LaLiga has found "no evidence" that Cadiz's Juan Cala racially abused Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby.

Play was halted during the first half of Sunday's clash between the sides following an altercation involving Cala and Diakhaby, after which the Valencia player and his team-mates left the pitch.

Diakhaby did not return for the remainder of the game, which resumed after a 20-minute delay, while Cala was substituted at half-time.

In a video posted on Twitter, Diakhaby said Cala called him "negro de mierda" which translates as "black s***".

Cala maintained his innocence at a subsequent news conference, insisting he had simply told Diakhaby to "leave me in peace".

The Spanish top-flight's governing body released a statement on Friday after concluding its investigation into the incident, which included the use of lip reading experts.

"After the analysis of the material, it is concluded that no evidence has been found... that the player Juan Torres Ruiz (Juan Cala) insulted Mouctar Diakhaby in the terms denounced," it read.

"Specifically, the audiovisual and digital files available have been examined, the audio of the meeting, the images broadcast and what was disseminated on the different social networks have been analysed.

"In order to complement the report, a specialised company has been hired, which has carried out a lip reading analysis of the conversations and a study of the behaviour of the players Juan Torres Ruiz and Mouctar Diakhaby.

"LaLiga has shared these reports with the clubs involved and the relevant authorities, so that they form part of those ongoing investigations.

"LaLiga reiterates its condemnation against racism in all its forms and maintains its commitment to permanently fight against any type of demonstration in this regard, which has materialised in the presentation of numerous complaints of hate crimes, including as a private accusation, in previous proceedings."

The Spanish Football Federation is also looking into the matter.

Valencia president Anil Murthy has called on LaLiga to do more in the fight against racism after Mouctar Diakhaby was subjected to what he described as an "extremely serious racial insult" against Cadiz.

The top-flight meeting on Sunday – which finished 2-1 to Cadiz – was stopped for 20 minutes after Valencia's players left the field following an altercation between Diakhaby and Cadiz defender Juan Cala.

Valencia's players subsequently walked off the pitch, before returning to the field without Diakhaby, who asked to be taken off.

After the match had restarted, Valencia tweeted their version of events, stating Diakhaby had suffered a "racist insult".

Cadiz issued a statement following the game, insisting any form of racism was not tolerated.

They also added they had no doubts over the honesty of their squad, with Cala having been picked up by television cameras pleading his innocence during the game.

Cadiz coach Alvaro Cervera said: "I saw the same as you did. They left the field alongside the referee because they said that Cala had insulted one of their players.

"Cala says that at no point did he insult the opposition player."

Cadiz confirmed on Monday that Cala would address the media on the subject after training on Tuesday. 

Speaking alongside Diakhaby in a video posted on Valencia's official website, Murthy said: "Yesterday, in our game against Cadiz, we witnessed a flagrant incident of racism. 

"There is no other way to describe it. Our player, Mouctar Diakhaby, was the recipient of an extremely serious racial insult by Juan Cala.

"Although Cala may deny it, we believe Mouctar completely. This type of behaviour should not be tolerated in football and in society in general, and we at Valencia condemn racism in any form. We fully support our player.

"There should be no doubt that Valencia will defend Mouctar Diakhaby to the fullest, and fight to ensure that such lamentable events are not repeated."

Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya said the team had been told they would be penalised if they did not return to finish the game – a claim backed up by head coach Javi Gracia.

Murthy described Sunday's incident as a "step back in the fight against racism" and has demanded LaLiga change the rules to better protect those who suffer racist abuse.

"We spoke with LaLiga this morning to encourage them to also see their investigation through to the end," he added. "This incident cannot be left behind, and cannot be repeated with any other player for any other team.

"We are saddened that, following the incident, there was no reaction to stop the game, and that it was our players who were the ones to leave the field of play. There cannot be a lack of action in light of these types of situations.

"From now on, we would like to see some kind of reaction to change these protocols, in order to protect those who are vulnerable. If we don't change this, then it will give a bad example to everybody.

"We are proud of the reaction from our team, and we still do not understand why Diakhaby, the recipient of this racial insult, received a yellow card.

