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Xavi puts Barça back on top

Xavi Hernández goal helped Barcelona to a 1-0 victory over nine-man Granada on Tuesday, while Sevilla struck late to draw 2-2 with Real Racing Club.

The Spanish champions took the lead in Granada after 33 minutes when Xavi, brought down 22 metres from goal, curled the resulting free-kick past goalkeeper Roberto. However, it was not a fluent performance from Barcelona, who lost Pedro Rodríguez to an ankle injury early in the second half and were unable to capitalise on the 53rd-minute dismissal of Granada’s Jaime Romero.

The closest Barcelona came to extending their advantage was when Lionel Messi’s late shot was scrambled off the line by the hosts, who also had Dani Benítez sent off in added time. The 1-0 victory took Josep Guardiola’s side, who have not conceded a goal in seven matches, a point clear of Levante, who have a game in hand, at the summit.

Sevilla, meanwhile, followed up Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Camp Nou by moving to within two points of third-placed Real Madrid. However, the Andalusians needed a 92nd-minute equaliser from Manu at home to struggling Racing. The forward had put Sevilla one up before the break but two goals in eight second-half minutes looked to have given Racing their first win of the season, only for Manu’s late intervention to make it 2-2.