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Red cards galore in La Liga as Pique says goodbye, Atletico and Villarreal struggle

Red cards galore in La Liga as Pique says goodbye, Atletico and Villarreal struggle

Madrid,  Atletico Madrid's poor week continued late on Sunday when they were held to a 1-1 draw in the Metropolitano Stadium by Espanyol, despite the visitors playing for over an hour with 10 men.

Leandro Cabrera was slightly unlucky to be shown a direct red card after being adjudged to have committed a professional foul on Alvaro Morata in the 28th minute, but Atletico were unable to take advantage and were booed off at halftime.

Things got even worse for Diego Simeone's men in the 62nd minute when Sergi Darder put Espanyol in front after good work from Joselu, but Joao Felix saved a point with a powerful volley with 12 minutes remaining, reports Xinhua.

Real Sociedad were also reduced to 10 men early in their 1-1 draw at home to Valencia when Aritz Elustondo caught Samuel Lino with a full set of studs.

The side from San Sebastian were ahead through Hugo Guillamon's own goal, but Lino's shot from outside the area leveled the score before the break. Real Sociedad then defended well to frustrate Valencia in the second half.

There were three red cards in the Seville derby as Real Betis drew 1-1 at home to Sevilla in a typically bad-tempered affair.

Sevilla defender Gonzalo Montiel was the first to go after a late, knee-high challenge on Alex Moreno in the 37th minute, and six minutes later Betis took the lead after a confused action ended with the ball deflecting off Jesus Navas into his own net.

Betis were on top, but Nabil Fekir was the next to be sent off when he caught Papu Gomez with a flying arm, and Borja Iglesias left Betis with nine men early in the second half when he was late on Joan Jordan with a challenge from behind.

Sevilla pressed hard against nine men and got their reward in the 81st minute when Nemanja Gudelj scored a screaming 30-meter shot.

Gudelj hit the crossbar minutes later and almost won the game in the last minute with another effort that Claudio Bravo tipped over the bar.

Quique Setien is still looking for his first win since replacing Unai Emery at Villarreal after his side were beaten 2-0 at home to Mallorca. Vedat Muriqi opened the scoring with a low shot for the visitors after half an hour, and although Villarreal passed the ball well, they couldn't get through a well-organized Mallorca defense.

Amath sealed the win in the 74th minute, prompting the Villarreal fans to call for him to leave the club at the final whistle.

On Saturday night, Gerard Pique's last game for FC Barcelona in the Camp Nou ended with a 2-0 win for Barca at home to Almeria.

The veteran defender, who announced his retirement during the week, was in the starting 11 for the game, which Barca won with relative ease, despite Robert Lewandowski missing an early penalty.

Second-half goals from Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong assured all three points and Pique was given an emotion reception by the fans when he was substituted in the closing minutes.

Barca lead the table ahead of Real Madrid's game with Rayo Vallecano on Monday evening.

Osasuna won 2-1 away to Celta Vigo to move into the top six thanks to two first-half goals from Chimy Avila in the eighth and 28th minutes, with Iago Aspas netting for Celta after 19 minutes.

Celta had chances to take something from the game, but once again failed to take them.

Valladolid defeated bottom side Elche, with goals from Javi Sanchez and Roque Mesa seeing them home against a rival that has still not won a game this season.

Saturday kicked off with a 0-0 draw between Getafe and Cadiz which favoured neither side and ended with three players sent off in injury time, with Portu and Gaston Alvarez getting their matching orders in the 96th and 97th minutes for the home side, while Luis Hernandez saw red in the 99th minute for Cadiz.

The round of matches began on Friday with Girona winning 2-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao to end a seven-game winless run.

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