Gary Medel of Sevilla FC controls the ball during the la Liga match between Sevilla and Real Madrid at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

La Liga, Week 23: Sevilla Fall To Sociedad, Are Flirting With Relegation

After Barcelona dropped points on Saturday, Real Madrid took a stranglehold on La Liga with a win over Levante on Sunday. On Monday, Sevilla faces Real Sociedad.

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12 Total Updates since February 10, 2012
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Real Madrid Vs. Levante, 2012 La Liga, Week 22: Los Merengues Finally Full Strength

Real Madrid look to avenge one of their two La Liga losses when they take on Levante on Sunday

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Osasuna Vs. Barcelona, 2012 La Liga: Another Disappointing Away Performance For Barca

Barcelona continued their miserable away form in La Liga by going down 3-2 to Osasuna at the Estadio El Sadar, opening up the door for Real Madrid to lay serious claim to their first title in four years. With the defending champions fielding an under-strength lineup, it always looked as though the hosts could be dangerous, and so it proved just four minutes in as Dejan Lekic raced clear of the Barca defence, slotting past Victor Valdez to make it 1-0.

The Catalans, of course, responded strongly, but barely had Alexis Sanchez had a goal disallowed (probably incorrectly) for offside than Lekic struck again to make it 2-0, the Serbian able to latch onto a loose ball in the box and blast it into the back of the net. It took Barcelona until halftime to regroup, the visitors lacking any kind of coherency as they tried to attack Osasuna (Sanchez disallowed goal aside), but they finally clawed one back via the moody Chilean, Sanchez notching from close range in the 51st minute.

The 2-1 scoreline didn't last long though - Nino's cross to Raul Garcia was poked home by the midfielder five minutes later - and Osasuna had reestablished their two-goal cushion. Cristian Tello made things interesting once more with fifteen minutes to go, cutting inside his man and firing a left-footed shot into the roof of the net, and although the hosts attempted to respond immediately through Francisco Punal it was actually Barcelona who had the next goal with a close-range header from Sanchez.

Unfortunately for the visitors, Sergi Roberto's deflection ensured that the Chilean was offside, and despite the resultant histrionics said goal was chalked off. A flurry of Barcelona attacks followed, but they simply couldn't penetrate Andres Fernandez's guard, and the match ended at 3-2. So, Barcelona have once again dropped points, and Madrid have the chance to go ten points up with 16 games to play in La Liga. Is the race over?

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Osasuna Vs. Barcelona, 2012 La Liga: Lineups

Barcelona have made the surprising decision to rest some of their star players against an Osasuna team with a reputation for getting good results against big teams. Their back four is intact and Lionel Messi starts, but all of Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Xavi rest today. Sergio Busquets is still out with a bad laceration. Pedro makes his return from injury, and starts over the impressive youngsters Isaac Cuenca and Christian Tello. Here are the lineups.

Osasuna Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fernández; Marc Bertrán, Sergio, Flaño, Raitala; Cejudo, Nekounam; Puñal, Nino, Raúl García; Lekic

Barcelona Lineup (4-3-3): Valdés; Dani Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal; Mascherano, Sergi Roberto, Thiago; Alexis, Pedro, Messi

Kickoff is at 2:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. local from Estadio El Sadar in Osasuna, Spain. You can catch the game on GolTV in the USA and Canada, as well as Sky Sports 4 in the UK.

For more on the Blaugranas, check out FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Osasuna Vs. Barcelona, 2012 La Liga Week 23: Los Rojillos Have Nabbed Points Before

Barcelona are favorites to beat Osasuna, but this is no easy game.

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