Allan Nyom

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La Liga: Barcelona restores lead, Betis grabs late winner

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Barcelona restored its five-point lead at the top of the La Liga table thanks to a 3-1 victory over Leganes on Sunday.

Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring, poking a right-footed effort off the inside of the post and in just beyond the half-hour mark. Leganes, meanwhile, owned just one shot through the first half. They visitors at the Camp Nou managed to draw level through Martin Braithwaite in the 57th minute as Allan Nyom delivered a brilliant long-ball down the right to Youssef En-Nesyri who crossed for Braithwaite on the doorstep.

Luis Suarez restored Barcelona’s lead 14 minutes later, but it was all thanks to some Lionel Messi magic. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner ripped a brilliant curler from outside the top of the box that forced a spectacular save from Ivan Cuellar, but he only barely got to the shot, popping it up into the air and falling right at the feet of Suarez who tapped in. Messi would get his own in stoppage time to kill off the game, working a back-and-forth with Jordi Alba before finding space near the penalty spot for an easy finish.

Overall, Barcelona held 72% possession and out-shot Leganes 15-5. The win put Barcelona at 46 points at the top of the table, five above Atletico Madrid and 10 clear of Real Madrid.

Elsewhere, Real Betis earned a big three points, keeping them alive in the crowded Champions League race. Sergio Canales scored a penalty in the 94th minute to win 3-2 over Girona. Both teams held leads at one point in the match, as Cristian Tello put Betis in front just 12 minutes in before Girona took control on goals by 21-year-old Aleix Garcia and 31-year-old Seydou Doumbia before halftime. After the break, Lorenzo Morón brought the game back level, a scoreline which held until stoppage time as Canales powerfully deposited the penalty into the lower left-hand corner after Douglas Luiz had fouled Giovani lo Celso.

The win for Betis pushes them up to 7th in the table on 29 points, with fourth placed Sevilla just four points ahead at 33, and Real Madrid in third on 36 points.

Athletic Bilbao and Villareal both settled for a disappointing point in a 1-1 draw. Karl Toko Ekambi rescued the draw for Villareal after Jaume Costa put one in his own net early in the first half. Still, either side would have preferred the win in the crowded relegation battle. Athletic moved to 13th on 23 points with the draw, while Villareal is stuck in 19th on 18 points.

Levante earned a big 2-0 home win over Real Valladolid thanks to goals by Coke and Roger Marti, each coming at the end of a half. The victory pushed them to 26 points, sliding them into 10th place.

Rayo Vallecano was minutes away from a big win that would have brought them out of the relegation zone, but Brazilian striker Willian Jose scored in the 82nd minute to rescue a point for Real Sociedad and leave Rayo in 18th on 20 points.

La Liga: 10-man Sevilla score late, but lose ground in title race

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wissam Ben Yedder kept 10-man Sevilla unbeaten in eight Spanish league games when the forward scored in stoppage time to snatch a 1-1 draw at Leganes on Sunday.

With dense fog at Butarque Stadium in Madrid, Ben Yedder slipped behind his marker and met Roque Mesa‘s short cross to the far post where the forward nodded the ball off the turf and into the corner of the net.

The draw left Pablo Machin’s Sevilla in third place and five points behind leader Barcelona as the league starts its two-week winter break.

“It was tough for us after they scored first, but we leave with a draw,” Ben Yedder said. “It is an important point.”

Leganes had gone ahead when Mikel Vesga headed in a cross by Allan Nyom in the fifth minute.

Sevilla was playing without top scorer Pablo Sarabia and midfielder Ever Banega, both serving one-game suspensions for accumulating five yellow cards.

It then lost Franco Vazquez when he was given a direct red card at halftime for arguing with the referee. Jesus Navas also had to be substituted during the break because of a muscle injury in his right leg.

“This team showed it has spirit and courage,” Machin said.

“We knew how to overcome the sending off and the problem with Jesus. . I am sure (Vazquez) thought that he was right . but it doesn’t justify losing your temper and getting sent off.”

