La Liga: Sevilla falls again after the draw against Athletic Bilbao
MADRID: Seville gave Barcelona and Real Madrid the opportunity to advance further the league The title race after they started the year by drawing 1-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao on Friday.
Bilbao took an early lead through Ander Capa at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and although a goal at Unai Núñez's own goal led Sevilla at the time, the home team could not find a winner.
It means that Sevilla follows Real Madrid, who play at Santiago Bernabéu on January 18, for two points and Barcelona for four.
Those gaps will grow on Saturday if Madrid wins in Getafe and Barcelona overcomes local rival Espanyol.
With Atlético de Madrid fighting for goals and Valencia still recovering after withdrawing its coach, Sevilla seems to be the team most likely to challenge the established duo of Spain.
But after an encouraging race in October and November, Julen Lopetegui's team only managed one victory in their last four league games.
La calificación para the league de Campeones pronto será lo mejor que puedan esperar, lo que no sería una hazaña después de que firmaron 13 jugadores y vendieron 15 el verano pasado, así como la contratación de un nuevo entrenador.
Athletic Bilbao are in the hunt too. They sit seventh, three points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, who play at home to Levante on Saturday.
Gaizka Garitano's team took the lead in the 15th minute after an excellent control and final of Capa, with Kenan Kodro looking for the net again shortly after just so that the goal was discarded.
Sevilla turned the screw in the second half.
Jesús Navas, making his 500th appearance for Sevilla, almost established an equalizer only for the final Luuk de Jong from six yards to return from the post.
The house was level when there was half an hour. Lucas Ocampos drove to the line and Núñez delivered his cross to the nearby post.