An impressive 4-0 thumping of in-form Real Sociedad, on its own patch, has announced Sevilla as a major force in La Liga 2017.
And boss Jorge Sampaoli has already been naughtily touted as a future Barcelona coach after his side leapfrogged Luis Enrique’s team into second place behind leaders Real Madrid.
The results from Sunday’s top-flight football games put Barca under pressure and the Catalans almost cracked.
Real Sociedad 0-4 Sevilla
Sevilla made Real Sociedad look anything like a fifth-placed in-form club and made it three wins on the bounce as Wissam Ben Yedder scored a hat-trick, his second in three games. Pablo Sarabia provided the icing on the cake.
Real Madrid 5-0 Granada
Los Blancos went one better, thrashing struggling Granada 5-0 to equal Barcelona’s record of going 39 games unbeaten in all competitions. Isco set the ball rolling in the 12th minute and it didn’t stop. He bagged another and Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was also on the score sheet.
Villarreal 1-1 Barcelona
Barca were six points adrift at the outset of Monday’s game, and by the end they’ll be happy to have reduced that to just five. Nicola Sansone thought he’d won the game for Villarreal but Lionel Messi hit a sublime 90th-minute free kick to snatch a late but deserved point.
Eibar 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Antoine Griezmann scored his first league goal since October to give Atletico a hard-fought win at Eibar and lift Diego Simeone’s side back up to fourth. Saul Niguez opened the scoring with a superb header before Griezmann sealed the points.
Athletic Club 0-0 Alaves
Athletic Club stay seventh despite being held to a goalless draw by Alaves. This was the home side’s first failure to win in eight home games, despite enjoying plenty of possession, while Alaves extend their own unbeaten run in the league to five.
Las Palmas 1-0 Sporting Gijon
Sporting were unable to lift themselves out of the bottom three after a defeat in Las Palmas. Nabil El Zhar settled matters early in the second half to lift the hosts away from a mid-table cluster up to eighth.
Espanyol 1-1 Deportivo La Coruna
These two opened the weekend with an entertaining draw and Deportivo must have thought they could even bag a rare away win when Celso Borges headed the opener after he’d already hit the crossbar. But Gerard Moreno hit back from close range to share the spoils.
Celta Vigo 3-1 Malaga
Celta Vigo move up to ninth after a welcome return to winning ways with a comfortable win over Malaga. The red hot Iago Aspas scored his 11th of the season before Daniel Wass and Andreu Fontas made it three. Then Wass put through his own goal to give Malaga a small consolation.
Real Betis 2-0 Leganes
Real Betis continued their revival under Victor Sanchez with an important win over Leganes. Ruben Castro and Cristiano Piccini scored for the home side to rise nine points above the drop zone while Leganes’ cushion is still four.
Osasuna 3-3 Valencia
A battling display at El Sadar in a pulsating basement clash gave bottom club Osasuna a deserved point. The home side pegged Valencia back three times, the last with a 92nd-minute Carlos Clerc strike. It gives Osasuna some hope, still only five points behind 17th-placed Valencia.
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