Monday, 21 October 2013

Spanish La Liga Roundup: Week 9.

I almost died of boredom during the international break so it was with bated breath I waited for club football to resume, rescuing me from tepid World Cup qualifiers. In Spain, record chasing Barcelona travelled to Pamplona to face Osasuna while Atletico Madrid visited Catalunya to face in form Espanyol. Real Madrid hosted former manager Bernd Schuster with his Malaga team.



Prior to this match in El Sadar, I would have staked my life(seriously) that Barcelona would come away with all three points with relative ease. Osasuna have been terrible this season, losing six and managing only two wins. Betting companies were certainly twerking with joy on Saturday as the Catalans ruined tickets worldwide. The match marked the return of Carles' Caveman' Puyol who was sidelined for several months and his presence will certainly boost team morale . Barcelona clearly were the better side, creating numerous chances but were rebuffed constantly by a dogged,well driiled Osasuna defence. Fabregas and Neymar had the best chances but were wasteful to say the least. Leo Messi made a cameo appearance, marking his return from a 3 week injury layoff. The result means Barcelona failed to equal Madrid's record of nine consecutive wins set in the 1968\69 season. Barcelona are now solo on the La Liga table with 25pts while Osasuna are 16th with 7pts.


Dejected: David Villa looks exasperated as Atletico Madrid lose to Espanyol

Atletico were in search of 9th consecutive win in La Liga which would have seen them equal the record set by their prestigious neighbours Real Madrid. In the way of that feat was Espanyol, managed by wily Mexican Javier Aguirre. In a match that was boring to say the least, both sides failed to create clear goal scoring chances and were content with waiting for slip- ups in the defence. The match finally came to life when Thibaut Courtois was forced into scoring an own goal on 54 minutes, shocking Atleti into life. The Rojiblancos poured forward but were denied by stout defending from Espanyol who were ready to die for all three points. A disappointed Simeone will surely berate his players for losing focus and not giving a 100% to maintain their unbeaten run. The set back means Barcelona pull clear of Atleti who now have 24pts while a rejuvenated Espanyol move to up to sixth with 14pts.


All the bruhaha surrounding Gareth Bale's injury was finally laid to rest as Carlo Ancellotti named the Welshman on the bench against Malaga. Bernd Schuster returned to the Bernabeu where he was manager for two seasons, winning La Liga in his debut season. Ancellotti dropped the misfiring Karim Benzema for Alvaro Morata while Asier Illaramendi continued in midfield ahead of Luka Modric. Madrid started like a house on fire, creating chances on numerous occasion's but were thwarted by Willy Caballero and well organised Malaga back four. On fire Angel Di Maria finally opened scoring on 46 mins, delivering a cross cum shot that Caballero could do nothing to stop. Gareth Bale made his cameo appearance and made a couple of good runs, one which led to a penalty in which a relieved Cristiano Ronaldo duly tucked in. At that point, I'm sure it was personal between him and Caballero who denied him countless times. Madrid have now closed the gap between them and Barcelona to three points ahead of the highly anticipated El Clasico clash this coming Saturday. They also have a crunch tie with Juventus midweek. Madrid remain third with 22pts while Malaga are 9th with 9pts.


A resurgent Valencia hosted Real Sociedad at the Mestalla but were brought back to earth with a 1-2 home loss. Antoine Griezmann opened scoring with an absolute stunner on 41 mins. The Basque side doubled their lead with a Ruben Pardo strike on 58 mins. Dorlan Pabon scored a consolation for Valencia late on. 

Getafe defeated 10 man Granada 0- 2 on Sunday, thanks to a Jelson Murilla own goal and a Pedro Leon effort on 55 mins. Almeria continued their dismal start to the Spanish top flight, losing 0- 1 to 10 man Rayo Vallecano. In a tightly fought encounter, Alejandro Gamez handed Rayo all three points on 78 mins, defying all odds after they had Saul Niguez sent off on 64 mins. 

10 man Elche shocked Real Betis 1-2 in Andaulusia to record their second win of the season. Manu Del Moral shocked the home fans when he opened scoring on 29 mins. Five minutes later, Fidel Ganzalez doubled their lead to make matters worse for Betis. Jorge Molina gave the home side hope on 41 mins but Elche hung on for victory who had Domingo Cisma sent off on 47 mins. Real Valladolid played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla. Carlos Bacca opened scoring for Sevilla as early as the 2nd minute with Alberto Moreno doubling their lead on 31 mins. However a spirited Valladolid fought back with the Angolan Manucho starting the comeback on 81 mins. The impressive Patrick Ebert equalised on 85 mins to send the home crowd into delirium.

Monday October 21, 2013.

Celta De Vigo vs Levante 19.00
Athletic Bilbao vs Villarreal 21.00

Top Scorers

Diego Costa Atletico Madrid 10
Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 8
Lionel Messi Barcelona 8
Pedro Barcelona 5
Rodri Almeria 5
Alexis Sánchez Barcelona 4
Javi Guerra Real Valladolid 4
Giovani Dos Santos Villarreal 4
Kevin Gameiro Sevilla FC 4
Ivan Rakitic Sevilla FC 4
Jorge Molina Real Betis 4
Isco Real Madrid 4
Jonas Valencia 4

Spanish BBVA La Liga Table

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