Wednesday 7 December 2016

Real close gap in Spain as Barca squander two-goal lead at Sevilla

Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30

Neymar (right) set up Lionel Messi for Barca’s first goal and the Brazilian then converted an inch-perfect free kick after 31 minutes but a determined Sevilla, who are unbeaten in 32 home games, never gave up.
Neymar (right) set up Lionel Messi for Barca’s first goal and the Brazilian then converted an inch-perfect free kick after 31 minutes but a determined Sevilla, who are unbeaten in 32 home games, never gave up.

Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga was cut to two points on Saturday as they squandered a two-goal advantage to draw 2-2 at Sevilla while Real Madrid powered their way to a 3-0 home win over Eibar.

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Neymar set up Lionel Messi for Barca's first goal and the Brazilian then converted an inch-perfect free kick after 31 minutes but a determined Sevilla, who are unbeaten in 32 home games, never gave up.

Ever Banega struck a 30-metre drive into the corner that Claudio Bravo failed to keep out in the 38th minute and, after chances at both ends, substitute Kevin Gameiro grabbed the equaliser six minutes from time.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique could not have asked for a better start, with his stars scoring and Barcelona's possession-based style defusing Sevilla's up-tempo attack.

Messi seemed to be well marshalled as he dribbled into the area from the right side in the 14th minute, but one quick touch later and he had the angle he needed to use his left boot to curl a strike around goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

Neymar soon followed in the 31st with his first goal in eight games. His strike was just as silky smooth as he bent a free-kick from the left edge of the area just over the top of the wall and so close to the near post that Rico made no move to stop it.

Barcelona looked close to getting a third goal until Banega fired a blistering strike from long range that goalkeeper Claudio Bravo could only push off his post and into the net.

The match tilted in Sevilla's favour after coach Unai Emery made all three substitutions midway through the second half. Substitute Jose Antonio Reyes started the decisive counter-attack that ended with Aleix Vidal crossing for Gameiro to redirect the ball home.

In Italy, meanwhile, bankrupt, bottom-of-the-table Parma, whose players have not been paid all season, pulled off a stunning 1-0 victory over runaway Serie A leaders Juventus.

Midfielder Jose Mauri, 18, scored on the hour as Juventus, 7-0 winners over Parma earlier this season, suffered their second league loss of the campaign.

Even though the leaders rested several players ahead of their Champions League tie with Monaco on Tuesday, it was still a remarkable result for Parma who have only continued in the league thanks to a fund set up by the Italian federation.

Juventus remain 12 points clear at the top and on course for a fourth successive title while Parma, who have had three points deducted for breaching financial regulations, are on 16 points, still five adrift at the bottom.

In Germany, Robert Lewandowski scored twice, including one of the best goals of his career, to help Bayern Munich to a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, keeping them on course for a third successive title.

Bayern stayed 10 points clear of VfL Wolfsburg, whose 2-0 win at Hamburg SV sent the Dinosaurs into the drop zone and left them in danger of losing their record as the only ever-present side in the Bundesliga's 52-year history.

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