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Sevilla takes Spanish league lead with win over Valladolid

November 25, 2018
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Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) — A day after seeing its rivals falter, Sevilla took care of business.

Sevilla moved past Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to go top of the Spanish league by beating Valladolid 1-0 on Sunday.

Atletico and Barcelona had played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, opening the way for Sevilla to take the lead with a home win.

“We have to enjoy this,” Sevilla coach Pablo Machin said. “We have to enjoy it for now, and then we will get back to preparing for the difficulties that lie ahead.”

Sevilla also benefited from setbacks by other teams near the top of the standings. Alaves had a chance to go top on Friday but lost 1-0 at Leganes, while Real Madrid is sixth after a shock 3-0 defeat at Eibar on Saturday. That result ended the team’s perfect run under coach Santiago Solari and left the Spanish powerhouse six points off the lead.

Sevilla, which had already led the league after the eighth round, has 26 points from 13 matches, one point more than Barcelona and two more than Atletico. Fourth-place Alaves is three points back.

“We knew we had an opportunity today and we took advantage of it,” said forward Andre Silva, who scored Sevilla’s winner. “This the result of our hard work day after day. We have to try to keep it up.”

Looking to avoid its own setback, Sevilla controlled the match from the start at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. It didn’t create many significant scoring chances but was always closest to scoring.

Silva got the winner with a 30th-minute header after a well-placed cross by Pablo Sarabia, giving Sevilla its seventh straight home win in all competitions. It was the eighth league goal for the Portuguese forward who hadn’t scored for Sevilla in five matches.

Valladolid had a 74th-minute goal disallowed for offside, and its biggest chance was a stoppage-time shot by substitute Enes Unal that forced a difficult save by Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

The team owned by former Brazil striker Ronaldo hasn’t won in two matches and dropped to 12th.

ATHLETIC’S WOES

Athletic Bilbao’s struggles continued with a 1-1 home draw against midtable Getafe, extending its winless streak to 12 matches.

The result left Athletic with 11 points from 13 matches, just inside the relegation zone.

The Basque Country club hasn’t won since the league’s first round in August, enduring eight draws and four losses since then.

It opened the scoring with a goal by defender Peru Nolaskoain in the 67th, but Jaime Mata equalized for the visitors in the 77th.

It could have been worse for Athletic if Getafe had been awarded a penalty kick late in stoppage time after Mata was held by a defender inside the area, but the referee ended the match before a video review.

Getafe, winless in three matches, sits 11th in the standings.

REAL BETIS STUMBLES

Real Betis followed its win against Barcelona at Camp Nou Stadium with a 2-1 loss at Villarreal, and remained near the bottom of the standings.

Gerard Moreno and Samuel Chukwueze scored goals two minutes apart early in the second half to give Villarreal its first win in six matches in all competitions, moving three points clear of the relegation zone.

Villarreal hadn’t won at its Ceramica Stadium in six league matches this season.

GIRONA MOVES UP

Girona reached seventh place by defeating Catalan rival Espanyol 3-1 with a pair of goals by striker Cristhian Stuani, the league’s leading scorer with 10 goals.

The Uruguayan striker scored in the fourth and sixth minutes to lead Girona to victory.

Fifth-place Espanyol, which had won all of its five matches at home, missed a chance to move level with Atletico Madrid on 24 points.

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