"We also do not understand why the players had to return to the pitch due to the regulations not protecting the victims and the team in such cases.

"This must change. Changes have been made in other leagues, and now the same must be done in Spain. 

"We cannot turn a blind eye to something as serious as racism. It is time for a change, and Valencia will go all the way in our support of our player and the fight against racism. A step back in the fight against racism was taken yesterday."

Juan Cala will speak to the media on Tuesday following allegations of racism by Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby, his club Cadiz have confirmed.

Sunday's LaLiga meeting between the sides – which finished 2-1 to Cadiz – was stopped for 20 minutes after Valencia's players left the field following an altercation between Diakhaby and Cala.

Gabriel Paulista and Kevin Gameiro attempted to defuse the situation before Diakhaby explained his version of events to referee David Medie Jimenez.

Valencia's players subsequently walked off the pitch, before returning to the field without Diakhaby, who asked to be taken off.

After the match had restarted, Valencia tweeted their version of events, stating Diakhaby had suffered a "racist insult".

Following the game, Cadiz issued a statement on their club website, insisting any form of racism was not tolerated.

However, they also added they had no doubts over the honesty of their squad, with Cala having been picked up by television cameras pleading his innocence during the game.

Posting on their official Twitter account on Monday, Cadiz confirmed Cala will address the media following training on Tuesday.

Valencia's players walked off the pitch during their LaLiga meeting with Cadiz after alleged racist abuse was directed towards defender Mouctar Diakhaby.

Sunday's match was stopped after 29 minutes when Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya led his team from the field.

The incident that sparked Valencia's fury came when Juan Cala – who had opened the scoring – went in for a challenge with Diakhaby.

While initially heading back to his position, Diakhaby suddenly turned and angrily confronted Cala.

Gabriel Paulista and Los Che goalscorer Kevin Gameiro attempted to defuse the situation before Diakhaby explained his version of events to referee David Medie Jimenez. His team-mates then departed in solidarity and play was suspended for 20 minutes before they returned.

Valencia returned without Diakhaby, who was replaced by Hugo Guillamon, but Cala stayed on until he too was substituted at half-time.

The game ended 2-1 to Cadiz, Marcos Mauro scoring an 88th-minute winner.

In a statement from Valencia said: "The team met up and decided to return to the pitch to fight for the badge, but firm in their condemnation of all forms of racism."

Valencia also confirmed that Diakhaby wanted the match to continue, though did not want to carry on playing himself.

"We offer our complete backing to Diakhaby," a tweet read. "The player, who had received a racial insult, requested that his team-mates return to the pitch. We SUPPORT YOU MOUCTAR."

Cadiz did not initially offer a comment though it has been reported that television cameras picked up Cala pleading his innocence. 

According to Gaya, Valencia were told they would forfeit the match if they did not return to the field.

"[Diakhaby] told us he insulted him in a racist way. We went back out to play because they told us they could penalise us with three points and something more," Gaya said, as reported by AFP.

"He asked us to go back. He's gutted, it was a very ugly insult."

Ronald Koeman described Barcelona's failure to beat Cadiz as more disappointing than their Champions League humiliation at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca followed up their 4-1 home defeat to PSG in the last 16 first-leg clash on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw in LaLiga against relegation-threatened Cadiz.

Lionel Messi marked his record 506th LaLiga game for the club with a 32nd-minute penalty, but Alex Fernandez levelled from the spot late on after Clement Lenglet was adjudged to have fouled Ruben Sobrino.

The draw meant Barca missed the chance to pull within six points of league leaders Atletico Madrid, who were beaten at home by Levante on Saturday.

"It is disappointing," Koeman said. "These types of games have to be won and we did not.

"It was a great opportunity lost after the loss of Atletico. I am very disappointed, more so than on Tuesday.

"We could not afford to let two points get away. I don't like to blame individual players but we were not up to the task offensively and we have to defend differently. For our quality, we had to win.

"The lead was very narrow and they could equalise at any time, which is what happened. You leave the door open for them to draw at the end if you don't kill the game and score the second.

