La Liga round-up: Lewandowski scores twice, Barca bounce back from Clásico loss

La Liga round-up: Lewandowski scores twice, Barca bounce back from Clásico loss

MADRID (AP) — Barcelona needed just seven minutes to make a comeback in the Spanish league.

After losing to Real Madrid in the Clasico on Sunday, Barcelona bounced back by scoring three goals in seven minutes in the first half of a 3-0 win over Villarreal on Thursday.

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Robert Lewandowski scored in the 31st and 35th minutes and Anso Fatty scored in the 38th minute to give Barcelona the win and move the Catalan club within three points of defending champions Madrid.

Madrid extended their lead to six points after a 3-0 win at last-place Elche on Wednesday. The rivals entered the first “clásico” of the season tied on points and Madrid won 3-1 at the Bernabeu to take sole possession of first place.

Sunday’s loss added to Barcelona’s disappointment after they saw their hopes of progressing into the Champions League but ended in a 3-3 home draw against Inter Milan last week.

“After bad results against Inter and Madrid we needed a win,” said Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. “Winning always helps boost team morale in the locker room.”

Coach Xavi Hernandez said Barcelona needed to quickly change their dynamics, and the team responded.

Lewandowski opened the scoring with a low shot from near the penalty spot after clearing two defenders with a good first touch on a cross by Jordi Alba.

The Polish striker added to the lead with another beautiful goal when he got away from a defender and curled a right-footed shot from outside the area into the far corner.

Fati sealed the win from close range after being set up by Ferran Torres. It was Fati’s first goal since September.

It was Barcelona’s eighth win in 10 league matches so far, with the other defeat coming in a 0-0 home draw against Rio Vallecano in the first round, in addition to losing the “Clásico”.

Barcelona then host Athletic Bilbao before welcoming Bayern Munich to the Champions League in a game that may hinge on Inter Milan’s result earlier in the day.

Villarreal dropped to ninth place. Unai Emery’s side had beaten Osasuna in the previous round to end a four-match unbeaten run in the league.

The three goals Villarreal conceded matched the number of goals they had conceded in all other league games so far. It arrived at Camp Nou with the league’s best defence.

“Nothing worked for us from the start,” said Villarreal midfielder Manu Tregueros.

There was a moment of silence before the game because of the death of Villarreal’s vice-president José Manuel Laenza, considered the architect of the Villarreal project that led the club to recent glory.

Other results

Almeria opened with a three-goal lead then won 3-2 at home to Girona in a match between promoted clubs.

Girona looked to have completed their comeback but seven minutes into stoppage time a goal was disallowed for a foul.

The visitors dropped into the relegation zone with the loss, while Almeria finished 13th.

Seventh-placed Osasuna beat Espanyol 1-0 at home thanks to a 55th-minute winner from Ante Budimer.

Espanyol edged closer to the relegation zone.

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