La Liga results  – Ramos save Real again; Barca slip to second

​Real Sociedad 0 – 2 Athletic Bilbao

Deportivo La Coruna 2 – 1 Barcelona

Celta Vigo 0 – 1 Villarreal

Real Madrid  2 – 1 Real Betis

  • Real Madrid  2 – 1 Real Betis

Sergio Ramos headed a late winner as Real Madrid recovered from a howler by keeper Keylor Navas to beat 10-man Real Betis to go top of La Liga.

Navas escaped a red card for fouling Darko Brasanac, then spilled Antonio Sanabria’s shot into his own net.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed Madrid level from a Marcelo cross before half-time.

Betis defender Matteo Piccinini was sent off for dragging back Lucas Vazquez with 12 minutes left, before Ramos powered in a Toni Kroos corner.

Captain Ramos has made a habit of scoring vital goals for Zinedine Zidane’s side this season – most notably a last-minute equaliser against Barcelona and a late winner against Deportivo, both in December.

The centre-back’s power from set-pieces proved vital as Real did not quite click in attack without the suspended Gareth Bale, and with Karim Benzema named among the substitutes.

Ronaldo provided his usual threat, heading a fine equaliser and seeing another goal ruled out for offside.

But it was Ramos who led by example, as Zidane’s side took advantage of Barcelona’s surprise  2-1 defeat at Deportivoearlier on Sunday to regain top spot.

Real Betis were beaten 6-1 at home by Real Madrid in October, not long before head coach Gus Poyet was sacked.

This was a much-improved display under the guidance of Victor Sanchez, and they looked for a long time as if they would leave with at least a point.

  • Deportivo La Coruna 2 – 1 Barcelona

Barcelona’s La Liga title hopes were hit as they followed up their famous Champions League win over Paris  St-Germainwith a defeat at struggling Deportivo La Coruna.

Luis Enrique made five changes from the side who beat PSG 6-1, with the injured Neymar ruled out.

Barca were below par, falling behind to a close-range Joselu finish.

Luis Suarez equalised seconds after the restart but an Alex Bergantinos header sealed Depor’s win.

It was the first game Barcelona have ever lost when Suarez has scored, following 67 wins and five draws.

Barca missed Neymar, who scored two and assisted the other of the late goals against PSG.

Pepe Mel’s Deportivo, who are one place above the relegation zone, deserved to win, and also went close to a goal when Alejandro Arribas’ header was tipped onto the post by Marc-Andre ter Stegen – with Bergantinos’ winner coming from the resulting corner.

Lionel Messi, who failed to score for the first time in six games, fired a late free-kick over as they possibly lost the edge in the title race.

Match-winner Alex Bergantinos was making his first La Liga start of the season.

  • ​Real Sociedad 0 – 2 Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao strengthened their hold on seventh place with a 2-0 win at fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

Raul Garcia put Ernesto Valverde’s side ahead from the penalty spot in the 28th minute after Xabi Prieto fouled Yeray Alvarez.

In the 56th minute Inaki Williams took advantage of an underhit backpass by Alvaro Odriozola to double Athletic’s advantage and secure all three points.

  • Celta Vigo 0 – 1 Villarreal

Roberto Soldado scored the winner just before half-time to move Villarreal to fifth place with a 1-0 defeat of Celta Vigo.

Villarreal’s third straight league win moved them above Real Sociedad in the standings. Both teams have 48 points, but Villarreal are ahead on goal difference.

Celta, winless in four league games, played without some regular starters ahead of their Europa League round-of-16 match at Russian team Krasnodar on Thursday. Celta won the first leg 2-1.


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