La Liga Round-up: Business as usual in Spain

It was another week of fantastic action in Spain, as there was plenty of drama and upsets along with some routine wins for the top teams. Here’s a roundup of week #5 from the World Champion’s national league. 

Week five results 

Sporting Gijon 0-2 Valencia 

Levante 0-0 Real Madrid 

Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona 

Mallorca 2-0 Sociedad 

Deportivo 0-2 Almeria 

Racing 0-1 Getafe 

Espanyol 1-0 Osasuna 

Hercules 2-0 Sevilla 

Atletico 1-0 Zaragoza 

Malaga — Villarreal (Game to be played today) 


Back at the pole position

After losing out the top spot to Real Madrid for three days, Valencia are back on top of the standings with a rampant display away at Sporting Gijon. The early kick off was not at all a problem for Los Che as they easily came off with a win against a poor Sporting side. New signing Mehmet Topal gave Valencia an early lead in the seventh minute. 

[picappgallerysingle id=”9232902″ align=”center”]Mata was instrumental!

 

Three minutes later, ex-Real Madrid youth team member Juan Mata released another ex-Madrid player Roberto Soldado, who coolly slotted home from close range that doubled the lead for Los Che. From then on, there was no turning back for the visitors, as they eventually took back the top position in the La Liga standings. 


Another away glitch
 

Last Tuesday, it seemed like Real Madrid were finding their foot under Jose Mourinho. Although they had wasted plenty of chances in that game against Espanyol, they did find the back of the net thrice on their way to a comfortable victory. That should’ve acted as a foundation to start scoring goals, but Real Madrid once again struggled to find the back of the net against Levante, handing themselves their second draw in three away games. Real looked out of ideas and didn’t try hard enough to break a Levante side who were clearly looked satisfied with a draw. A couple of chances did fall to Higuain, but he blew them away. Real now lie in third place, a point behind Barcelona, and two points off of leaders Valencia. 


Successful San Mames outing
 

It was not at all an easy trip for Barcelona to San Mames – especially after a midweek game. Pep Guardiola had admitted that if Barca allowed the Lions to play direct, physical football, then they would have trouble taming them. But, Barca came good at one of the most hostile venues in Spain with a resounding 3-1 victory, although some may argue about the controversial sending off of Amorbieta just after the half hour mark. Both teams were creating half chances with Bilbao coming closest when San Jose’s outer foot strike shaved the left post. But the first half ended goalless, as Barca was unable to take the numerical advantage.

The second half started off well for the Catalans, as Kieta put them ahead after a sumptuous move that involved Maxwell, Iniesta, and Villa. Iniesta and Villa came close afterwards, but the latter’s shot was well saved by Iraizoz. In the 73rd minute, Xavi added to the goal tally, when his shot, from outside the box, was deflected into the back of the net. Gabilondo got one back for the hosts, and there was hope of rescuing a point when Villa was sent off, but Sergio Busquets made put the last nail in the 92nd minute to give Barcelona three very important points and the 2nd spot in the league table. 


Hercules, mighty again
 

After shocking Barcelona a fortnight ago, Hercules gulped another big fish in Sevilla on Sunday night. Hercules continued their fantastic form of taking down the big guns when David Trezeguet’s brace gave them a deserved victory at the Estadio José Rico Pérez. The Blanquiazules produced a breathtaking first half display and restricted Sevilla in their own half of the pitch. 

[picappgallerysingle id=”9731836″ align=”center”]Hercules sure knows how to capture big fish! 

It was 1-0 to the hosts when David Trezeguet converted his spot kick. On-loan from Real Madrid, Royston Drenthe ran through the Sevilla right wing and looped a cross to the back post for Trezeguet to make it 2-0 and a comfortable three points to promote them to the top half of the table. Sevilla’s coach Antonio Alvarez was sacked soon after the disastrous display by his side. 


Atletico nurse through
 

Filipe Luis showed his real worth, when he put on a superb performance at home which helped Atletico to gun down a struggling Zaragoza. Atletico Madrid was the clear favorite before the game and was the one that ended up with three points after the 90 minutes of play. Brazilian Diego Costa scored the only goal of the game when he tapped in a squared up ball from Filipe Luis. The cagey game – which saw the referee dish out 11 cards in total – ended with a 1-0 score line in favor of Atleti, even though the visitors spurned a lot chances after Reyes was sent off at the hour mark. Atleti are back into the top 4 while Zaragoza’s miseries continue as they lie in the rock bottom of the table. 


Other routine results
 

In other games in the Iberian nation, Getafe rolled past Racing Santander at El Sardinero with a 1-0 victory. Victor Sanchez Mata gave the visitors the lead in the 16th minute when Manu assisted him. There were a total of seven yellow cards and a sending off in that game.

In another game at the Estadi Cornellà in Barcelona, Espanyol saw off Osasuna in what was a rather dull game. Alvaro Garcia gave the hosts the lead in the 25th minute following Toribio’s sending off after just twenty minutes.

Almeria marched past Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor, in what was a very impressive display by the visitors. Kalu Uche’s brace gave the Rojiblancos the three points and their first win of the season to lift them above the relegation spots to 13th in the standings.

Yet another 2-0 victory was followed by when Mallorca beat Real Sociedad with a brace from new signing Cavenaghi in the Iberostar stadium, Mallorca. The hosts started off well and their efforts were paid in the 7th minute when Marti assisted Cavenaghi to make it 1-0. The latter made it 2-0 in favor of Mallorca close to the hour mark, guding an assist from Victor. Mallorca climbs up to the 11th spot in the league table. 

That sums up weekend actions in the Spanish league; while the standings looks compact,  most of the top teams are struggling to conjure up great performances and continue to notch up inconsistent display.