TODAY.AZ / Sports

Real loses way in Sevilla

27 March 2014 [10:00] - TODAY.AZ
The three-way battle for the Spanish league title took another dramatic twist on Wednesday night as Real Madrid suffered their second defeat in four days.

After a humbling by Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday, Real were sunk 2-1 away at Sevilla thanks to a brace from Colombian striker Carlos Bacca.

To add to the misery of Cristiano Ronaldo and company, their two title rivals -- Barcelona and Atletico Madrid -- both triumphed to relegate them to third in the table.

Atletico hit the summit after a solitary goal from Diego Costa saw them past Granada, while Barcelona sit just a point back after they eased past Celta Vigo 3-0.
Real now trail their city rivals by three points, and have an inferior head-to-head record, which would come into effect if they ended the season level on points.

Los Blancos did take the lead on 14 minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo's free kick took a big deflection off the wall to wrong foot Sevilla goalkeeper Beto.

But the home side drew level just five minutes later when Bacca finished off a counter attack that started when Xabi Alonso squandered possession.

Real missed a host of chances to restore their lead and paid the price when Bacca netted the winner with 20 minutes remaining. It meant Real suffered successive league defeats for the first time since 2009.

Earlier in the evening, Barcelona registered a comfortable 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo largely thanks to their potent strike force but lost goalkeeper Victor Valdes to a serious knee injury.

Neymar has struggled to find consistency after his move from Brazilian club Santos but he outscored the Spanish club's record all-time scorer Lionel Messi on the night by grabbing two goals.

Barcelona were in front after just six minutes, Alexis Sanchez galloping on to Messi's defense-splitting pass, before squaring for Neymar who registered his first goal for the club since the middle of February.

Valdes then departed on a stretcher after landing badly when saving a shot on goal, the club confirming he had torn his cruciate ligament and will have to undergo
surgery.

Argentina striker Messi made it 2-0 on the half hour mark, running onto Andres Iniesta's through ball before firing into the net for his 23rd goal of the season and his eighth in the last four matches.

Neymar wrapped up the match in the second half with his 11th league goal of the campaign, finishing smartly from inside the area.

In the English Premier League, Liverpool boosted their hopes of landing a first domestic title since 1990 with a 2-1 victory over lowly Sunderland.

Captain Steven Gerrard opened the scoring with a fierce free kick from the edge of the penalty area before England striker Daniel Sturridge grabbed his 20th league goal of the season in the second half.

Sturridge and the EPL's top scorer Luis Suarez both wasted opportunities before a header from Sunderland's South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng set up a nervy final 15 minutes.

The victory -- Liverpool's seventh in a row in the league -- sent them second in the table, one point behind leaders Chelsea.

Elsewhere, West Ham beat ten-man Hull City 2-1 thanks to an own goal from James Chester to move up to 11th in the standings.

Hull's goalkeeper Allan McGregor was sent off for a foul on Mohamed Diame early on, Mark Noble converting the penalty. Nikica Jelavic leveled for Hull before Chester's error restored West Ham's lead.


In Italy, Juventus restored their lead at the top of Serie A to 14 points after a brace from Argentina striker Carlos Tevez helped them to a 2-1 win over Parma.

Two goals from Duvan Zapata helped Napoli to a 4-2 victory away at Catania and stay comfortable in third while AC Milan won 2-0 at Fiorentina thanks to strikes from Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli.


/CNN/

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