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Real Drop Points At Home, Barca Net Late Winner At Alaves

Alaves 0-1 Barcelona

FC Barcelona struck late in the second half to secure a 1-0 win away to Deportivo Alaves on Sunday evening.

Barca manager Xavi made three changes to side that lost against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey, as Luuk de Jong, Frenkie de Jong and Sergino Dest were all recalled.

The Catalan giants had a strong start as Luuk de Jong came close to giving them the lead in the 15th minute with a volley from Dest's cross that missed narrowly wide.

The visitors remained on the front foot and Gerard Pique should have given them the lead on the half-hour mark after latching onto a corner at the back post but guided close-range header wide.

Alaves had the best chance of the first stanza on the stroke of half-time from a counter-attack after Pere Pons went through on goal in the box but fired his strike straight at goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in a one-on-one situation.

Barcelona retained their attacking momentum in the early exchanges of the second stanza but they were struggling to create clear chances.

It took up until the 64th minute for Blaugrana to look like scoring as Luuk de Jong fired a volley straight at shot-stopper Fernando Pocheco in the six-yard box after a free-kick by Pedri.

Alaves were pushing high up the pitch in the closing phase and Joselu came close to breaking the deadlock for the hosts 12 minutes before time with a header from six-yards that missed narrowly wide after a cross by Jason.

Xavi's charges eventually got the winner three minutes before time after Frenkie de Jong slotted home a tap-in from Ferran Torres' square pass and Barca went up to fifth on the log with a narrow win.

Real Madrid 2-2 Elche

Karim Benzema missed his first penalty for Real Madrid, who battled back back from two goals to secure a 2-2 draw against Elche on Sunday evening.

Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti brought back his regulars after a Copa del Rey Cup win over the same side, with Eden Hazard earning a spot in the line-up.

The hosts had a big chance to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark after they were awarded a penalty for a push on Vincius Junior in the box but Benzema's spot-kick skimmed the top of the crossbar.

Elche punished Los Blancos just before the half-time break, as Lucas Boye found the back of the net with a header past shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois after a cross on the byline by Fidel.

Ancelotti's charges were awarded a penalty six minutes in after Diego Gonzalez had his hands on Hazard in the box but the referee overturned his original decision after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review on the pitch-side monitor.

Los Blancos had an injury blow just before the hour-mark after Benzema could not continue with a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Luka Jovic and just after that Rodrygo replaced Toni Kroos, in a tactical move.

The visitors had acres of space on counter-attacks and Pere Milla eventually doubled their lead 14 minutes before time with a strike across goal after a through ball by Boye.

However, Milla became a villain six minutes later after he conceded a penalty, that was awarded after a VAR review, with an out-stretched arm in the box from Luka Modric's cross and Modric made no mistake from the spot-kick, sending Badia the wrong way.

Madrid were sending numbers forward in the dying minutes and Eder Militao levelled matters in stoppage time with a towering header in the six-yard box after a cross by Vincius Junior and a point extended Los Blancos' lead at the top of the log to four points.

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