Match round-up - First Division, Day 22

Eibar are just a point away from the European spots after a 4-0 victory over Granada on Monday evening. Adrián González put the Basque side ahead from the penalty spot early on after Ingason held back Sergi Enrich in the area, and he should have added a second when he turned a cross against the bar soon afterwards. Enrich did make it two though after he picked up a Pedro León assist shortly before the break, and some seven minutes in to the second half Iván Ramis got the third from a Pedro León corner. Inui went close before León himself scored the fourth follwing a good run by Arbilla down the left wing, and the Andalusians didn’t trouble the local defence until Kravets tested Yoel a couple of times late on. They end the weekend further down in the drop zone, albeit still only five points away from safety after Leganés lost at Sporting on Sunday. (13.02.17)

Atlético Madrid move back above Real Sociedad to fourth spot after a 3-2 victory over Celta in the last match on Sunday evening. Yesterday the two Spanish cup finalists met, and as chance would have it the two losing semi-finalists also faced off in the Calderón stadium, the possible venue for this year’s final. Cabral headed the visitors in front early on after a poor clearance by Moyà from a Sisto corner, but Fernando Torres levelled the scores soon afterwards with a spectacular over-head kick. The action continued, Jozabed hitting the post with a low shot and Torres firing a penalty against the bar after Roncaglia fouled Carrasco, and with a quarter of an hour left on the clock Guidetti restored the lead after Wass set him up. However with four minutes to go Carrasco equalized again with a first time volley, and two minutes later Griezmann got the winner after Gameiro headed back Correa’s cross.

Sevilla stay four points clear of Atleti though after they won 0-1 at Las Palmas earlier in the evening. An enthusiastic crowd turned up to see Jesé’s return to the island, and the ex Real Madrid forward brought a couple of good saves out of Sergio Rico early on. Mariano and Jovetic tested Javi Varas in reply, and after the restart Rico was in action again to save from David Simón and Boateng. Halilovic shot wide and Ben Yedder had a couple of efforts blocked, but with ten minutes to go substitute Joaquín Correa ran through to beat Varas after Iborra headed on a long Rico clearance, handing the Canary Islanders their first home defeat of the season.

Elsewhere sixth placed Villarreal lost ground on the top five after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Málaga in the mid-day kick-off. Charles headed the opener for the away side from a Rosales cross on the quarter hour mark, but otherwise the locals were on top, Sansone, Adrián López and Trigueros all failing to convert chances before the break. Some ten minutes in to the second half the Andalusians had a clear penalty appeal turned down after Trigueros pulled back Charles in the area, but soon afterwards referee Bikandi Garrido awarded one at the other end after Sansone fell under a soft challenge from Rosales, Bruno converting the kick. Asenjo and Kameni had to keep out Jony and Samu Castillejo after that, but the visitors held on for a first point under new coach Gato Romero which keeps them seven points clear of the drop zone.

The fight to avoid relegation has opened up a bit though after Sporting Gijón beat Leganés 0-2 to move to within two points of their hosts in the table. It was a tense match, the only real chance in the first half a header by alberto Bueno just wide of the mark. Substitute Burgui made the difference for the Asturians though, the ex Real Madrid forward playing in a corner midway through the second half which Canella fired through the hands of keeper Herrerín, and then scoring the second himself late on with an angled shot after Carlos Castro put him through. (12.02.17)

Real Madrid stay at the top of the table, still with two games in hand, after they beat bottom club Osasuna 1-3 in the last game on Saturday evening. Ronaldo opened the scoring for Zidane’s team midway through the first half after Benzema put him through, but a few minutes later Sergio León levelled the scores after running on to a long ball from Fuentes. Sirigu did well to save from Benzema soon afterwards, and Keylor Navas kept out Rivière and Sergio León either side of half time. However with just over an hour on the clock Isco picked up a loose ball after Benzema was tackled to run through and restore the lead, and with the game in injury time Ronaldo stepped over a Marcelo pass to allow substitute Lucas Vázquez to wrap things up. A brave fight from the locals but another defeat, and Tano joins a long injury list after breaking his leg going for a 50 / 50 ball with Isco in the opening minutes.

Earlier in the day through Barcelona had moved temporarily above Madrid after hammering Alavés 0-6. It was rehearsal for the Spanish cup final after both teams qualified midweek, and the two coaches made several changes to their line-ups. Ter Stegen had to keep out Theo Hernández early on, but with eight minutes to go to the break Luis Suárez got on the end of an Aleix Vidal cross to put the visitors ahead, and just three minutes later Neymar made it two after Pacheco tried to palm away Messi’s ball in to the area, only succeeding in pushing it against the head of Suárez. Christian Santos missed an easy chance for the hosts after the restart, but then the floodgates really opened, Messi winning the ball of Vigaray to score a third, and Alexis deflecting the ball in to his own net after Theo Hernández tackled Messi as he advanced on goal. Two minutes later Rakitic made it five, and almost immediately Suáres got his second of the afternoon after Pacheco could only push out a shot from Neymar. The bad news for Luis Enrqiue though was an ankle injury to Aleix Vidal near the end which could keep him out to the end of the season.

Athletic Bilbao meanwhile are back up to the brink of the European spots after they came from a goal down to beat Deportivo 2-1. The Galicians had the better of the first half, Andone failing to beat Iraizoz a couple of times before Çolak bent a long shot past the keeper to give his team a first half lead. Raúl García headed a long free kick against the crossbar with just under an hour gone however, and with twenty minutes to go Muniain equalized, sliding the rebound past Tyton after the keeper had saved Aduríz’s header from a Susaeta cross. The veteran striker was celebrating his 36 th birthday, and he scored the last minute winner himself after Susaeta had played the ball through, the referee waving away claims for a possible offside.

Elsewhere Betis and Valencia drew 0-0 in the lunchtime kick-off, the result keeping the hosts four points above their oponents in the lower reaches of the table. The Andalusians started well, Rubén Castro firing a long shot against the crossbar, and Gayà clearing an effort from Alex Alegría off the line after keeper Diego Alves had gone AWOL. The Ches felt they should have had a penalty though when Pezzella blocked a shot from Montoya with his arm before the interval. However other than a late effort from Cancelo which Adán kept out, the locals were on top, Rubén Pardo, Petros and Rubén Castro all failing to convert chances in the second half. (11.02.17)

Real Sociedad are up to fourth place pending Atlético’s game on Sunday after a 1-2 victory at Espanyol on Friday evening. Carlos Vela picked up a long ball over the top of the defence from Iñigo Martínez to give the Basque side the lead midway through the first half, but a few minutes later Hernán Pérez made it all square after leaving three defenders for dead before lifting a shot past Rulli. Both keepers had to saves to make after the break, and Pérez had a strike ruled out for the positional offside of Caicedo, but with just over an hour gone Illarramendi curled a long shot past Diego López to bring to an end Espanyol’s run of three victories in a row. (10.02.17)

Second division