"It was difficult for us to create opportunities because they were behind the ball and there was no space. We lacked freshness in attack."

Barcelona have failed to keep a clean sheet in eight successive games across all competitions for the first time since 2015.

Despite their issues at the back and the eight-point gap to the summit, Koeman is not giving up hope of Barca posing a serious challenge to Atletico.

"We can still do something," he added. "There is no team that wins games easily.

"But we must recognise that opportunities like this cannot be missed anymore. I don't think it is unforgivable, but it was an opportunity to close the gap.

"[The league] is not more complicated than before. No team is unbeatable, nor are they going to win every game. There are still options. But we have dropped two important points."

Gerard Pique accepted it will be "difficult" for Barcelona to rein in Atletico Madrid at LaLiga's summit after Cadiz snatched a late 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Atleti's surprise home defeat to Levante a day earlier had given Ronald Koeman's side the chance to move six points behind Diego Simeone's league leaders.

They appeared to be on course to do just that after Lionel Messi marked a club-record 506th league appearance with a 32nd-minute penalty.

Alex Fernandez sealed a dramatic point for the visitors in the 89th minute, though, slamming home from the spot after Clement Lenglet was ruled to have clipped Ruben Sobrino.

The result ended Barca's seven-game winning streak in LaLiga and left them with 47 points after 23 games this season – their lowest tally at this stage of the season since the 2006-07 campaign when they amassed 46 points.

While Pique acknowledged it will not be easy to challenge Atleti for the title, he insisted they will not give up.

"It hurts a lot because Atletico's defeat gave us a chance," he told the club's official TV channel.

"Losing two points is difficult to take. Every game that you do not win, your options are reduced a little. There is an important distance [between Barca and Atleti], not unassailable, but it will depend on the next games. If we get good results, we will have options.

"It's difficult, obviously. We have to try. It's a hard blow. On Wednesday, we have another test against Elche.

"We have to recover our game and feelings because, if not, we could lose more games. We need to raise our heads, improve mentally and win against Elche."

Following the visit of Elche, Barca travel to Sevilla on Saturday.

Barcelona versus Cadiz is not a fixture that particularly stands out on the Spanish football calendar, but Sunday's meeting between the two is momentous for Lionel Messi.

Having played his 505th LaLiga game for Barcelona last weekend against Deportivo Alaves, Messi has now broken a record set by one of Barcelona's most-revered sons.

Xavi retains a legendary status at Camp Nou – his influence during a 17-year career in Barca's senior team was arguably unmatched, as the team was almost constantly built around him as that metronomic hub in midfield.

In the five years since his departure, many midfielders have been signed in the hope they can pick up the slack left behind, but none have successfully replaced him.

He may yet return as coach one day. Indeed, by all accounts it seems he was offered such a chance at least once last year.

But while the legacy of his playing days will remain unblemished, he has lost a slice of Barca history to Messi…

The appearances record

After starting the visit of the Andalusians, Messi moved one clear of Xavi's previous record haul of 505 LaLiga appearances in the Blaugrana.

Like Xavi, it has taken Messi 17 seasons to go beyond 500 outings in Spain's top flight.

But while Xavi opted to depart for a final payday in Qatar with Al-Sadd, whom he now coaches, Messi's career at the very top appears to be far from over.

His penalty in the 4-1 midweek mauling by Paris Saint-Germain took Messi to 20 goals across all competitions for the 13th successive season.

His stunning brace last weekend in the dismantling of Alaves left him on 15 in LaLiga, just one fewer than pacesetter Luis Suarez – it's pretty strong form considering many regard this Messi's worst individual season in over a decade.

 

Messi played his first LaLiga game for the club in 2004-05 before firmly securing himself a place in the first-team squad over the following two campaigns.

Xavi arguably made a slightly quicker impression, his 41 league outings across his first two seasons 17 more than Messi managed.

But Messi's remarkable consistency and longevity are reflected in the fact he has not played fewer than 31 LaLiga games in a single season since 2007-08, when he featured 28 times. The year before he made 26 appearances.

