Sevilla falling behind La Liga leaders after draw against Leganes

Sevilla's head coach Jorge Sampaoliuan. (Miguel Morenatti/AP)

MADRID — Sevilla stumbled again in the Spanish league, held 1-1 at home by relegation-threatened Leganes Saturday to miss the chance to move closer to front-runners Real Madrid and Barcelona.

It was the second straight draw for Sevilla, which could see its gap to leader Barcelona increase to six points by the end of the weekend.

Barcelona plays at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday, while second-placed Madrid hosts Real Betis. Madrid is two points in front of Sevilla.

"I’m worried about the team’s behaviour," Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli said. "The team is too anxious when it can’t create scoring chances, and well-organized opponents can take advantage of that."

Leganes, looking to avoid the drop in its first season in the top flight, scored three minutes in with a back-heel flick by striker Gabriel Pires.

"We know how difficult it is to play in this stadium," Pires said. "We played a great match, just like we had planned."

Stevan Jovetic equalized after getting past goalkeeper Iago Herrerin in a breakaway in the 43rd, but the hosts were unable to create many more significant chances at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Seville.

Sevilla was coming off a 1-1 draw at Alaves.

Sampaoli's team is trying to win its first league title since 1946.

The coach fielded many of the team's regular starters despite a decisive game at Leicester on Tuesday in the round of 16 of the Champions League. Sevilla won the first leg 2-1.

"We didn't play well, we all know it," Jovetic said. "We have to recover as soon as possible because we have a crucial match on Tuesday. We have to reverse this situation."

GRANADA 0, ATLETICO MADRID 1

Antoine Griezmann scored an 84th-minute winner to move Atletico Madrid closer to Sevilla in the standings.

Griezmann netted his fourth goal in the last three matches with a diving header off a cross by Koke.

The result reduced third-placed Sevilla's advantage to five points. Atletico is four points in front of fifth-placed Real Sociedad, which hosts Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

"It wouldn't be good to only look at Sevilla," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "We need to secure fourth-place because Real Sociedad has been playing well."

The top three teams automatically qualify for the Champions League, while the fourth-placed club has to go through a playoff.

"We know that all of our matches are like finals now," Koke said. "We had to win this one."

Granada stayed in 18th place, inside the relegation zone.

VALENCIA 1, SPORTING GIJON 1

Valencia salvaged a draw against Sporting Gijon thanks to an 85th-minute header by forward Munir El Haddadi.

The hosts had to recover after failing to score from a penalty kick and then conceding a goal just five minutes later at Mestalla Stadium.

Midfielder Daniel Parejo had his penalty shot saved by goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar, and Duje Cop scored at the other end after Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves failed to fully clear a shot inside the area.

The result snapped Valencia's three-game winning streak at home. It remains 13th in the 20-team standings.

Sporting, winless in five games, stayed 19th.

Valencia's next game is at league leader Barcelona.

MALAGA 1, ALAVES 2

Substitute midfielder Edgar Mendez scored in second-half injury time to give 10-man Alaves victory.

Malaga's fourth consecutive loss left it 15th in the standings, seven points outside the relegation zone.

Alaves, sitting 10th, played a man down from the 72nd as defender Zouhair Feddal was sent off for a second yellow card after a dangerous foul.