Trincao goal keeps Barca’s title hopes alive in Spain


MADRID, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — Francisco Trincao scored a vital winning goal for FC Barcelona to keep their slim title hopes alive with a 3-2 win away to Betis on Sunday night.

Leo Messi and Pedri began on the bench for Barca ahead of next week’s Copa del Rey semifinal. Although Betis also made changes after their quarterfinal defeat on Thursday, they took the lead thanks to Borja Iglesias’ instinctive finish in the second half.

Messi and Pedri came on in the 57th minute. Two minutes later he drew Barca level with a trademark left-foot shot before Victor Ruiz was unfortunate to score an own goal after Griezmann’s efforts to control the ball rebounded off him and into the net.

Ruiz equalized in a thrilling second half with a powerful header, but the Betis defender was caught on the wrong foot as Trincao netted the decisive goal.

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane scored twice as his side came from behind to secure a narrow win away to bottom of the table Huesca on Saturday.

Real Madrid produced another unconvincing display, falling behind to Javi Galan’s left-foot shot in the 48th minute of the match only for Varane to level with a 54th-minute header after Karim Benzema’s free-kick had hit the bar.

Both sides had chances for a second, but Varane found the winner as he scored from close range after another free-kick six minutes from time.

Real Sociedad returned to winning ways with a 4-1 win at home to Cadiz, who were reduced to 10 men after Marcos Mauro was sent off in first-half injury time.

By that time Real Sociedad were already 2-0 up thanks to two goals from Mikel Oyarzabal and Alexander Isak added two more before Jairo Izquierdo netted a 69th minute consolation for the visitors.

Athletic Club and Valencia drew 1-1 with Gabriel Paulista’s second-half header canceling out Hugo Guillamon’s own goal late in the first half. Jaume Domenech made an excellent save early in the second half to deny Oihan Sancet Athletic’s second of the game and the home side lacked a bit of freshness after 120 minutes of Copa del Rey football on Thursday night.

Ante Budimir’s 86th-minute goal lifted Osasuna clear of the bottom three as they won 2-1 at home to Eibar. Jonathan Calleri put Osasuna ahead after an impressive team move in the 18th minute and Kike Garcia’s excellent finish had made it 1-1 on the stroke of halftime.

On Saturday Sevilla warmed up for their Copa del Rey semi-final against Barca with a 3-0 win at home to Getafe, but lost winger Lucas Ocampos, who injured his ankle after a dreadful challenge from Djene Dakoman, who was sent off, while Ocampos was carried off in tears.

Both coaches, Julen Lopetegui and Pepe Bordalas were also sent off for their argument over the challenge, but Sevilla went on to claim the points with goals from Munir El Haddadi, new signing Papu Gomez and Youssef En Nesyri, who scored his 14th of the season.

Villarreal fell further behind the top-four after drawing 2-2 in Elche, who fought back after conceding two first-half goals to Gerard Moreno in the 15th and 35th minute of the match.

Guido Carillo and Lucas Boye earned a point for Elche, who are still without a win since October.

Levante and Granada shared four goals in an entertaining game. Jose Luis Morales twice put Levante ahead only for Granada to twice level through Kenedy’s goals and an injury-time equalizer from Roberto Soldado.

On Friday Alaves beat Valladolid 1-0 to give Abelardo Fernandez his first win since returning to the club and the result also sees Valladolid fall into the drop zone.

League leaders Atletico Madrid face Celta Vigo on Monday night. Enditem


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