Having surpassed numerous club greats such as Guillermo Amor, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes and Andres Iniesta along the way, he now moves past the final pillar.

More records to come?

Of course, it almost goes without saying that it's unclear what further LaLiga records Messi will break because his future is so uncertain.

Will he stay? Will he join PSG or Manchester City? 

Given Messi's previous insistence that Barca have to be challenging for titles, on the evidence of this season and their financial state, it's difficult to see them in the hunt for the major honours in the near future.

As such, many will expect him to follow through on his attempt to leave last year when his contract expires at the end of the season.

That shouldn't prevent Messi taking another of Xavi's club records, with the Argentinian just seven behind his former team-mate's 767 Barca appearances across all competitions. No one has made more.

But Messi, who became LaLiga's all-time leading goalscorer long ago, will likely miss out on the chance of setting a new overall league record for appearances.

His 506 is still 116 fewer than Andoni Zubizarreta's 622, with Real Betis midfielder Joaquin – still active at 39 – the closest to the former goalkeeper's record on 568.

Sergio Ramos is the only other active player ahead of Messi on 507, with Athletic Bilbao's Raul Garcia (505) just behind the Barca captain.

Although missing out on such a record would be a minor footnote in an otherwise astonishing career, it's hard to escape from the thought Messi's legacy might be that bit more magical were he to spend all of his playing days at the same club.

Luis Suarez scored a set-piece double as Atletico Madrid saw off Cadiz 4-2 to move 10 points clear at the LaLiga summit.

Real Madrid's shock 2-1 loss to Levante on Saturday provided Atleti with a chance to extend their lead at the top and they did exactly that with victory at Estadio Ramon de Carranza.

Diego Simeone's men had trailed in their last two outings, though Suarez opened the scoring with a sublime free-kick in Sunday's clash before Alvaro Negredo equalised.

Saul Niguez's flicked finish and Suarez's penalty gave Atleti some breathing space and, while Negredo's second of the day did make things interesting, Koke finished smartly late on to make certain of an eighth league win in a row.

Anthony Lozano glanced wide from a promising Cadiz opportunity and, less than three minutes later, Suarez sent a 28-yard free-kick up and over the wall and into the left corner to give Atleti the lead.

Cadiz were level almost instantly thanks to Negredo, who curled a fine finish beyond Jan Oblak after the ball had ricocheted into his path off Thomas Lemar.

The visitors had won only one of their last eight league games prior to Sunday and it did not take Saul long to restore Atleti's lead with a rather fortunate goal.

Lemar sent in a cross from the right and Saul stuck out a leg, seemingly in an attempt to help the ball on, but instead succeeding in sending it looping over Jeremias Ledesma.

Atleti survived another scare before half-time when a penalty initially awarded for handball against Koke was overturned by VAR due to the midfielder's arm being on the ground when contact was made.

That proved a big moment as Simeone's side converted a penalty of their own through Suarez five minutes into the second half after Marcos Mauro brought down Lemar.

Suarez blazed over when on for a hat-trick and that nearly proved costly as Atletico failed to deal with a ball into the box and Negredo scrambled past Oblak to give Cadiz hope.

Oblak then had to be alert to keep out Negredo's header, but the next goal went Atletico's way, substitute Angel Correa exchanging passes with Marcos Llorente and squaring for Koke to round off the scoring.

Yannick Carrasco and Mario Hermoso have tested positive for coronavirus and face a period of self-isolation, Atletico Madrid have announced.

Atletico said on Saturday that the positive results had been returned the previous day and the players have already been isolating at home.

The club have not communicated how long the two players will have to isolate or when they will be expected back in training.

However, both will miss Sunday's trip to Cadiz and are unlikely to face Celta Vigo a week on Monday.

While losing two important players will undoubtedly be a blow to head coach Diego Simeone, his side are sitting pretty at LaLiga's summit.

They have won seven in a row in the league and sat seven points clear of rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table heading into the weekend, with Los Colchoneros also having a game in hand.

Both Hermoso and Carrasco have played 15 out of Atletico's 18 LaLiga matches this term.

