Sevilla rises to top of La Liga with comeback at Betis

Real Madrid's title challenge is under genuine threat from Sevilla after Jorge Sampaoli's team came from behind to defeat rival Real Betis.

Gabriel Mercado (R) celebrates an equaliser against Real Betis for Sevilla   -  AFP

Sevilla made a statement of intent in LaLiga's title race on Saturday by coming from behind to beat local rival Real Betis 2-1 away from home and move level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Betis dominated the first half of 'El Gran Derbi' at the Benito Villamarin, with Petros and Aissa Mandi both going close in the opening half hour. 

And, with eight minutes remaining before half-time, the hosts deservedly broke the deadlock from a free-kick, Riza Durmisi giving the ball a lingering kiss for luck before guiding it through a gap in the wall and beyond the reach of Sergio Rico.

Sevilla equalised 11 minutes into the second half, Vicente Iborra's header from a Samir Nasri free-kick drawing a parry from Antonio Adan, Gabriel Mercado slotting home the rebound.

They completed the turnaround with 15 minutes to go, Steven N'Zonzi nodding on another Nasri set-piece from a similar position and Iborra stabbing the ball past Adan. 

The result sees Jorge Sampaoli's team climb above Barcelona, joining Madrid on 52 points. 

Zinedine Zidane's league leaders, who hold a game in hand over the chasing pack but surprisingly lost to Valencia last time out, are away to Villarreal on Sunday, with Barca travelling to the Vicente Calderon for a crunch meeting with Atletico Madrid earlier in the day. 

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