FC Barcelona had to withstand a second-half fightback at home to Celta Vigo to cling on for a narrow 1-0 win in Camp Nou on Sunday in the eighth-round match of La Liga.
Barca controlled the first half completely, with Gavi and Pedro running the midfield, and it was no surprise when Gavi set Pedro up to score from close range in the 17th minute.
Everything changed after the break, with Celta seeing a goal ruled out for a close offside, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced two excellent saves to deny Iago Aspas and Oscar.
Barca will have to improve considerably if they are to beat Inter Milan in the Champions League ahead of next weekend’s El Clasico against Real Madrid.
On Saturday’s night, Eder Militao’s third-minute header gave Real Madrid a 1-0 win away to Getafe in a match where Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti rested striker Karim Benzema.
It wasn’t a vintage performance from Madrid, who saw how VAR ruled out Rodrygo’s goal for offside.
Athletic Bilbao remain third after a 1-1 draw away to Sevilla.
The home side started strongly on Jorge Sampaoli’s debut in the dugout after replacing Julen Lopetegui as coach.
Oliver Torres put Sevilla ahead from close range, but after Athletic keeper Unai Simon made a couple of good saves, the visitors got into the game and maybe deserved more than the point Mikel Vesga’s left foot shot earned them.
Atletico Madrid went fourth after a 2-1 win at home to Girona, with Angel Correa netting both of their goals in the fifth and 48th minutes, while Rodrigo Riquelme scored for Girona in the 66th minute.
Atletico had goalkeeper Jan Oblak to thank for the win as the keeper made two important saves in the closing minutes to deny the visitors an equalizer.
Real Betis hung on for a 0-0 draw away to Valladolid, despite playing for 55 minutes after defender Gabriel Pezzella was sent off. Valladolid peppered the Betis goal, but couldn’t force a winner.
Real Sociedad beat Villarreal 1-0, with Brais Mendez netting a first-half winner in a game that Real Sociedad deserved to win more clearly after dominating from start to finish.
Almeria ended their four-match goal drought in emphatic style with a 3-1 win at home to Rayo Vallecano with goals from Lucas Robertone, Srdan Babic and El Bilal Toure, with Alejandro Catena netting a late consolation for Rayo.
Almeria’s former Rayo winger Adri Embarba was sent off in the 87th minute.
Espanyol striker Joselu was their hero with two goals that earned his side a 2-2 draw away to Cadiz. Victor Chust put Cadiz in the lead in the 41st minute, before Joselu netted in the 51st and 67th minutes, with Lucas Perez saving a point for Cadiz with 12 minutes left to play.
On Friday evening, goals from Justin Kluivert and Mouctar Diakhaby gave Valencia a 2-1 win away to Osasuna in a bad-tempered match, which saw Osasuna’s Ruben Pena and Unai Garcia sent off along with Diakhaby.