La Liga Roundup by Felipe Bazon
La Liga – Weekly Round Up – 17th Feb 08
Here we go with our first La Liga Weekly Round Up. We’ll be covering and commenting on all the matches played every week in La Liga.
So lets get down to business. Matchday started with Real Madrid 8 points clear at the top, but the second straight defeat away from the “Bernabeu” and Barça’s victory over Zaragoza closed the gap to five points and kept Barça alive in La Liga.
Real Betis 2 -1 Real Madrid
What looked like being another easy victory for league leaders Real Madrid, turned out to be a frustrating match for them.
Real Madrid started at high speed and within only five minutes they were one up. A long pass through the defence from Gago to Robben, who crossed in to Julio Baptista. Baptista did not manage to put the ball away, but Drenthe was coming from the right and with precision scored the first for Madrid.
The early goal allowed the Madrid players to relax, and the game lost quality. With Betis unable to create any chances Madrid thought they had the 3 points in the bag, but Betis were not yet out. They discovered Madrid’s “Achilles Heel”.
Just inside the half hour mark Betis managed to turn the game around with two identical goals. The first one, a cross from the left from striker Pavone found Edu inside the box, Edu headed the ball in to Casillas’s bottom left corner and four minutes later it was Edu’s turn to cross the ball in to Mark Gonzáles, who headed the ball again in the same corner.
The second half was quiet with few scoring opportunities. van Nistelrooy created the only real goal opportunity, but was stopped by the post.
Madrid lost their second consecutive away match, allowing Barcelona to close the gap to only five points, and Betis with the three points are climbing up the table moving further away from relegation zone.
Espanyol 2 – 4 Sevilla
In a very offensive match Sevilla won another three points away from home. With both strikers in top form, Luis Fabiano and Kanoute.
A pass from Kanoute, allowed Luis Fabiano to open the scoring for Sevilla. Four minutes later it was Luis Fabiano’s turn to make the pass for Kanoute to score the second for Sevilla.
Just before half time, Espanyol scored their first from Luis Garcia, after nice play from Zabaleta. The second half began with Espanyol putting pressure on Sevilla’s defence, looking for the draw, but it was Sevilla who scored the third after a deflected strike from outside the box from Poulsen. Two minutes later Espanyol got one back, a nice volley from Coro after Palop’s bad clearance. Without giving time to Espanyol to celebrate the goal, Sevilla scored their fourth, a minute later with Capel.
With the win Sevilla are now closer to the Champions League spot and Espanyol maintain their fifth position 3 points ahead of Sevilla.
R. Zaragoza 1 – 2 FC Barcelona
After Madrid’s defeat, Barcelona started the match knowing they needed the three points to close the gap and keep their title dream alive.
With Ronaldinho on the bench again, Barcelona were the first to score. A nice pass from Deco to Henry, who inside the box controlled the ball with his arm and touched the ball past Zaragoza’s goal keeper Ricardo. Neither the ref, nor the linesman who was facing the act, noticed that Henry controlled the ball with his arm. Diego Milito missed a penalty for Zaragoza just before half time. Ten minutes in to the second half Zaragoza scored their first with Ricardo Oliveira after a nice cross from Sergio Garcia. After the goal Zaragoza started to pressure Barcelona in their own half and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Victor Valdez, with two brilliant saves, Barcelona would have conceded. In the 81st minute Juanfran controlled the ball with his shoulder inside the box, but the linesman and referee thought he controlled with his arm and assigned the penalty for Barcelona. Ronaldinho, who had entered the match ten minutes earlier, took the penalty and scored his 7th this season and sealed Barcelona’s victory.
With the three points, Barcelona close the gap between them and Real Madrid to only five points, Zaragoza maintain their 29 points and are 10th.
Levante 2 – 1 Osasuna
In a match where both teams needed the three points, bottom club Levante triumphed.
Osasuna scored first with Montreal in the 20th minute of the first half, but with a lot of determination from the home side and two goals in less than three minutes, goals from Álvaro and Geijo, Levante won the match and the three points.
Levante are still bottom of the table but the three points kept their dream of not been relegated alive, while Osasuna keep falling and are now 4th from bottom.
Villarreal 0 – 0 Racing Santander
Both teams have distinct European dreams and it was Villareal that started creating more chances, but striker Rossi wasn’t having a good day, missing a penalty kick and having a goal disallowed in the last minute of normal time, with an offside decision badly judged by the linesman.
Villareal are still in the Champions League zone while Racing are in the UEFA Cup zone.
Almería 1 – 0 Murcia
A goal from the Negredo in the first half was all that Almería needed to beat Murcia and enter the UEFA Cup zone. Again the man of the match was Almería’s goalkeeper Diego Alves, with some brilliant saves to keep the three points home.
Murcia are still in the relegation zone and see a way out of it, further and further away.
Valladolid 1 – 1 Mallorca
After losing by 7 – 0 at Real Madrid last week, Valladolid could not hold on to the lead and allowed Mallorca to walk away with one point. Valladolid were the first ones to score with a goal from Llorent five minutes before half time. A goal from Ibagaza ten minutes from time meant Mallorca drew the match and grabbed a point away from home.
Both teams are in the middle of the table.
Recreativo 3 – 2 Deportivo La Coruña
Everything happened in this game; goals, yellow cards, red cards, penalty not given by the referee, more goals, balls hitting the woodwork, great saves…..
With only one goal in the first half from Deportivo’s left winger Verd ú, all the other goals were scored in the second half. Recreativo equalised with Beto, and took the lead with a goal from striker Simana Pangolle. With ten minutes to go, Deportivo equalised, left winger Rikki who had replaced Verd ú got the goal. With three minutes to go Recreativo’s defender Martín Cáceres scored and took the lead and the three points.
Getafe 0 – 0 Valencia
Getafe and Valencia drew with no goals in a match that started very attractive for the fans that showed up to watch, but soon lost its appeal. With David Villa out of action after been sent off with a red card due to a bad tackle on De la Red, Getafe could not reflect its superiority on the field, and allowed Valencia to walk away with one point.
Valencia is in 9th place and Getafe is in 13th .
Atlético Madrid 1 – 2 Athletic Bilbao
Atlético Madrid lost their progression away from the UEFA spots, they could not beat Athletic Bilbao at home, after going one up with a goal from Antonio López. Aguire’s boys could not hold on to the lead in front of the home crowd and allowed two goals before half time, one from Susaseta and one from Llorente. Atlético are fourth and Athletic Bilbao move away form relegation zone and are now 12th.
La Liga Top Ten Standings
1 Real Madrid 24 56
2 Barcelona 24 51
3 Villarreal 24 43
4 Atletico Madrid 24 41
5 Espanyol 24 39
6 Sevilla 24 36
7 Almeria 24 36
8 R. Santander 24 35
9 Valencia 24 34
10 Real Zaragoza 24 29