Real Madrid earned their third win in La Liga after beating Alaves 2-1 at Mendizorrotza Stadium on Saturday, thanks to a brace from Dani Ceballos. Those goals moved the reigning champions up to fourth, but they are still seven points behind Barcelona after the leaders beat newly promoted Girona 3-0 away in a Catalan derby.
Barca's main competition is coming from Atletico Madrid, who went second after beating Sevilla 2-0 at home. Meanwhile, the game of the day saw 10-man Malaga battle back from 3-1 down to draw with Athletic Bilbao at La Rosaleda Stadium.
Here are the results from Saturday's matches:
- Atletico Madrid 2-0 Sevilla
- Alaves 1-2 Real Madrid
- Malaga 3-3 Athletic Bilbao
- Girona 0-3 Barcelona
Here's what those results mean for the standings:
- Barcelona: 18 pts
- Atletico Madrid: 14 pts
- Sevilla: 13 pts
- Real Madrid: 11 pts
- Valencia: 9 pts
- Levante: 9 pts
- Real Sociedad: 9 pts
- Real Betis: 9 ts
- Athletic Bilbao: 8 pts
- Villarreal: 7 pts
- Leganes: 7 pts
- Las Palmas: 6 pts
- Eibar: 6 pts
- Getafe: 5 pts
- Espanyol: 5 pts
- Girona: 5 pts
- Celta Vigo: 4 pts
- Deportivo La Coruna: 4 pts
- Malaga: 1
- Alaves: 0
For a look at the full table, go to BBC Sport.
Atleti started the day with a comfortable win over Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Goals from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Antoine Griezmann sent La Rojiblancos second.
For Carrasco, one more goal meant he maintained his place as the most prolific midfielder in Spain's top flight since 2016, per OptaJose:
13 - @CarrascoY21 has scored 13 goals in La Liga since the start of last season, more than any other midfielder. Key.2017-9-23 12:07:10
As for Griezmann, the intelligent French forward is enjoying life in his new home, per Squawka Football:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Antoine Griezmann has now scored in back-to-back LaLiga home games this season. ⚽️ vs. Málaga ⚽️ vs. Sevilla Loving the new stadium. 🏡 https://t.co/T2pcnQXN542017-9-23 12:35:56
Speaking of loving life in a new place, Ceballos has made a fast start to his Real Madrid career. The former Real Betis playmaker bagged a brace in the first half, proof of his more prolific streak since joining Los Merengues in the summer, according to WhoScored.com:
Dani Ceballos: Has scored as many league goals 44 minutes into his full Madrid debut as he managed for Real Betis in 30 apps last term (2)2017-9-23 14:59:16
Manu Garcia had equalised Ceballos' opener, but the latter netted the winner two minutes before the break. His goals have provided a major fillip to Real's so-far stuttering title defence.
Los Blancos still aren't clicking into gear, but they have at least shown they can win ugly when far from their best.
There was nothing ugly about Barca's impressive away win, despite the scrappy nature of Jordi Alba's opener. The left-back's shot took a wicked deflection before squirming in to put the Blaugrana in front on 18 minutes.
A Gorka own goal made life even tougher for Girona three minutes after the break before Luis Suarez wrapped up the points in the 69th minute. In the process, the Uruguayan joined some elite company who were also prolific during their first 100 league games in Spain, per Sky Sports Statto:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
.@LuisSuarez9 scores 87th goal in his 100th La Liga app for Barcelona Goals after 100 La Liga apps 111 C Ronaldo 87 L Suarez 48 L Messi https://t.co/1yZCFjX5sM2017-9-23 20:22:00
The drama reached peak levels in Malaga, where Athletic built a 3-1 lead thanks to an Aritz Aduriz penalty and two goals from gifted winger Inaki Williams. Malaga had only managed a Diego Rolan goal and had also seen midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic sent off for a second yellow card on 52 minutes.
Yet, despite being a man down and two goals adrift, the hosts rallied superbly in the final nine minutes. First, Paul Baysse got one back before Rolan added his second to equalise six minutes from time.
This has to be considered two points dropped for Bilbao, especially from such a strong position. Dropping points is something Barca are yet to do on manager Ernesto Valverde's watch this season.
The Blaugrana are already looking like the class of this season's title race.