Sevilla beat Real Madrid to open up La Liga title race

Seville (Spain), Jan 16 (IANS) Sevilla ended Real Madrid’s 40-game unbeaten run and threw the race for the Spanish top division title wide open by beating the league leaders 2-1 following a dramatic comeback at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium here.

A tense first half saw both sides trade blows in a high-octane affair on Sunday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

Madrid took the lead in the 67th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot after Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico needlessly brought down Madrid fullback Dani Carvajal.

It looked as if the visitors were going to move seven points clear of Sevilla and five clear of Barcelona with a game in hand (despite Sevilla’s impressive efforts) until five minutes before time when Sergio Ramos took center stage.

The former Sevilla defender had been the cause of controversy during the week for his celebrations after scoring a penalty against his former club in the King’s Cup, and he became the protagonist again when he headed into his own net to give Sevilla the equaliser.

Stefan Jovetic then celebrated his league debut with the winning goal in the 91st minute, a shot from outside of the area to send the crowd at Pizjuan wild and open up the title race.

Things look a lot clearer at the bottom of the table after the bottom two sides, Osasuna and Granada, made it a 1-1 draw in Granada’s Los Carmenes Stadium.

Sporting Gijon are also looking doomed after a 3-2 defeat at home to Eibar.

Adrian put Eibar ahead in the third minute from the penalty spot, and although Carmona soon levelled, further goals from Pedro Leon and Lillo put Eibar 3-1 up. Despite Nacho Cases netting for the home side in the second half, Eibar were able to hold on for a win.

Valencia were able to move away from relegation danger with a vital win 2-1 at home to Espanyol on Sunday with a first half goal from Martin Montoya and a second half finish from Santi Mina giving the Primera Liga strugglers just their second home win of the season.

David Lopez scored from close range in the 85th minute to provoke a few nerves among home fans, but Valencia hung on with few problems for a vital win.

Nemanja Radoja scored an 89th minute winner as Celta Vigo broke Alaves’ hearts after the visitors had defended firmly with just 10 men following Zou Feddal’ s red card in the first minute of the second half in the Balaidos stadium.

The late goal was the first Alaves have conceded in over 450 minutes of football away from home in all competitions to highlight the mettle of the side promoted to the top flight this season.