FC Barcelona took advantage of Real Madrid’s stumble to kick off the second half of the season with another win and enjoy their biggest lead so far at the top of the Spanish league.
After Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Mallorca, Barcelona extended their 10-game winning streak in all competitions with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sevilla on Sunday to open an eightpoint lead over Madrid after 20 of 38 rounds.
It is the biggest lead by any team this season, putting the Catalan club in firm control as it chases its first league title since 2018-19.
“We are having a great season. We have been playing well, not giving many chances for our opponents,” Barcelona defender Jordi Alba said. “It’s eight points. There’s a lot of league left, but it’s a good gap.”
Alba, Gavi and Raphinha scored a goal each in the second half to give  Barcelona their fifth straight victory in the league.
The last game  Barcelona failed to win was a 1-1 league draw against Espanyol last year.
Sevilla, who got off to a surprisingly awful start to the season, were coming off two straight league wins that had helped them move further away from the relegation zone. They dropped to 16th place with the loss, two points from the drop zone.
Sevilla haven’t won in 15 league matches against Barcelona, and in 20 straight visits to the Catalan club.
Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets had to be replaced eight minutes into the match at Camp Nou with an apparent ankle sprain.
Winless run ends
Bayern Munich scored three times in a stellar 10-minute spell in the first half to battle past hosts VfL Wolfsburg 4-2 on Sunday, ending their three-game winless run in the league and reclaiming the top spot.
The Bavarians went into the match with club bosses locked in a public spat with injured keeper Manuel Neuer over the sacking last week of his close friend, goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, and three consecutive 1-1 league draws since the season restarted in January.
Bayern, who face Paris St Germain in nine days in the Champions League last-16, were desperate for a win and they got it with two goals from Kingsley Coman even though they were made to sweat in the second half as the Wolves twice cut the deficit.
“The win was very important for us as are the three points,” said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann. “We scored three goals from our three first chance and maybe we could have increased the lead if we were a bit more focused and concentrated.
“We lost possession too often. We let Wolfsburg get back in the game. This is certainly something we must improve. After Jamal Musiala’s 4-1 things got a bit easier.”
It took Bayern only nine minutes to show they meant business. Coman’s cross flew past the Wolfsburg keeper and into the far corner after Bayern’s Thomas Mueller failed to connect in front of the goal.
Lautaro scores
World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez continued his roaring start to the year as he set Inter Milan on their way to a 1-0 victory over AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina.
Martinez has been in fantastic form since helping Argentina win the World Cup in December and he netted his seventh goal in his last eight matches as Inter consolidated second spot in Serie A.
Calcutta: Manipur will host its first official international matches next month in a tri-nation friendly tournament involving hosts India, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan in Imphal. The matches will be played during the Fifa international window on March 22, 24 and 26.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh made the announcement in the presence of All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey and secretary-general Shaji Prabhakaran.
“It is a great initiative by the AIFF leadership that we are getting to host international friendly matches in Manipur for the first time in history,” Singh said.
“Manipur has produced a huge number of footballers, both men and women, but never before has a national team’s match been organised in the state,” Chaubey said.
The tri-nation tournament is part of a series of matches that India will play to prepare for the Asian Cup. “It will be great to play a few friendly matches at home again,” head coach Igor Stimac said.

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