Rakitic’s late goal puts Sevilla ahead of Spain; Atlético wins

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Ivan Rakitic’s stoppage goal propelled Sevilla to the top of the Spanish league on Saturday after…

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Ivan Rakitic’s stoppage goal propelled Sevilla to the top of the Spanish league on Saturday after fighting back to a 2-2 draw at home with Alavés.

Atlético Madrid also needed a late goal from center-back Felipe Monteiro to beat Osasuna 1-0 at home.

Alavés was on the verge of securing his second victory at the Sánchez Pizjuán stadium when Rakitic released a ball that fell to him from a poorly defended cross.

The draw left Sevilla ahead of Real Sociedad on goal difference. Sociedad face Valencia on Sunday, while Real Madrid can also get ahead of Sevilla if they win in Granada.

Defender Víctor Laguardia shot a header from a corner to give Alavés the lead in the fifth minute.

Lucas Ocampos equalized for Sevilla in the 38th, but his handball allowed Joselu Mato to put the visitors back in the first half additional time from the penalty spot.

Heavy rains got bogged down on the pitch and made it difficult for Sevilla to deploy their most talented attack in the second half.

“It was not easy considering the condition of the ground with the rain,” said Rakitic. “It’s a precious point.”

ATLÉTICO STAYS CLOSED

Diego Simeone had loaded Atlético’s starting XI with forwards led by Antoine Griezmann, but Osasuna’s stubborn defense prevented the visitors from scoring a point in the capital three minutes away.

It was then that Felipe jumped high at the near post to slice through a Yannick Carrasco cross in the opposite side of the net and grab the winner.

Carrasco almost added a second goal in stoppage time when Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera was caught out of his line, only for the deep shot to hit the post.

This victory left Atlético, fourth, one point behind Real Madrid, third.

Atlético host AC Milan on Wednesday in a game they need to win to increase their chances of coming out of a tough Champions League group that includes Liverpool and Porto.

WITHOUT WINNING OUTSIDE

Villarreal have remained winless on the road in seven league appearances this season after Celta Vigo came back from behind in a 1-1 draw.

Xavi Hernández later made his debut as Barcelona coach in a derby against Espanyol.

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