FC Barcelona narrowly defeated Sevilla in La Liga thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, which in turn kept them in contention with Real Madrid.
However, the defending Spanish champions looked set to lose ground on their rivals when Vitolo deservedly put Sevilla ahead at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan after some poor defensive play from Sergi Roberto but Barca hit back just before half-time through Messi.
The Argentinian side-footed past Sergio Rico from the edge of the area, though there was a suspicion of offside against Ivan Rakitic, and he also sets up Luis Suarez’s 61st-minute winner.
Luis Enrique’s team were dominated in the first half, but created numerous chances after the break as they started to open up their opponent’s defence. As a result, Sevilla were overawed in the second half, but did go close when former Blackburn player Steven Nzonzi headed narrowly wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s left-hand upright.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid enjoyed better circumstances in maintaining their two-point lead on top of the La Liga table with an easy 3-0 victory over Leganes.
Gareth Bale latched on to Isco’s pass and, with the aid of a lucky ricochet, took the ball past Leganes keeper Jon Ander Serantes and slotted into the unguarded net, before pouncing to stab in a second from close range just before half-time.
Alvaro Morata added a third in the 76th minute to secure Real’s fourth straight win.