La Liga wrap: 10-man Barca escape with win
Barcelona carved out a much needed 3-1 win over lowly Sporting Gijon on Saturday despite the absence of suspended star Lionel Messi.
Pep Guardiola's men moved within seven points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with second-half goals from Seydou Keita and Xavi after they had looked in real danger of dropping points following Gerard Pique's dismissal and David Barral's equaliser moments later.
Andres Iniesta tapped home after a trademark Barcelona move to end a spell of frustration for the hosts in the 42nd minute.
However, their advantage was short lived and disaster struck soon after half-time when Pique was sent off for a tangle on the edge of the box with Miguel de las Cuevas moments before Barral deflected in at the near post in the 49th minute.
Barcelona probed without their usual incisiveness and found the breakthrough 11 minutes from time with Keita's superb curling shot from the edge of the area.
With Sporting's resistance broken, Xavi added a third in the 88th minute with a clever chipped finish past the encroaching Juan Pablo Colinas.
Meanwhile, Malaga moved past Levante into the Champions League qualifying spot with 3-1 win at Getafe.
Eliseu Pereira scored one goal and provided an assist as Manuel Pellegrini's men clawed their way back from a first-half deficit following Diego Castro's strike.
Substitute Eliseu made an immediate impact after coming on at half-time with his 25-yard strike making it 1-1 before he teed up Jeremy Toulalan for Malaga's second.
Santi Cazorla then wrapped up the scoring with a stunning strike from distance for Malaga's third.
Sevilla and Atletico Madrid shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw between the mid-table sides.
Eduardo Salvio silenced the home crowd when he opened the scoring for Atletico in the ninth minute but Papa Babacar Diawara pounced for Sevilla just after half-time to make it 1-1.
Sixth-placed Osasuna were denied a rare away win at Mallorca after Emilio Nsue's equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Alvaro Cejudo had given Osasuna the lead with a low drive from the penalty area on the stroke of half-time.
Rayo Vallecano took advantage of 10-man Racing Santander with a flurry of goals in a 4-2 win.
Gonzalo Colsa put Racing two goals to the good in the first half despite goalkeeper Tono being sent off earlier in just the third minute.
Rayo's Miguel Perez Cuesta equalised on the stroke of half-time and added a second in the 64th minute to level it at 2-2. Further strikes from Raul Tamudo and Piti wrapped up the win against a stretched Racing.