Shortly before Ben Yedder netted his eighth goal in the league this season, both Sevilla’s Ibrahim Amadou and Leganes striker Youssef En-Nesyri sent shots off the woodwork.

Leganes, despite being near the bottom of the table in 16th place, hasn’t lost at home to the top three teams in the standings. It upset Barcelona 2-1 in September and drew 1-1 with second-placed Atletico Madrid last month.

Livermore keeps West Brom alive

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  • Baggies stay alive
  • Spurs stay fourth
  • Livermore scores at death

West Bromwich Albion is still alive following a 1-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Jake Livermore cleaned up a goal mouth scramble in the third minute of stoppage time to move West Brom into 19th place.

The Baggies’ hot finish to the season needed all three points to stay alive, and Darren Moore‘s men needed almost every moment to complete their valiant effort to save Premier League status.

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Spurs had three-quarters or more of possession for most of the match, though decent chances were at a premium.

Allan Nyom took a slap to the face from Danny Rose after exchanging shoves in the second half, but only yellow cards came to both.

Hugo Lloris made an incredible save on — you’re going to read this right — Harry Kane when the English striker failed to clear danger over his goal.

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Bournemouth 2-1 West Brom: Cherries fight back

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  • Late goals from Ibe, Stanislas seal comeback
  • West Brom 1 win in last 28 games
  • Baggies 10 points from safety

Bournemouth launched a late comeback to beat West Brom 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

West Brom led through Jay Rodriguez but two spectacular goals late on from Jordon Ibe and Junior Stanislas sparked a dramatic comeback.

With the win Bournemouth move into 11th on 36 points, while West Brom stay bottom on 20 points.

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West Brom started well and Salomon Rondon’s header was saved by Asmir Begovic after good work down the right from Allan Nyom.

Rodriguez then forced Begovic into another save and Bournemouth were forced into a defensive change as Simon Francis was replaced by Charlie Daniels.

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Some hefty challenges flew in as both sets of players were fired up and ready for battle, with Josh King going down in the box at one end and Rondon at the other end as the Venezuelan also forced Begovic into another save.

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Early in the second half West Brom went ahead as Kieran Gibbs‘ cross found Rondon who nodded down and Rodriguez finished to breath new life into the Baggies’ survival hopes. Or so they thought…

Junior Stanislas put a free kick just over as Bournemouth started to turn the key and soon they were level. Ibe spanked a shot in from distance which skipped into the far corner to make it 1-1, then came Stanislas’ heroics.

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The winger curled home a sumptuous free kick to make it 2-1 and send the home fans wild as Bournemouth’s Premier League status was all but secured for another season.

West Brom 1-2 Manchester United: Red Devils hang on

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  • United back into second
  • Lukaku scores 10th PL goal of season
  • Baggies winless in 16

Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard scored first half goals and Manchester United held on to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

Gareth Barry scored the Baggies’ lone goal, as Alan Pardew‘s men sit 19th and without a win since August.

United pulls three points ahead of Chelsea, and is 11 points back of Man City.

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West Brom wasn’t intimidated by the task at hand, and James McClean was particularly lively as the Baggies tried to find an opener.

But United quickly settled into control through possession, albeit without any effective incisiveness.

That changed when Lukaku rose to deposit a trademark header beyond the reach of Ben Foster, converting Marcus Rashford‘s cross with power.

After a moment of danger provided by Allan Nyom and Salomon Rondon, United made it 2-0 when Lingard took a lay-off from Juan Mata and hit a shot that Ahmed Hegazi deflected past Foster.

Jake Livermore forced David De Gea into a low save in the 44th minute.

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The Baggies pulled one back as both Evans and Barry could’ve tapped in a loose ball off a corner kick.

Barry did, and United was on its heels. Credit Alan Pardew for his substitutes of Barry, Chris Brunt, and Jay Rodriguez (though they were, after all, on the bench).

Rodriguez powered a header off Brunt’s cross wide of the near post with about five minutes to play.

And a scramble in front nearly put the Baggies level, but De Gea was there. The keeper was kicked by Ahmed Hegazi and came up smarting.