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La Liga: Dembele rescues Messi-less Barcelona; Ocampos drives Sevilla


BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 29: Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona competes with the ball against Luis Rafael ‘Rafa’ Soares and Takashi Inui of SD Eibar during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and SD Eibar at Camp Nou on December 29, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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Is a Champions League season without Barcelona coming to a television screen near you?

La Liga’s perennial contenders dropped points again on Tuesday, an injured Lionel Messi watching from the stands as the Blaugranas struggled to score a winner.

[ MORE: ‘Very, very boring’ Solskjaer avoids title talk ]

The match, coupled with the results of a high-profile scrap between Sevilla and Villarreal, has Barca in a Europa League place after 15 matches.

Sevilla 2-0 Villarreal

Lucas Ocampos converted an eighth-minute penalty and assisted Youssef En-Nesyri’s 53rd-minute marker as Julen Lopetegui’s men held it down at home to leapfrog their visitors.

Sevilla’s 26 points are the same as Villarreal, who has played two more matches. Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid lead the league with 32 points.

Barcelona 1-1 Eibar

The Ousmane Dembele redemption tour played the Camp Nou again on Tuesday as the French winger notched a second-half equalizer for Messi-less Barca.

Martin Braithwaite missed an eighth-minute penalty and then had a goal taken away by VAR within 20 minutes.

Former Middlesbrough man Kike then put the visitors ahead in the 57th minute, but the lead lasted just 10 minutes as Junior Firpo’s cross sailed through the 18 for Dembele to slash home.

The 23-year-old Dembele is fresh off a hamstring injury and now has five goals and two assists in 621 minutes this season. He made just nine appearances last season.

Barcelona’s 25 points in 15 matches are good for sixth place, one point back of three teams and seven behind the Madrid sides.


Cadiz 0-0 Real Valladolid
Levante 4-3 Real Betis

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