Sevilla slips again after drawing against Bilbao

Madrid, January 4 (AFP) Sevilla gave Barcelona and Real Madrid the opportunity to further advance the race for the La Liga title after starting the year by drawing 1-1 at home against Athletic Bilbao on Friday.

Bilbao took an early lead through Ander Capa in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan and, although a goal at the door of Unai Núñez led to 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.

The qualification for the Champions League will soon be the best they can expect, which would not be a feat after they signed 13 players and sold 15 last summer, as well as hiring a new coach.

Athletic Bilbao is also on the hunt. They sit seventh, three points behind Atlético de Madrid, which is in fourth place, who plays at home against 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. (AFP) APA APA