Even in these extraordinary times, Barcelona letting Luis Suarez go to Atletico Madrid is starting to look like the oddest decision of the season.

Suarez's double over Eibar on Thursday secured a 2-1 victory for the league leaders, who are seven points clear at the top with a game in hand over champions Real Madrid in second.

The Uruguay star, who has netted six in his past six league games for Atleti, is joint-top of the division's scoring charts alongside former team-mate Lionel Messi.

It seems increasingly likely that Suarez, and certainly Atletico, will be at the top of the tree come the end of 2020-21.

With the majority of sides having now played half of their matches, the Stats Perform AI team have run the numbers to simulate how the rest of the LaLiga campaign will play out – and it's good news for Diego Simeone.

 

The data model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly.

All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model – with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position.

 

ATLETICO WIN AT A CANTER

Atletico have been given a 75.1 per cent chance of winning LaLiga, according to the model.

Simeone's men are predicted to finish on 86 points, nine clear of the rest of the field. They are given just a 17.8 per cent chance of coming second and dropping outside the top four is considered practically impossible.

Barcelona and reigning champions Real Madrid are predicted to end with 77 points apiece, with just a 12.4 per cent chance each of pipping Atleti to the title. Madrid have a 41 per cent chance of finishing second, slightly above Barca's 39.4, having beaten Ronald Koeman's side 3-1 in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou last October.

Those two are, at least, very likely to end up in a Champions League place. They are expected to be joined there by Sevilla, who have a 47.8 per cent chance of finishing fourth on 65 points, just three above Villarreal and six clear of Real Sociedad. The remaining European spot is predicted to be a close battle between Granada, Getafe and Real Betis, with Diego Martinez's men odds on to snatch it.

Valencia fans might be enduring a difficult time (again), and our sim has Los Che missing out on European football once more, if only by four points. That said, they still have a 3.6 per cent chance of a Europa League spot, which is better odds than those given to Supercopa de Espana winners Athletic Bilbao.

 

WOE FOR HUESCA

At the other end of a relatively tight table, in which just 11 points will separate seventh from 16th, it looks like Huesca are in for a tough run-in. They are given a 59.7 per cent chance of finishing bottom of the pile and just a 5.1 per cent shot at avoiding relegation, having won only once so far this term.

Osasuna are predicted to end up just four points above them, with the bottom three likely to be completed by Deportivo Alaves, although Elche will also be right in the mix. In fact, with those two tipped to finish level on 39 points, survival could come down to their head-to-head record, making their showdown on May 11 potentially decisive. Elche have the advantage there, having won the reverse game 2-0 away from home.

Real Valladolid are expected to have just enough to stay out of trouble, although they have scant room for manoeuvre, with our predictor giving them an equal 15.1 per cent chance of finishing 17th and 18th.

Eibar and Cadiz are looking likely to stay safe; indeed, Jose Luis Mendilibar's men, along with Celta Vigo and Athletic, are given a 0.1 per cent chance of gatecrashing the top four. They might well have boosted those odds this week were it not for that pesky Suarez.

Ronald Koeman has demanded Barcelona's attitude in away matches improve after the they went down 2-1 to Cadiz in LaLiga.

Barca had lost just one of their previous eight fixtures in all competitions heading into Saturday's clash with Cadiz, who had already claimed the scalp of champions Real Madrid this term.

The only defeat in that run came at the hands of Atletico Madrid in Barca's last away outing in LaLiga, however, and their poor form on the road under Koeman continued as Alvaro Gimenez and veteran forward Alvaro Negredo clinched another famous win for Cadiz, who had just 17.9 per cent possession.

Cadiz moved up to fifth, while Barca sit 12 points behind leaders Atleti, who overcame Real Valladolid 2-0, with their tally of 14 points from 10 league matches their lowest since 1987-88 when adjusted to three points for a win.

Barca had 21 attempts, though only eight hit the target, and Koeman's side had to rely on an own goal from Pedro Alcala to get on the scoresheet.

The Blaugrana have failed to win four straight away LaLiga games (D1 L3) for the first time in a single season since 2007-08 under Frank Rijkaard.

