Raphinha’s winner restores Barcelona’s nine-point lead at top of LaLiga

Raphinha celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao (Alvaro Barrientos/AP) (AP)
Raphinha celebrates after scoring against Athletic Bilbao (Alvaro Barrientos/AP) (AP)

Raphinha scored the only goal as LaLiga leaders Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao at San Mames to restore their nine-point lead over second-placed Real Madrid.

The Brazil international struck in first-half stoppage time, with the effort being given after a VAR check after the flag had initially gone up for offside.

Barca then benefited from the technology again in the 89th minute, Inaki Williams thinking he had equalised but VAR spotting a handball in the build-up, as Xavi’s men saw out the 1-0 win.

Fourth-placed Real Sociedad were held 1-1 at Mallorca, seeing Carlos Fernandez’s early opener cancelled out by Lee Kang-in shortly after the break. The visitors had Mikel Merino sent off in the closing stages.

Real Betis and Villarreal, in fifth and sixth respectively, also drew 1-1.

Sevilla moved out of the relegation places after they came from behind to defeat fellow strugglers Almeria 2-1 at home, with Erik Lamela netting a 73rd-minute winner.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side move up to 13th, two points clear of the drop zone, with Getafe replacing them in 18th place.

In Serie A, an eventful contest at the Stadio Olimpico saw 10-man Roma beaten 4-3 by Sassuolo.

Jose Mourinho’s men – now fifth – were 2-0 down early on thanks to Armand Lauriente’s brace and after Nicola Zalewski’s reply, Marash Kumbulla’s challenge on Domenico Berardi in first-half stoppage resulted in a penalty scored by the latter, while the former was sent off.

Paulo Dybala reduced the deficit once again, before Andrea Pinamonti put the away side 4-2 up, with Roma then hitting back through Georginio Wijnaldum in time added on at the end but unable to salvage a point.

Juventus were also involved in an action-packed game as they beat rock-bottom Sampdoria 4-2 at home.

The game was level at 2-2 at half-time after goals from Juve’s Bremer and Adrien Rabiot were followed by Tommaso Augello and Filip Djuricic efforts. Rabiot then notched his second on 64 minutes before Matias Soule sealed the win in added time.

There were also 2-0 wins for Torino at Lecce and Fiorentina at Cremonese, while Hellas Verona and Monza drew 1-1 at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

In Ligue 1, second-placed Marseille are 10 points behind leaders Paris St Germain after two late goals from Jean-Eudes Aholou saw them dramatically denied victory at home against Strasbourg.

Despite having Leonardo Balerdi sent off in the first half, OM looked on course for three points after Chancel Mbemba and Alexis Sanchez, with a penalty, scored in the second half, but Aholou then netted in the 88th and 89th minutes to secure a 2-2 draw for his team.

Lens moved up to third after a 4-0 thrashing of Clermont Foot at Stade Gabriel-Montpied that featured a remarkable hat-trick from Lois Openda.

Lens leapfogged Monaco, who lost 1-0 at home to Reims via Folarin Balogun’s 51st-minute goal.

In the Bundesliga, fourth-placed Union Berlin’s winless run extended to a fourth match as Patrick Wimmer’s leveller saw them held to a 1-1 draw at Wolfsburg.

Freiburg are level on points with Union, and third-placed RB Leipzig, in fifth after Ritsu Doan’s 89th-minute effort secured a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim, who had Ozan Kabak sent off five minutes earlier.

Bayer Leverkusen fought back from a goal down to triumph 3-2 at Werder Bremen.