Barcelona: Striker Aritz Aduriz scored twice to give Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 victory at Granada on Sunday, the struggling Basque side's first away win of the Spanish league season. Bilbao finally showed flashes of the attacking verve that led it to the finals of the Europa League and Copa del Rey last season and made it one of the surprises of European football with memorable wins over Manchester United.
Aduriz converted a spot kick 13 minutes in after he was fouled by defender Pape Diakhate. The former Valencia player added a second with a precise shot from the edge of the area in the 27th to take his scoring tally to eight goals in league play. Flowing freely up front, Bilbao still showed the same fragile defense that have plagued them all season. Granada striker Youssef El Arabi pulled one back in the 53rd after team-mate Yacine Brahimi had clipped the post as Bilbao was fortunate not to concede a draw.
"The word 'suffering' defines our match," said Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa. "This is a necessary win, it will calm our nerves. We needed to play the same way on the road as we do at home. We have to return to being a more balanced and consistent team."
Bilbao's third win of the season through 10 rounds lifted them two points above the relegation zone. Levante, meanwhile, earned a 0-0 draw at Sevilla to remain unbeaten in four games and move up into fifth place.
Also, Espanyol won 1-0 at Real Sociedad for their first away victory, and Deportivo La Coruna ended an eight-game winless run by edging out visiting Mallorca 1-0. Sociedad had dominated the game at Anoeta stadium until Diego Colotto tapped in a short pass from fellow center back Hector Moreno while sprawled on the ground following a corner in the 77th minute. Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier had to hear part of the crowd calling for his resignation after his team remained winless in four games, including the Copa.
"My team never gave up at any moment," said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino, adding that his side was fortunate to take the three points "because there is always a luck factor you need to go your way in any game."
At Riazor stadium, Bruno Gama scored what proved to be Deportivo's winner on the half-hour mark when the forward first cut left, then right, to get clear and fire the ball in off the far post. Luis "Pizzi" Afonso almost doubled the hosts' lead when his free kick hit the woodwork as rain and sleet fell heavily on the pitch, but Mallorca's toothless attack condemned it to a fifth straight defeat.
"We are all angry with the loss, but in football the goal is the law," said Mallorca coach Joaquin Caparros. "We had the ball and tried to vary it in attack, but it wasn't enough."
Elsewhere, Patrick Ebert's late goal gave Valladolid a 1-0 win at 10-man Osasuna, leaving the Pamplona-based club languishing in last place. Osasuna went down a man when Ruben Gonzalez received his second booking in the 71st, and Ebert finished off a counterattack in the 83rd with an exquisite chip shot that the helpless goalkeeper could only watch float overhead and fall into his open net.
Espanyol, Granada and Osasuna occupy the drop zone. Espanyol have nine points, one less than three teams clinging to safety. Granada have eight and Osasuna five. On Saturday, Barcelona beat Celta Vigo 3-1 to take sole possession of the league lead with a club-record ninth win in 10 rounds, slipping in front of Atletico Madrid after they lost their first match of the season, a 2-0 defeat at Valencia.
Real Madrid remained eight points behind Barcelona in third place after beating Real Zaragoza 4-0, while Malaga fell into fourth place after losing 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano. Getafe host Real Betis on Monday to close the 10th round.