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Spanish league tight at top, Real Sociedad loses at Sevilla

JOSEPH WILSON

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Sevilla beat Real Sociedad 3-2 on Sunday to stop the Basque visitors from going top of a tightly contested Spanish league.

Sevilla's first win in three rounds left the top six teams — including traditional powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid — within two points of each other.

Real Madrid leads after seven rounds. Granada, which has just returned to the top flight, is one point back in second, ahead of Atlético Madrid on goal difference. Barcelona, Sociedad and Sevilla are two points off the pace.

"In this league, each win is a conquest," Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said. "It was a very demanding game against a rival with lots of talent. They scored right at the start, and that gives more merit to the way we came back."

Sociedad forward Mikel Oyarzabal opened the scoring four minutes into the match after Adnan Januzaj stole the ball near the touchline and placed a perfectly weighted pass through the defense for his teammate to fire home his fourth goal of the season.

Sevilla equalized through Manuel "Nolito" Agudo in the 18th, who expertly curled in a pass from Ever Banega.

The hosts then caught Sociedad off guard on a quickly taken free kick that put Lucas Ocampos in the area, where he cut back to juke around the last defender before blasting a shot from a tight angle past goalkeeper Miguel Moya.

Joan Jordán hit the woodwork for Sevilla before Franco Vázquez got a third with 10 minutes to go.

Cristian "Portu" Portugués scored the visitors' second goal in the 87th from a pass by Martin Odergaard, who was Sociedad's best playmaker.

"It was too bad we couldn't hang on to the lead a little while longer to make them nervous, their equalizer arrived too soon," Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil said. "We weren't comfortable and their second goal was a big blow. But we didn't give up, so I am satisfied for the effort of my team."

COACH ON THE ROPES

Espanyol coach David Gallego is under pressure from fans after his side lost for the fourth time in as many home games. Espanyol lost 2-0 to Valladolid at its RCDE Stadium and finished the match with 10 men.

Valladolid's Michel Herrero converted a first-half penalty kick and Oscar Plano added another goal in stoppage time. Espanyol defender Fernando Calero was sent off with a direct red card in the 65th for fouling a player with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Gallego was promoted from the club's reserve team this offseason after Joan "Rubi" Ferrer left to take over Spanish rival Real Betis. The team finished in seventh place and qualified for the Europa League last season, but it has struggled under Gallego.

Its main problem is in attack. Without striker Borja Iglesias, who also left for Betis this summer, it has scored just once in four home losses. Overall it has one win and is in the relegation zone after six rounds.

"The fans are the boss. I can only accept what they say from the stands, but it won't influence how I work," Gallego said. "I believe I can turn this around. I haven't figured it out yet as far as results go, but we are playing better. I am a fighter, a hard worker and won't give up."

OTHER RESULTS

Alavés ended a three-match losing streak with a 2-0 win against relegation-threatened Mallorca. Eibar earned a second consecutive win by defeating Celta Vigo 2-0, and Levante's Hernani Santos scored and was sent off with two bookings in a 1-1 draw with Osasuna.

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