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La Liga wrap: Barcelona fight back to beat Sevilla
Feb 24, 2013 4:44 AM GMT
La Liga leaders Barcelona rallied to beat Sevilla, while Real Madrid suffered a scare before prevailing on Saturday.
Barcelona bounced back from a midweek Champions League loss with a 2-1 win over Sevilla that stretched their lead on top of the table to 15 points.
Just as they did against AC Milan on Wednesday, Barcelona looked largely devoid of ideas for long periods and their defensive deficiencies were exposed once more when Sevilla defender Alberto Botia opened the scoring just before the break.
It was clear Barcelona needed a swift riposte to restore their fragile confidence - and they got one five minutes into the second half when David Villa cushioned a sublime cross from Dani Alves past a helpless Beto.
The goal, coupled with the half-time introduction of Cristian Tello in place of Alexis Sanchez, transformed Barcelona, who took the lead just before the hour mark through Lionel Messi.
Messi started and finished the move, passing wide to Tello before losing his man, Botia, in the area and coolly side-footing the return ball home.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory against a dogged Deportivo La Coruna.
Madrid started slowly and their inability to create chances turned costly as Riki put the hosts ahead in the 35th minute.
Jose Mourinho used all three substitutes shortly before the hour mark in what proved a masterstroke by the Real manager.
Kaka netted the equaliser in the 73rd minute before Gonzalo Higuain scored the decisive goal with two minutes of normal time remaining.
In other matches, two goals from Brazilian forward Jonas handed Valencia a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Real Zaragoza.
Getafe recovered from Giovani Dos Santos' opening goal to defeat Mallorca 3-1 away from home.