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Barcelona close La Liga gap on Real

Barcelona have beaten Real Betis 2-0 in Spanish football's La Liga.
Barcelona close La Liga gap on Real
Photo Source: AP

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Substitute Sergio Araujo struck a late equaliser as Las Palmas held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw that left them with a one-point lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Three minutes after coming on, Karim Benzema gave Real a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute, but the hosts spoiled the visitors' night with Araujo's 85th minute goal.

Barca, playing without the injured Lionel Messi for the first time this season, won 5-0 at 10-man Sporting Gijon earlier in the day. Neymar scored twice while Luis Suarez, Arda Turan and Rafinha also hit the back of the net.

"I'm disappointed with the two goals we gave away," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.

"We had the game under control but we had a lack of concentration at the end. We deserved to win this game."

Real, who saw their record-equalling 16-game winning run in La Liga halted in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Villarreal, took a deserved 33rd-minute lead when Marco Asensio headed in the rebound after goalkeeper Javi Varas was unable to hold onto Nacho's powerful strike.

The hosts equalised five minutes later via Tana before Benzema scored after Cristiano Ronaldo's powerful shot was kept out by Varas, the Portugal captain the replaced after 71 minutes.

"He always wants to be on the pitch but we have a game on Tuesday and I felt he needed to rest," Zidane in reference to the Ronaldo substitution.

Real are top with 14 points while Barcelona climbed into second place after Sevilla lost for the first time this season, 3-1 at Athletic Bilbao, and fell to fourth.

Barca made a slow start at El Molinon before Suarez broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, rounding Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar to tap in the opener.

Rafinha then headed in Sergi Roberto's cross at the near post for the second three minutes later.

Sporting lost captain Alberto Lora to a second yellow card for a late challenge on Sergi Roberto in the 74th.

In the final nine minutes, substitute Paco Alcacer hit the crossbar but Neymar pounced on the rebound to tap in, Turan headed Barca's fourth then Neymar got his second.

Athletic Bilbao recorded their fourth successive league win at San Mames to climb to third, with Sevilla's Samir Nasri cancelling out Mikel San Jose's opener before Mikel Balenziaga scored his first goal in his 270th game.

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