BARCELONA, Spain (AP)Sevilla needed an own-goal to salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Athletic Bilbao on Friday as the Spanish league resumed after the winter break.
Third-place Sevilla is four points behind leader Barcelona and two points behind second-place Real Madrid.
Barcelona visits last-place Espanyol on Saturday, while Madrid is at Getafe. Atletico Madrid can pull level with Sevilla if it beats Levante, also on Saturday.
Bilbao controlled the match in Seville in the first half and went ahead in the 15th minute when right back Ander Capa received the ball on the side of the area and fired a shot under goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
Sevilla increased the pace after halftime and got its reward when Bilbao defender Unai Nunez deflected a low cross by Lucas Ocampos into his own net with half an hour left.
”They had one scoring chance and put it in,” Ocampos said. ”We found our pace in the second half and got the draw. But we leave with a bittersweet taste since we couldn’t get the victory.”
Sevilla will not have Ocampos, its top scorer in the league with five goals, for next round’s match at Madrid after he picked up a fifth booking of the season for a foul in the second half.
Bilbao striker Inaki Williams had to be substituted for what appeared to be a leg injury late in the match. He walked off the field.
Bilbao, which stayed in seventh place, also earned a 0-0 draw at Madrid in the previous round.
”We are playing well at the back. That is our strength and we need to keep that up,” Capa said. ”The own-goal is just too bad.”
Also, Valladolid striker Enes Unal scored his second goal of a brace with 11 minutes left to earn a 2-2 draw at home against Leganes.
Friday’s two games were the first in the Spanish league since it stopped for a winter break in late December.
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