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Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2017

Barcelona climbed within two points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Sunday after Eliaquim Mangala’s first-half red card helped the Blaugrana seal a 4-2 win over Valencia that included a Lionel Messi brace.

Mangala went from on high to a crashing low after his 1-0 opener was followed by a straight red card, giving Barca the penalty that saw their hosts move in front for the first time in the fixture before the floodgates eventually opened.

Earlier on Sunday, Sevilla’s title hopes were effectively ended following their 3-1 defeat away to Atletico Madrid, leaving them eight points off leaders Real Madrid and having played a game more. Atleti remain in third but are now just two points off third-placed Sevilla.

Sporting Gijon rallied from a goal down to beat Granada 3-1 following a seven-minute spree in front of goal, netting three times in that space to move two points above their Sunday opponents and up to 18th in the table.

Malaga also claimed their first point in a month after earning a 0-0 draw in their trip to Leganes, while fellow relegation candidates Deportivo La Coruna crumbled 1-0 at home to Celta Vigo thanks to Iago Aspas’ late winner.

Read on for a roundup of Sunday’s La Liga results and a look at how they affect the Spanish standings, complete with a recap of the latest scores as Week 28 draws to a close.

2016-17 La Liga: Sunday’s Week 28 Results
Leganes 0-0 Malaga
Atletico Madrid 3-1 Sevilla
Sporting Gijon 3-1 Granada
Deportivo La Coruna 0-1 Celta Vigo
Barcelona 4-2 Valencia
Sky Sports
2016-17 La Liga Standings
1 Real Madrid 27 20 5 2 71 28 +43 65
2 Barcelona 28 19 6 3 81 25 +56 63
3 Sevilla 28 17 6 5 52 34 +18 57
4 Atletico Madrid 28 16 7 5 52 23 +29 55
5 Villarreal 28 13 9 6 39 20 +19 48
6 Real Sociedad 28 15 3 10 42 39 +3 48
7 Athletic Club 28 13 5 10 35 32 +3 44
8 Eibar 28 11 8 9 44 39 +5 41
9 Espanyol 28 10 10 8 40 39 +1 40
10 Alaves 28 10 10 8 29 33 -4 40
11 Celta Vigo 27 11 5 11 40 45 -5 38
12 Las Palmas 28 9 8 11 44 45 -1 35
13 Real Betis 28 8 7 13 31 44 -13 31
14 Valencia 28 8 6 14 38 51 -13 30
15 Malaga 28 6 9 13 33 45 -12 27
16 Deportivo La Coruna 28 6 9 13 31 43 -12 27
17 Leganes 28 6 8 14 22 41 -19 26
18 Sporting Gijon 28 5 6 17 31 57 -26 21
19 Granada 28 4 7 17 25 58 -33 19
20 Osasuna 28 1 8 19 28 67 -39 11
Sky Sports

 

Recap

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique will have counted his blessings that Valencia centre-back Mangala was having a bad day at the office, as the Frenchman’s sending-off gave the home side to win an otherwise well-contested clash from the visitors.

Mangala’s headed goal from a Dani Parejo corner preceded Luis Suarez’s well-taken equaliser from a smart Neymar throw-in, but leaking that effort wasn’t to be the worst of the former Manchester City man’s day, per Match of the Day:


Messi converted the ensuing penalty before Munir El Haddadi—currently on loan at the Mestalla from the Camp Nou—shrugged free of his markers to run through and place home a quality leveller, via Sky Sports La Liga:


The hosts ended up dominating almost 75 percent of possession, per WhoScored.com, and Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves did well to keep his men level, but it was telling Barcelona wouldn’t take long to move ahead.

And who else but Messi would come to the rescue in Barca’s period of need to provide a timely goal? Javier Mascherano fizzed the ball in for his Argentinian compatriot to prod home as Los Che’s hopes of a result fell away:


Substitute Andre Gomes topped the victory off with a goal from the bench after Neymar embarrassed Valencia’s attempt to find him offside, although Valencia deserved credit for managing to keep pace with their hosts at times.

Atletico Madrid remain 10 points off the summit, but a 3-1 hammering of Sevilla was at least enough to move manager Diego Simeone’s side within two points of their third-placed foes on Sunday, despite the visitors dominating with 60 percent of possession.

Diego Godin ran free of his markers to head Atleti ahead in the 37th minute, but it was Antoine Griezmann’s rasping free-kick on the hour mark that provided the highlight of the afternoon, via Sky Sports La Liga:


Koke added a third after getting on the end of a neat forward move with a quarter-hour remaining, meaning Joaquin Correa’s slick solo finish five minutes from time was just a consolation. Sevilla have now failed to win in eight trips to the Vicente Calderon.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only teams to have defeated Atletico on their own soil in La Liga this season, and Sunday’s victory saw Simeone collect a deserved accolade, per Sky Sports Statto:


Sporting Gijon later roared back from a goal down to defeat Granada 3-1 at home after Lacina Traore, Jean-Sylvain Babin and Carlos Carmona all scored in the space of seven minutes to rescue maximum spoils.

Granada defender Sverrir Ingi Ingason thought he had set the visitors on a path to victory after converting Andreas Pereira’s corner in the 51st minute, but Yahoo’s Andrew Gaffney illustrated how quickly the script was flipped:


Sporting’s win was justified in the end, too, given they found the target with 11 of their attempted 15 shots in total, with Granada goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa making an incredible eight saves.

Not for the first time this term, Aspas was the saviour for Celta Vigo after he scored the sole goal at Deportivo La Coruna to lift his side within three points of eighth-placed Eibar and with a game in hand over most teams.

Malaga weren’t as fortunate in their trip to Leganes, however, and were left to settle for just a point after the two teams played to a bore draw in Sunday’s early kick-off.



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