Barcelona and Real Madrid are neck and neck at the top of the table after Valverde’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by fellow Catalans Girona on Sunday evening! Messi fired the locals into the lead in the twentieth minute, but Lenglet was shown a straight red card shortly before the break, and Stuani scored twice either side of half time to turn the scoreline around. Messi hit the bar with a free kick though, and soon afterwards Piqué headed the equaliser to keep his side ahead of Madrid on goal difference. Girona are now sixth, a point ahead of Sevilla, who trounced Levante 2-6 in the mid-day game. Ben Yedder helped himself to a first half hat-trick and Carriço also scored before the break, with Roger replying momentarily for the locals. André Silva and Sarabia completed the set after the restart though, and Kjaer put through his own net right at the end for the final result.
Elsewhere Betis and Athletic Bilbao drew 2-2, Williams and Raúl García putting the visitors two up early on, but Marc Bartra and Canales pegging them back after Susaeta was sent off on the stroke of half time. And Villarreal and Valencia drew 0-0, a result which left both floundering in the lower reaches of the table. Any chance the Ches had of winning ended when Dani Parejo was sent off on the hour mark, the team captain not having had the best of weeks after giving away one penalty and missing another in the midweek Champions League game against Juventus. (23.09.18)
Real Madrid return to the top of the table pending Barcelona’s game on Sunday after beating Espanyol 1-0 on Saturday evening. Marco Asensio got the only goal shortly before the break, the referee finally allowing the goal after consulting the VAR system. However the Catalans put up a good fight, Courtois having to make several saves, and Borja Iglesias hitting the bar after the restart. Alavés meanwhile are now in third spot after they thrashed Rayo Vallecano 1-5 in the early kick-off. Rayo’s stadium was open again after a temporary closure for emergency ground repairs, but although Raúl De Tomás cancelled out Ximo Navarro’s early opener, Ibai Gómez restored the lead for the visitors before the interval. The locals were left with ten men when Abdoulaye Ba was sent off shortly before half time, and Calleri, Ibai Gómez and Burgui added three more in the second half.
Atlético Madrid moved up to fifth after a 0-2 victory at neighbours Getafe, local keeper David Soria deflecting the ball into his own net early on after Lemar’s shot came back off the bar, and Lemar himself making it two on the hour mark. Getafe’s Iván Alejo was sent off for a rash tackle just four minutes after coming on as substitute. Atleti are level on points with sixth placed Celta, who were held to a 3-3 draw by Valladolid. The Galicians raced into a two goal lead with strikes by Iago Aspas and Maxi Gómez, but Oscar Plano headed one back near the break, his side’s first goal of the season. Aspas restored the two goal gap after the restart, but strikes by Ünal and Leo Suárez saved a point for the visitors. Eibar are just a point below Atleti and Celta though after they beat bottom club Leganés 1-0, Kike García heading the winner early on in the second half. (22.09.18)
One match on Friday evening following the two week international break, Real Sociedad beating Huesca 0-1 to move up into the European spots pending the rest of the weekend games. Mikel Merino scored the only goal after Theo Hernández set him up midway through the second half, and the Basque team held on despite having Juanmi and Theo sent off in the last twenty minutes or so. (14.09.18)