The result was one that Koeman planted firmly on his players, insisting that Barca's attitude on their travels has not been up to scratch.

"We can't concede a second goal like that. It's a lack of concentration," Koeman told Movistar of Negredo's goal, which came when he charged down Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Clement Lenglet failed to control a throw-in.

"It's hard to explain what happened because we had a good week. I think the first half wasn't good. We lost a lot of balls. There was a little improvement in the second half.

"It's a giant step backwards to be able to compete for LaLiga. I'm very disappointed. There are many points dropped away. If we do not improve the attitude away from home, there is nothing else to say.

"We have ups and downs in our games, in our attitude, although in principle it is good, but there are moments that it is not.

"When we don't have the ball, we fail a lot. This is an attitude [problem] of the whole team."

Barca have conceded first in their past four away league matches, a trend which concerns Koeman, who claimed his team are letting in the types of goals his former clubs have not.

"In away games they put us behind and that's more complicated," he continued.

"We don't have spaces to play and also, and we have to know this, we conceded goals that I couldn't think of happening in other teams that I have coached.

"It is very difficult to explain, it may be because we lack concentration, we lacked aggressiveness, but it is not easy to explain how we conceded the second goal."

Next up for Koeman is a home clash with Juventus in the Champions League, though both sides have already qualified for the last 16.

Sergio Busquets acknowledged Barcelona cannot afford to continue making costly defensive errors if they are to turn their season around after a dismal defeat at Cadiz.

Barca went down 2-1 in Andalusia on Saturday to extend their winless run away from home in LaLiga to four matches.

The winning goal, scored by Alvaro Negredo, came after a dreadful mix-up at the back as Clement Lenglet failed to control a simple throw-in and Marc-Andre ter Stegen's clearance was charged down.

The goalkeeper was not blameless, but the decisive strike went down as a Lenglet error, according to Opta, his first in 99 league games for the Blaugrana.

While it was a rare lapse for the centre-back, these mistakes are becoming worryingly common among his team-mates.

In their past three away games, from which Barca have taken just a point, Ronald Koeman's side have conceded three of four goals due to errors.

Neto was embarrassingly tackled in the draw at Deportivo Alaves, before Ter Stegen needlessly charged from his line in the one-goal defeat to LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid.

Even the opener at Cadiz, although not deemed an error, came after Oscar Mingueza aimed a header at his own goal, allowing Alvaro Gimenez to tuck away the rebound.

It meant Barca lost despite boasting 82.1 per cent of the possession, the second-most for a beaten side in LaLiga since 2005-06, behind only the 2013-14 Blaugrana team at Granada (82.28 per cent in a 1-0 defeat).

"We reacted, but it costs us much more if there are two goals," midfielder Busquets told Movistar. "We made a mistake and then there was half an hour left when we equalised, but we made another mistake.

"Individual mistakes are costing us a lot. We will have to correct that, have more fortune, and continue."

Barca have had six errors leading to shots and three to goals in LaLiga this term, yet their three such mistakes in Champions League matches – including one from Lenglet – have gone unpunished.

Koeman's men lead their European group with five wins from five and can clinch top spot against Juventus on Tuesday.

"In the Champions League, the team seems different," Busquets added. "I do not know why.

"What I can say is that, in recent games, occasional errors turn the game against us. If they score a goal, they close up at the back.

"We cannot blame ourselves for attitude or commitment but this costs you games."

The meeting with the Bianconeri provides a welcome distraction from what is turning into a particularly testing league campaign, with Barca way down in seventh and already 12 points behind Atleti.

Busquets said: "There are many defeats. It is clear that there is a lot of LaLiga left, but the more we lose the more we fall away from the top positions."

Barcelona's miserable away run continued as Cadiz claimed another big scalp with a 2-1 win on Saturday.

The Blaugrana are now winless in four on the road in LaLiga - their worst such run since May 2008 - and a dismal defensive mix-up gifted all three points to surprise package Cadiz.

