga in the 14th minute, and midfielder Bruno Soriano equalized for the hosts by converting a 62nd-minute penalty kick.
Villarreal played a man down from the 71st after midfielder Roberto Soriano was sent off with a straight red card for a foul away from the ball.
“It’s a good point, considering how the game developed,” Villarreal coach Fran Escriba said.
The result extended Malaga’s winless streak to nine league matches. It remains 14th with 23 points.
LEGANES 0, SPORTING GIJON 2
Sporting Gijon scored twice in the second half to defeat Leganes 2-0 and snap its seven-game winless streak.
Sporting is now two points behind Leganes, the first team outside the relegation zone.
Leganes’ winless streak increased to 10 games.
Sporting reserve goalkeeper Diego Marino was sent off while on the bench for protesting in the 70th minute.
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