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Match round-up - First Division, Day 18

Espanyol got their first away win of the season, a 0-1 victory at Málaga on Monday night taking them eight points clear of the drop zone. Sergi Darder got the only goal against his old club in the sixth minute to leave Michel’s team still in joint bottom spot together with Las Palmas. (08.01.18)

Barcelona stay nine points clear at the top of the table after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Levante on Sunday afternoon. Messi and Luis Suárez put Valverde’s side two up at the break, and although Ter Stegen did have a couple of saves to make after the restart, Paulinho wrapped things up in injury time. Real Madrid are now sixteen points adrift of the leaders after they were held to a 2-2 draw at Celta in the last match of the evening. Daniel Wass lobbed the visitors into the lead with just over half an hour gone, but Bale scored twice in the run up to the break to turn the scoreline around. However Maxi Gómez headed in a Wass cross with eight minutes to go to save a point for the Galicians.

Athletic Bilbao are up to eighth after they beat regional rivals Alavés 2-0, and their poor start to the season appears to be behind them. Etxeita opened the scoring with a shot which looped in off Maripán following a Susaeta corner, and Aduríz got the second from the penalty spot after the referee ruled that Rubén Duarte had fouled Raúl García in the area with just over an hour gone. Leganés are level with the Basque side after they won 1-0 against Real Sociedad in the mid-day kick-off, Gabriel getting the only goal following an Eraso free kick with a quarter of an hour left on the clock, and local keeper Cuéllar producing a string of saves to ensure the result. And Deportivo moved out of the relegation zone to the detriment of Alavés after they picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at sixth placed Villarreal, Enes Ünal giving the visitors the lead from Bacca’s cross on the half hour mark, and Andone heading the equaliser for the visitors late on. (07.01.18)

Atlético Madrid and Valencia put the pressure on leaders Barcelona after both won on Saturday. Atlético beat neighbours Getafe in the first league game of the new year, Correa giving them an early lead after Griezmann set him up. Diego Costa made it two midway through the first half in his first start in the Metropolitano stadium, but the ex Chelsea striker was sent off immediately afterwards after the referee showed him a second yellow card for celebrating with the crowd. Later in the afternoon Valencia won 2-1 against Girona, even though the Catalans took the lead through Portu in the eighth minute. Ramalho turned a Guedes cross into his own net soon afterwards though, and Dani Parejo got the winner from the penalty spot at the start of the second half.

A thrilling city derby between Sevilla and Betis to round off the evening, the visitors running out 3-5 winners to move to within five points of their hosts in the table. Quique Setien’s side went ahead twice in the first half through Fabián and Feddal, Ben Yedder and Kjaer pegging them back both times. Strikes by Durmisi and Sergio León restored the lead after the restart, but Lenglet headed one back and N’Zonzi hit the bar before Tello made sure of the victory in injury time. Sevilla stay fifth pending Sunday’s games, but Eibar are now only two points below them after they came from behind to win 1-2 at bottom club Las Palmas. Jonathan Viera opened the scoring for the Canary Islanders from the penalty spot on the half hour mark, but new signing Orellana levelled it just two minutes after coming on, and Sergi Enrich headed the winner soon afterwards. (06.01.18)