Barca beat Sevilla to extend Liga lead


Madrid, Feb. 7Barcelona stretched their La Liga lead over Real Madrid to a substantial eight points with a comfortable 3-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday.

The Catalans, aiming to win their first Spanish title since 2019, punished second-placed Madrid for their 1-0 defeat by Real Mallorca earlier on, opening up a wide gap ahead of their rivals.

However coach Xavi Hernandez said Barca would not allow any "euphoria" to creep in, urging his players to shut the door on a potential Madrid comeback.

"They are still the favourites because they are the reigning La Liga and Champions League champions," said Xavi.

After a tight first half Jordi Alba broke the deadlock before the hour mark, with further goals from Gavi and Raphinha helping wrap up the win.

The victory was their 10th in their last 11 league games, while Barca are now unbeaten in 15 matches across all competitions.

Real Madrid's hopes of retaining the La Liga title were dented in their defeat by Javier Aguirre's determined Mallorca, in which Marco Asensio missed a penalty.

Nacho's 13th-minute looping header into his own net separated the teams in a hard-fought clash, frequently slowed by various fouls from the hosts.

Amid a constant battle between winger Vinicius Junior and Mallorca's players and supporters, the islanders held off Los Blancos to record an impressive victory.

Vinicius suffered 10 fouls and Mallorca committed 29 in total.

"I think everything that is happening and has happened is not Vini's fault, Vini just wants to play football, and beyond that, there's an atmosphere of provocation," explained Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.

"They foul him, that is what is happening."

Real Sociedad, third, could not cut their six-point deficit on Madrid as they lost 1-0 at home against Real Valladolid.

Earlier Valencia, 17th, fell to a 1-0 defeat at Girona, who kept their first clean sheet of the season.

10-man Bayern go top

A stunning solo goal from Bayern Munich teenager Jamal Musiala sealed a controversial 4-2 away win at Wolfsburg on Sunday, sending the visitors back to the top of the table.

The win, Bayern's first league victory in 2023, was marred by a late VAR decision to chalk off a Wolfsburg goal, which would have made the score 4-3 with seven minutes plus stoppage time remaining.

Bayern went into the game just hours after sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said he was "disappointed" with injured captain Manuel Neuer for putting "his personal interests above" the club.

Neuer, who is currently out injured with a broken leg from a skiing accident in December, criticised the club's decision to fire long-time goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, saying he felt "as if my heart had been ripped out".

The win saw Bayern reclaim their one-point lead over second-placed Union Berlin.

Earlier on Sunday, goals from Jens Stage and Marvin Ducksch carried Werder Bremen to a 2-0 away win that left Stuttgart in the relegation play-off spot.

The win, Bremen's second in a row, sent the promoted side up to eighth, just two spots from the European placings. (AFP)

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