MADRID, April 15 — The 32nd round of matches saw Atletico Madrid return to form, while the Seville derby produced a classic encounter between Sevilla and Betis, while a much changed Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw away to bottom of the table Huesca.
Only one player from the Barca side which beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 a week ago (goalkeeper Ter Stegen) was in the team that drew in Huesca as coach Ernesto Valverde rested players such as Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic for next Tuesday’s Champions League tie at home to Manchester United.
Four players, Jeison Murillo, Jean-Clair Todibo, Riqui Puig and Moussa Wague made their league debuts and Barca tried to play their usual passing game with Ter Stegen a virtual spectator, it was a game of very few chances, which edged Barca to within nine points of the title.
Atletico Madrid recovered from their defeat in the Camp Nou to beat struggling Celta Vigo 2-0 in the Wanda Metropolitano.
Antoine Griezmann scored a powerful free kick to open the scoring and Alvaro Morata sealed the victory after rounding the keeper and scoring a left-foot shot after a defense-splitting ball from Griezmann.
The Seville derby didn’t disappoint as the two teams shared five goals and plenty of chances in a game Sevilla won 3-2.
Munir El Haddadi put Sevilla ahead with a 27th minute header, before Giovani Lo Celso equalized for Betis 10 minutes into the second half.
Pablo Sarabia restored Sevilla’s lead in the 59th minute and Fran Vazquez fired home from the edge of the area to make it 3-1 in the 65th minute, although Cristian Tello’s free kick left Sevilla hanging on for a desperate last eight minutes.
Sevilla’s win lifted them to fourth place after Getafe drew 2-2 away to struggling Valladolid, although it will seem more like a point gained for Getafe, who played for 30 minutes with 10 men after Mathias Olivera was sent off for two yellow cards in the 62nd minute.
Jorge Molina kept his cool to score a 96th minute penalty to give Getafe a point and break Valladolid’s hearts and send them into the bottom three after Samuel Chukwueze scored the only goal of the game to give Villarreal a 1-0 win away to Girona, who are also now fully involved in the battle to stay up.
Valencia still have a good chance to finish fourth after beating local rivals Levante 3-1 in the Mestalla Stadium.
Santi Mina opened the scoring with a second minute header and although Carlos Soler’s misfortune saw him score an own goal to make it 1-1 in the 56th minute, Goncalo Guedes put Valencia back in front just a minute later and Mina’s second of the game made it 3-1 with 27 minutes left to play.
Athletic Club Bilbao won a chaotic game 3-2 at home to Rayo Vallecano to move up to seventh.
Inaki William’s shot took a big deflection off Jordi Amat to open the scoring, but after Raul Garcia had a penalty saved, Rayo equalized through Alex Moreno on the stroke of halftime.
Williams put Athletic 2-1 ahead early in the second half and Garcia made it 3-1 after Rayo defender Luis Advincula was sent off.
The Basque side wasted several chances to add to their tally on the break and Raul De Tomas’ 14th goal of the season meant they had to hang on for a nervous last five minutes.
Wu Lei played 63 minutes as Espanyol beat Alaves 2-1 thanks to a 19th minute goal from Adria Pedrosa and a Victor Laguardia’s own goal which put the home side 2-0 up before Jonathan Calleri gave Alaves hope with a 56th minute strike.
Monday sees Leganes play at home to Real Madrid. – XINHUA