News Archive

Match round-up - First Division, Day 19

Atlético Madrid finished the first half of the season in top spot after they beat fifth placed Celta 0-2 in the last match on Sunday night. In the end the game took place despite the heavy rainstorms in Galicia over the last few days, although the damp conditions made play difficult. The visitors had the better of the first half, Vietto and Griezmann going close and Koke testing Sergio Alvarez, although Aspas headed just wide at the other end, and Orellana brought a good save out of Oblak before the break. Soon after the restart though Griezmann opened the scoring for Simeone’s side, the French striker turning the ball in on the far past after Vietto passed across from left of the area. Oblak had to keep out Bongonda and Sergi Gómez after that, but with ten minutes to go Gómez and Jackson Martínez battled for a long punt from the visiting keeper, and the ball fell kindly for Carrasco to run on and score. The result takes Atlético back above Barcelona, although the honorary title of winter champions is still on hold as the Catalans have a match in hand.

The top four have opened up an eight point gap over the rest, Villarreal staying a point behind third placed Real Madrid after a 2-0 victory over Sporting Gijón in this Sunday’s mid-day game. The early chances fell to the home side, Bakambu heading over and Cuéllar having to save from Denis Suárez. Areola had to turn a Sanabria header for a corner though, and a long throw-in from Luis Hernández bounced past everyone into the net, but soon afterwards Bruno and Soldado combined to set up Bakambu for the opener. Halilovic fired a couple of efforts wide of the mark either side of half time, but once again Bakambu struck, the Congolese forward picking up a long centre from Soldado before steering a shot past Cuéllar and in off the far post. It could have been more had Leo Baptistao not been tackled by Omar when free on goal in injury time, but it was another defeat for the Asturians though, and they end the weekend further down in the bottom three.

Eibar meanwhile are up to sixth after they beat Espanyol 2-1, the thirty points they have clocked up to date their best ever in the top flight at the mid-way point of the season. Inui started things off with an impressive shot past Pau López on the quarter hour mark, although Joan Jordán equalized for the visitors with a shot which deflected in off Pantic a few minutes later. Borja Bastón missed a sitter before the break, and Hernán Pérez fired a shot against the upright in reply after the restart. Soon afterwards it was Sergi Enrich’s turn to miss an easy chance, but with a quarter of an hour to go Borja got the winner from the penalty spot after Javi López inexplicably rolled into Inui as he cut past him into the area.

Málaga reach the mid-point of the current campaign in the top half of the table after they drew 1-1 at Las Palmas. Both teams traded shots early on, Javi Varas saving a Recio free kick and Duje Cop shooting wide, and Jonathan Viera and Araujo going close for the Canary Islanders. Some six minutes in to the second half Tana put the locals ahead with his third goal in as many matches, the midfielder latching on to Araujo’s back-heel pass to fire a low shot past Kameni. However Santa Cruz headed just wide minutes earlier, and the Paraguayan striker combined with Cop later on to level the scores and extend his team’s unbeaten record to seven games.

Valencia drop to eleventh however after they lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad, and although they are still in the cup, the Ches have yet to win in the league since Gary Neville took over six weeks ago. For most of the game honours were even, Jaume Domenech having to save a couple of efforts from Bruma and Rodrigo hitting the bar before the break, and Santi Mina and Rubén Pardo going close after the restart. However with twelve minutes to go Jonathas got on the end of a deflected Carlos Martínez cross to bundle the ball into the net, and just three minutes later the two combined again for the Brazilian striker to head the full back’s cross down past the keeper. The result takes the Basque side five points clear of the relegation zone, now just three points below their opponents in the table. (10.01.16)

Barcelona are back at the top of the table pending Atlético Madrid’s match at Celta on Sunday after a comfortable 4-0 win against Granada on Saturday afternoon. Leo Messi got the Catalans off to a good start with two goals in the first quarter of an hour, the first after connecting with a through ball from Arda Turan, and the second when Luis Suárez laid back Neymar’s cross. Only a couple of long efforts caused any problems for Bravo in the local goal, and Suárez and Neymar both missed chances before Messi completed his hat-trick after Neymar’s shot came back off the post with just under an hour gone. Bravo had to save again from Rochina after that, but with seven minutes to go Neymar got on the end of a Luis Suárez centre to round things off.

Atletico’s game is actually in doubt due to flooding in Vigo, but in the meantime their city rivals Real Madrid moved to within a point of them after a 5-0 victory over Deportivo. Former B team coach Zinedine Zidane was in charge of the Merengues for the first time after Rafa Benítez was sacked earlier in the week, and both the crowd and the players gave him their full support. With only a quarter of the game gone Madrid were already two up, Benzema deflecting a Sergio Ramos shot into the net with his heel, and Bale heading a Dani Carvajal cross down past Lux. Navas had to save from Fede Cartabia and Lucas Pérez shot wide a couple of times, but Ronaldo headed against the post, and some four minutes in to the second half Bale connected with Ronaldo’s centre to make it three. A few minutes later the Welsh wizzard completed his hat-trick with a looping header from a Kroos corner, and Benzema completed the scoring with a first time shot in off the crossbar with the game already in injury time.

Sevilla meanwhile climbed above Athletic Bilbao to sixth spot after beating the Basque side 2-0 in the Sánchez Pizjuán stadium. Gameiro gave the Andalusians the lead midway through the first half after picking up a return pass from Vitolo, but otherwise the visitors had the better of the first half, Williams shooting just wide and Aduríz clipping a shot against the bar. Referee Prieto Iglesias gave the locals a helping hand though on the hour mark when he awarded a penalty after Krychowiak tripped over his own feet surrounded by Gurpegui and Laporte, Gameiro gratefully tucking away the resulting spot kick. Both teams had chances after that, but Unai Emery closed ranks to ensure an eighth straight home win.

Sevilla’s city rivals Betis are in trouble though after they lost 1-0 at Getafe, the result leaving Pepe Mel’s job hanging by a thread. The visitors had the better chances in the first half, Rubén Castro seeing his shot deflected over the bar, and Guaita having to save from Molina. However some twelve minutes into the second half Alvaro Vázquez connected with Roberto Lago’s cross to beat Adán, and Pedro León and Bernard came close to increasing the lead later on. N’Diaye and Vargas responded for the Andalusians, but for the fifth match in a row they failed to score, and they ended the day just five points above the drop zone.

Meanwhile the bottom two teams met in the last match of the evening, Levante winning 2-1 against Rayo Vallecano to move to within a point of their opponents in the table. For the first hour or so there was little action, only a couple of efforts by Javi Guerra for the visitors, and replies by new signing Cuero and half time substitute Deyverson for the locals. With twenty minutes to go though Deyverson volleyed the opener past Yoel from Toño’s cross, and Morales rounded Quini to make it two before Pablo Hernández connected with a Lass to cross to pull one back near the end. (09.01.16)