Barcelona,Madrid made to sweat in La Ligahttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/barcelona-madrid-made-to-sweat-in-la-liga/

Barcelona,Madrid made to sweat in La Liga

Barcelona responded to Madrid’s victory with a 2-1 win of its own over Real Sociedad to stay undefeated at Camp Nou stadium this season.

Real Madrid edged crosstown rival Getafe 1-0 as the league leaders maintained their seven-point cushion over defending champion Barcelona on a Saturday marked by near freezing temperatures across Spain.

Barcelona responded to Madrid’s victory with a 2-1 win of its own over Real Sociedad to stay undefeated at Camp Nou stadium this season. With Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola resting regulars for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semifinal against Valencia,Lionel Messi set up youth player Cristian Tello for Barcelona’s opener and then added another before Sociedad substitute Carlos Vela halved the deficit.

Madrid dominated possession at Alfonso Perez Coliseum,but Getafe — the only team to beat Barcelona in any competition this season — held firm in defense to keep alive its chances until the final whistle.

Barcelona’s game against Sociedad followed a similar pattern. Guardiola again turned to Barcelona’s youth team and gave the nod to Tello along with winger Isaac Cuenca.

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And it fell to Tello to start the scoring when he ran onto Messi’s pass and rolled a right-footed strike under the oncoming Claudio Bravo for the ninth-minute goal.

Barcelona,led by a Messi anxious for his first goal in four games,pressed hard to extend the lead. Messi finally broke through in the 72nd when he made a diagonal run to meet Dani Alves’ lob and whipped it into the net with a left-footed shot for his 23rd goal in league play.

But just when Barcelona looked likely to cruise to another comfortable home win,Vela got behind the defense and coolly fired by goalkeeper Victor Valdes two minutes later.

Elsewhere,Espanyol substitute Juan Albin scored in stoppage time as his team rallied twice to draw 3-3 at Athletic Bilbao. Levante held onto a 1-1 draw with Racing Santander,level on points with Espanyol and two clear of Bilbao. Mallorca edged Real Betis 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men.