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La Liga Roundup: Real Madrid secure huge road victory

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For all the talk of a crisis at Real Madrid through the summer and early portion of the season, Los Blancos sit in second place in the La Liga table after a huge road win at Sevilla. That match highlights Sunday’s La Liga action from Spain.

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Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid

Karim Benzema has been overlooked at times, partially because he always played in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow and because Didier Deschamps refuses to select him for the France National Team. But on Sunday, he came through big, as he often does, for his club side Real Madrid.

Los Blancos secured a big 1-0 victory at Sevilla, with the hosts – Sergio Ramos’ former club – failing to register a shot on target. Early on Sevilla floated balls into the box and had a shout for a penalty kick when a header clanged off Raphael Varane before going out of play. However, it wasn’t ruled a handball.

In the 65th minute, Benzema found himself in space in the box and off a great feed from right back Dani Carvajal, the Frenchman headed back across goal to put Real Madrid up 1-0.

The partnership of Ramos and Varane kept Mexican international Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez quiet after entering in the 69th minute. The match was also the first for Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui against his former employers since they sacked him just a few months into the season.

With the win, Real Madrid moves into a tie for first in the table, though they sit in second place behind Athletic Bilbao on goal differential.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-1 Valencia

Getafe 4-2 Mallorca

Espanyol 1-3 Real Sociedad

Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Alaves

La Liga roundup: Sevilla edges Alaves, takes lead of league

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Sevilla becoming league leaders headlines Sunday’s La Liga action.

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Alaves 0-1 Sevilla

As far as the standings go, there is no better team in Spain’s top-flight than Sevilla. 

With a free-kick goal from Joan Jordan in the 37th minute, Julen Lopetegui’s side earned a 1-0 victory against Alaves, climbing to the summit of La Liga with 10 points, one ahead of Atletico Madrid. 

The visiting side controlled the majority of the match, dominating control of the ball and putting seven shots on frame. In the late stages of the game, off of a counter-attack, Lucas Ocampos’ rifling shot struck the post.

Alaves, who lost their first match of the season, only recording no shots on target on seven total shots. But nearly shocked everyone in attendance when Manu Garcia’s diving header went inches wide of Tomáš Vaclík goal.

Mexico international Javier “Chicharito” Hernandezmade his Sevilla debut, coming on in the 70th minute for Luuk De Jong.

The league leaders host Real Madrid next, while Alaves look to bounce back against red-hot Athletic Bilbao.

Celta Vigo 0-2 Granada

The reflectors aren’t not on them, but Granda are off to a formidable start.

To be exact, following a 2-0 win against an in-theory superior Celta Vigo, the recently-promoted side sits seventh in the table, tied with Barcelona with seven points.

The visiting side did get a big boost: a numerical advantage on the field. By the 29th minute, Celta were playing with nine players, following the direct red cards to midfielder Fran Beltran and defender Jorge Saenz. It was a one-sided game from there on out.

Right before heading into the dressing room, German Sanchez headed one home for Granada. In the 54th minute, former NYCFC midfielder Yangel Herrera’s a rocket of a shot was impossible for Ruben Blanco to save.

Granada host Barcelona next. Elsewhere, Celta Vigo hope to not look half as bad as they travel to nation’s capital to take on Atletico Madrid.

Eibar 1-2 Espanyol

Valladolid 1-1 Osasuna

Real Betis 1-1 Getafe

Sevilla go top of La Liga with 1-0 win at Alaves

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) A masterfully taken free kick by Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan earned a 1-0 victory at Alaves and lifted his team to the top of the standings in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Jordan struck a dipping free kick over the defensive wall that goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco could only watch land in his net in the 38th minute.

[ MORE: Everton wasting opportunity ]

Jordan, who joined Sevilla from Eibar before the season, also scored in a 1-0 win at Granada in round two.

Sevilla didn’t threaten Alaves again, but both sides’ defenses and the heavy rain made the rest of the match a pedestrian slugfest.

The match ended with a small scuffle that earned bookings for a pair of players on each team.

Coach Julen Lopetegui, who was fired by both Spain’s national team and Real Madrid during a turbulent 2018, has made an impressive start in Seville. Sevilla is undefeated in four rounds after also winning at Espanyol and drawing with Celta Vigo.

Next weekend Lopetegui’s Sevilla will host Madrid.

The win at Alaves pushed Sevilla into first place. Atletico Madrid is one point behind, followed by Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao two points back. Defending champion Barcelona and Real Sociedad are three points off the pace.

FIRST GOALS

Espanyol scored its first goals of the season and got its first win after fighting back for a 2-1 victory at Eibar.

Facundo Ferreyra and Esteban Granero scored in the final 15 minutes to pull off the comeback.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Javier Hernandez seals Sevilla transfer

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Javier Hernandez completed his move to Sevilla on Monday, as Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer left West Ham in a $9.7 million deal.

Hernandez, 31, arrived in Spain on Sunday to complete his medical and the predatory forward has signed a three-year deal with Sevilla on transfer deadline day in Europe.

He will now play in the Europa League and Sevilla have made a fine start to the new La Liga season as Monchi has returned as sporting director and overseen a huge squad overhaul.

Hernandez revealed that his close friend and El Tri teammate Miguel Layun, who played for the La Liga club, helped him make the decision to join Sevilla.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m very happy to be at this club,” Hernandez said as he was unveiled by Sevilla. “I spoke to Miguel Layun a lot. I have only heard positive things about Sevilla FC, when I came to visit I fell in love with the city and the club.”

At West Ham Hernandez never truly nailed down a starting spot but he continued to score goals with 17 in his 63 appearances (most of which came off the bench) in all competitions.

The Hammers have Haller, Albian Ajeti, Andriy Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson, Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini as attacking options, so Hernandez’s departure makes sense.

He last played in Spain for Real Madrid during a loan move from Man United in 2014 and Hernandez will battle with Luuk do Jong and Ronny Ocampos for minutes up top.

West Ham’s Chicharito arrives in Spain ahead of Sevilla move

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Well now we know that Manuel Pellegrini has a sly side.

Kidding aside, the West Ham boss waved goodbye to one of his strikers, as Mexican star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was captured arriving at Sevilla’s San Pablo Airport on Sunday. He is expected to be introduced formally by the club on Monday, just in time before the European transfer window deadline.

Hernandez, 31, was left out of the lineup on Saturday due to injury, Pellegrini said, but was also preparing for a return to La Liga. In 2014, on loan from Manchester United, Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer played an entire season at Real Madrid, scoring nine goals in 33 appearances throughout all competitions.

Chicharito then moved on to the Bundesliga, where he became a wrecking force for Bayer Leverkusen, scoring 39 goals in 76 appearances.

Since then, however, a lack of consistency has plagued the Guadalajara native. In Week 2, against Brighton, Hernandez scored, giving him 17 West Ham goals for his career that started back in 2017.

With Wissam Ben Yedder now at Monaco, and Dutchman Luuk De Jong as the only sign of competition, Chicharito will have his chances under manager Julen Lopetegui to regain the form that once made him an international household name.

If the transfer is completed, Chicharito will become the third Mexican to play for Sevilla, joining the likes of Gerardo Torrado and Miguel Layun.