MADRID: Barcelona maintained a narrow lead over Real Madrid in the Spanish league despite being held to a 2-2 derby draw by bottom-of-the-table Espanyol.
David Lopez scored for Espanyol in the 23rd minute with Luis Suarez equalising early in the second half from Jordi Alba’s cross. Arturo Vidal, substituting for Ivan Rakitic, headed Barca’s second in the 59th minute. Suarez’s assist meant he has scored or created his side’s past 10 league goals.
Barca were reduced to 10 men when, with 15 minutes remaining, Frenkie de Jong was given his second yellow card in 10 minutes, having pulled back Jonathan Calleri. In the 88th minute Wu Lei shocked the champions when he became the first Chinese player to score a goal against them, securing a draw.
Madrid won 3-0 away to Getafe with defender Raphael Varane scoring the opening goal in the 34th minute, out-jumping goalkeeper David Soria to meet a cross from Ferland Mendy, which rebounded off of Soria and in.
Varane again showed his aerial prowess to double Real’s lead in the 53rd minute, with a towering header from Toni Kroos’ free kick. Luka Modric scored the third when tapping Federico Valverde’s pass into an open goal in stoppage time.
Madrid had drawn their previous games against Valencia, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao.
Atletico Madrid recorded a third successive league victory by beating Levante 2-1 to climb up to third.
** A minute’s applause was held at ties in the French Cup in memory of Nathael Julan, a forward at second-tier Guingamp who died in a car accident after training on Friday.