News Archive

Match round-up - First Division, Day 33

Barcelona’s season appears to have gone completely off the rails, and their nine point lead at the top has been pegged back to nothing after they lost 1-2 to Valencia on Sunday evening! The last time the Ches visited the Nou Camp in the cup, their hosts put seven past them, but this time they were two up at the break, Rakitic putting through his own goal from a Siqueira cross, and Santi Mina making it two after Dani Parejo put him through on the stroke of half time. Messi had tested Diego Alves before that, and either side of half time he struck two free kicks just wide of the mark. Some twenty minutes in to the second half Messi turned in a Jordi Alba cross to get one back, his 500th professional goal, and Alves had to be at his best to keep out Neymar, Rakitic and Luis Suárez after that. However Paco Alcácer missed a sitter at the other end later on, and when Piqué did the same in injury time it was all over. It was a third league defeat in a row for the Catalans, the first time in 13 years that that had happened.

Atlético Madrid (who knocked Barça out of the Champions League midweek) are now level with Luis Enrique’s side after they beat Granada 3-0 earlier in the evening, albeit that they stay below them in the table on the head-to-head record. Koke fired a shot wide before opening the scoring on the quarter hour mark, the Spanish international midfielder drilling a shot past Andrés after a previous effort from Fernando Torres was blocked. Rochina came close to levelling it when he hit the post with a long shot later on in the first half, but some fifteen minutes in to the second half Koke sent Torres away for him to lift a shot past the advancing keeper. And although substitute Barral headed a corner just over the top in reply, Correa wrapped things up after Sául Ñíguez headed a long Oblak goal-kick into his path with seven minutes to go. With Real Madrid just a point below the leaders, it promises to be a thrilling end to the season!

Villarreal’s fourth place is not quite as safe as it was a few days ago after they were beaten 2-1 by Rayo Vallecano, and to make matters worse they have to visit Real Madrid in their next match on Wednesday. The locals needed points themselves though, and Bebé tested Areola before Javi Guerra gave them lead, firing home on the follow up after the keeper could only push out a shot from Miku. With twenty minutes gone Adrián López got on the end of a lofted Jonathan Dos Santos pass to volley in the equalizer, but Areloa had to save a couple of times from Bebé, and Rayo felt they should have had a penalty when Tito’s cross appeared to hit Mario on the arm. Chances were few and far between after the interval, but with ten minutes to go Miku steered a long header past Areola to take Paco Jémez’s side five points clear of the drop zone.

Athletic Bilbao are up to fifth, now six points below Villarreal, after a 0-1 victory at Málaga in the mid-day game. Valverde made several changes after Thursday night’s gruelling Europa League defeat at Sevilla, and they were pushed back early on, Iraizoz having to save from Juanpi, Chory Castro and Recio. Lekue tested Ochoa at the other end though, and just eight minutes in to the second half Raúl García got clear of Albentosa to head in an Iturraspe corner. Duje Cop missed an easy header and then had a penalty appeal turned down, and Charles came up against Iraizoz and then San José when free on goal, but Athletic could have won by a bigger margin had Viguera been able to beat Ochoa in the dying minutes.

Sevilla are now four points adrift of the top six though after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo. Emery also made changes to his line up after Thursday’s match, with Llorente replacing the injured Gameiro up front. The Basque striker headed wide a couple of times early on, and with twenty minutes gone he headed a Reyes cross into the path of Iborra for him to give the Andalusians the lead. Both Iborra and Llorente went close a couple of times after that, but Fayçal Fajr and Lucas Pérez caused some problems for Rico and his defence after the interval, and with ten minutes to go Pérez crossed in for Oriol Riera to level the scores. It was a seventeenth draw of the season for the Galicians, and they end the weekend nine points clear of the relegation spots. (17.04.16)

Real Madrid threw down the gauntlet to the two leaders, a 1-5 victory at city neighbours Getafe on Saturday taking them above Atlético and to within a point of Barcelona pending their games tomorrow. Zidane’s side totally dominated the match, Guaita saving from James and Ronaldo hitting the post before Benzema connected with a James cross to open. the scoring on the half hour mark. The French striker set up Isco and Bale for two more either side of half time, and Guaita had to be on his toes to keep out James a few minutes later. Sarabia did test Keylor Navas for the first time with just over an hour gone, and he got one back with an impressive shot with seven minutes to go. However James and Ronaldo added two more in the last five minutes to leave Juan Eduardo Esnáider’s new team down at the bottom of the table.

Whatever happens the top three are already sure of their Champions League places, and Villarreal’s fourth spot is looking safer than ever after fifth placed Celta were held to a 1-1 draw by Betis in the last match of the evening. Adán pushed a shot by Guidetti on to the post in the opening minutes, but the locals took the lead when N’Diaye turned in a cross from Montoya with just under half an hour gone. Joaquín hit the upright a few minutes later, and Adán had to save from Nolito before the break, and after the restart Rubén Blanco was in action to keep out Rubén Castro. Guidetti had a goal ruled out though for a questionable offside decision, and with twelve minutes to go Pablo Hernández beat the visiting keeper to save a point for the Galicians.

The point virtually ensures a place in next season’s top flight for Betis, and Eibar and Las Palmas are also fairly secure, the Basque side coming from behind to beat local rivals Real Sociedad 2-1. Zurutuza gave the visitors the lead with a spectacular volley following a throw-in in the seventh minute, and Vela and Zurutuza could have put them further ahead soon afterwards. Rulli had to save from Ansotegi however, and with just over half an hour gone Sergi Enrich equalized with a header from Capa’s cross which went in off Diego Reyes. Riesgo did well to keep out Bergara after the interval, but a quarter of an hour in to the second half Escalante headed in a Sergi Enrich centre, and the Argentinian midfielder came close to scoring again when he hit the bar a few minutes later.

The win takes Eibar level with their opponents on 41 points, and Las Palmas are just a point behind them both after they drew 1-1 with Sporting Gijón. Bigas headed the Canary Islanders into the lead in only the third minute, and Jonathan Viera felt himself unlucky not to have added a second some twenty minutes later when his strike was ruled out for a dubious offside. Luis Hernández headed on to the bar though, and just two minutes in to the second half Jony picked up a long throw from Cuéllar in his own half and ran on past two defenders to equalize. Half time substitute livened things up as well, the Croatian midfielder setting up Sanabria for him to shoot wide, and then bringing a good save out of Javi Varas himself, but in the end Abelardo’s side had to settle for a point which takes them above Levante and Getafe, albeit still in the bottom three. (16.04.16)

Levante are off the bottom of the table after coming back to beat Espanyol 2-1 in this week’s Friday night game! Hernán Pérez put the visitors ahead after Víctor Sánchez put him through early on, but Rossi equalized with a wide free kick which went past everyone in to the net midway through the first half. Deyverson and Rossi missed chances before the break, and Diego Mariño saved from Hernán Pérez after the restart. However a few minutes later Medjani turned in another Rossi free kick to give Rubi’s team a vital three points which takes them above Getafe on goal difference pending their match on Saturday. A poor result for Espanyol though, and they still need a few points to be safe for another season. (15.04.16)