La Liga roundup: Barca drop points, Atleti go top to start 2016

AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza
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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight:

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Espanyol 0-0 Barcelona

Barcelona held 73 percent of possession, created more than twice as many chances (10-4), but could put only two on target, and ended up drawing 0-0 away to 11th-place Espanyol. Lionel Messi went closest to giving Barca the three points, but his curling free kick found only the intersection of the crossbar and post (below video).

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Levante

With Barca dropping points, Saturday was Atletico Madrid’s chance to go top of the league for the first time all season, and they did just that with a 1-0 victory bottom-of-the-table Levante, courtesy of an 81st-minute winner scored by 22-year-old Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (below video). The victory puts Atleti (41 points), who won the La Liga title two years ago, two points ahead of Barca and five points ahead of Real Madrid, who play on Sunday. Real Madrid haven’t lifted the league trophy since the 2011-12 season.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Malaga 2-0 Celta Vigo

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Sociedad (6 a.m. ET)
Real Betis vs. Eibar (10 a.m. ET)
Granada vs. Sevilla (10 a.m. ET)
Deportivo La Coruna vs. Villarreal (12:15 p.m. ET)
Athletic Bilbao vs. Las Palmas (12:15 p.m. ET)
Valencia vs. Real Madrid (2:30 p.m. ET)