Alvaro Gimenez struck a scrappy, contentious opener with just eight minutes played, but the promoted side, who enjoyed a stunning win away at Real Madrid earlier this season, were pegged back by Pedro Alcala's own goal before the hour mark.

Rather than protect their point, Cadiz rallied again and were rewarded when veteran substitute Alvaro Negredo seized possession from Marc-Andre ter Stegen to restore the home advantage 44 seconds after his introduction.

Barca had 81 per cent of possession but could not break down the spirited hosts, who moved fifth as Ronald Koeman's side fell 12 points off the pace set by Atletico Madrid.

Cadiz had peppered the Madrid goal early on in October to stun the champions, taking the lead with their seventh effort inside 16 minutes, but their sole first-half shot proved enough to be in front at the interval this time.

Oscar Mingueza went to ground in a tussle with Marcos Mauro from a corner and recovered only to direct a header towards his own goal, with Ter Stegen's save falling kindly for Gimenez to slam into the net from on the goal line.

Barca appealed in vain for a foul but responded strongly and Lionel Messi started to pull the strings. He set in motion a move that saw Philippe Coutinho fire over from an acute angle, before feeding Martin Braithwaite for a low shot that was diverted away by the boot of goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma.

Mingueza and Coutinho were replaced at half-time, with Pedri and Ousmane Dembele introduced, but Barca still required a slice of fortune to draw level as Jordi Alba's low cross clipped Alcala - on in place of Mauro - and wrongfooted Ledesma at his near post.

The Blaugrana's hard work was quickly undone. Clement Lenglet failed to control a routine throw-in on the left and the ball instead ran for Ter Stegen, who Negredo charged down before evading Frenkie de Jong's despairing challenge to tap into the net.

Sergino Dest scuffed wide from a promising position as Barca again piled on the pressure, though Ivan Alejo and Bobby Adekanye each passed up late chances to increase the margin of victory.

Diego Simeone played down the importance of Atletico Madrid's upcoming clash with Barcelona after they moved top of LaLiga.

Atletico extended their unbeaten run in LaLiga to 23 games – the most in their history – with a 4-0 thrashing of Cadiz on Saturday.

Joao Felix scored a brace and goals from Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez at the Wanda Metropolitano moved Atletico onto 17 points from seven league games.

Simeone's men will host Barca after the international break, but the Atletico coach said it would not be a decisive clash.

"They know us, they know that beyond happiness we do not depend on what is going to happen in the game against Barcelona," he said. 

"There are 15 days left, players leave with the national team, we will have to wait for the time we have and we do not move away from that. It is our way of thinking and we live in the next game. 

"We will see when the players return in what conditions we see them and we will form the teams accordingly."

Since being humbled 4-0 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month, Atletico have won four of five games.

Simeone praised the form of his side, who are joined by Real Sociedad – who have played one more game – on 17 points at the top.

"What generates enthusiasm and enthusiasm for me is what has happened since the draw against Huesca or Villarreal or the defeat in Munich," he said. 

"I see the team well, with dynamics, enthusiasm, strength, desire to do things and see how we evolve in training. What makes me happy is that those players who had fewer minutes like [Mario] Hermoso, [Hector] Herrera or Llorente last year, today are being very important in the team. 

"There is an improvement far beyond today's result. We play with four midfielders who can occupy many places. I think we have a balanced squad. 

"Let's wait for the return of those who are out – [Sime] Vrsaljko will replace [Kieran] Trippier, Vitolo, [Diego] Costa, [Yannick] Carrasco."

Real Madrid suffered their first LaLiga defeat of the season as they went down 1-0 in dismal fashion at home to minnows Cadiz on Saturday.

Promoted Cadiz set about disrupting the defending champions from the off and took a deserved lead through Anthony Lozano's 16th-minute effort.

Thibaut Courtois denied Lozano a second before half-time, when Zinedine Zidane made four substitutions with an injured Sergio Ramos among the players to make way.

Luka Jovic had a goal ruled out and Karim Benzema hit the crossbar, yet Madrid's sluggish play was not enough to overcome Cadiz's stubborn rearguard and maintain their winning run, as the Andalusian side held on for a famous triumph.

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