At the end of the tenth week, the Spanish League is turning out to be a two-horse race yet again. Defending champions FC Barcelona maintained their perfect away record although they lost Gerard Pique to a red card, Real Madrid grabbed all three points from their local derby while Osasuna and Villareal had a decent weekend.
Barcelona Maintains Away Record
A fully fit Barcelona side travelled to Madrid to take on old nemesis in Getafe. The Catalans had a perfect team and record whereas the hosts didn’t. Although the visitors lost defender Gerard Pique because of a second yellow card, however, they picked up all three points. Goals from Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro proved to be decisive enough for the Catalans. Manu del Moral converted from the spot but Barcelona were already three goals up at that stage.
The Catalans went in 2-0 ahead at the interval following strikes from Lionel Messi and David Villa. Messi was brilliantly set-up by Villa for the first goal. The diminutive Argentine returned the favour a few minutes later. Pedro got the third for his team 20 minutes into the second half. Moral converted from the spot 70 minutes into the match, but that was too little, too late. Pique handled in the area midway through the second half and was shown his second yellow card of the night. Derek Boateng too was shown a red card with 10 minutes to go. Both teams thus ended with 10 men.
Madrid Wins Derby
Real Madrid went top of the Spanish League after beating the Europa League Champions. Real have not lost home or away to Atletico since 1999 and that run never looked like coming to an end after Jose Mourinho’s in-form side scored early goals through Ricardo Carvalho and Mesut Ozil. Real Madrid thus remained a point clear of Barcelona at the summit. Promising young keeper David de Gea made a crucial save off Pepe early on but couldn’t stop the ball from finding the back of the net later. Angel Di Maria’s miss-pass took a deflection of Czech defender Tomas Ujfalusi and fell to Carvalho. The experienced Portuguese made no mistake in slotting the ball home. De Gea, yet again, came to Atletico’s rescue a minute after the first goal, this time denying Higuain.
German international Mesut Ozil scored the match’s second and final goal and made sure that the home side bagged all three points. Talismanic striker Diego Forlan’s apparent loss of form and the resurgence of the Los Blancos under The Special One made it all the more difficult for the visitors to get anything out of the match. A perfect result for the league leaders just days before the awaited Clasico.
Despite a Europa Leap, Atletico still not good enough for Real Madrid
Villareal Continues Their Good Run
Villareal took on Athletic Bilbao at the El Madrigal. The hosts were shocked by a 6th minute goal from promising Spanish striker – Fernando Llorente. The Basque side took a surprise lead as early as the 6th minute. Jon Aurtenetxe crossed from the left and Llorente made the most of his towering stature and headed home from close range. The first half quite belonged to the visitors only for Nilmar to score five minutes before the break, and then Santi Cazorla turned the game on its head on the stroke of half-time. Giuseppe Rossi added a third with six minutes left and Jefferson Montero added the fourth in the final minute. To add insult to injury, the visitors had Jon Aurtenetxe shown a second yellow and hence a red card.
The Other Matches
Ex-Real Madrid manager, Manuel Pellegrini saw his new side beaten by Espanyol. Javi Marquez’s stunning early strike continued Espanyol’s perfect home record as struggling Malaga slumped to their seventh defeat in 10 games this season. Marquez smashed home a superb 30-yard drive in the opening minute and that proved to be the only goal of the game as high-flying Espanyol made it five wins out of five at their Cornella El Prat home. Real Zaragoza won a thrilling encounter against Michael Laudrup’s Mallorca. Fernandez Gabi scored a 95th-minute penalty to earn struggling Real Zaragoza a precious 3-2 win that moves them off the bottom of the table on goal difference. Goals from Webo and Pereira seemed to have won it for Mallorca. Nicolas Bertolo brought the home side on level terms 5 minutes from time and Gabi slotted home from the penalty spot to bag all three points. The victory’s nothing short of fabulous for Zaragoza who were outshone by Laudrup’s men in the initial phase of the match.
Osasuna gave Hercules a lesson in football when they thumped the recently promoted side. Goals from Nacho Monreal, Lolo and Krisztian Vadocz gave the Pamplona-based side a deserved victory as Jose Antonio Camacho’s men responded optimistically following last weekend’s dismal 4-1 defeat at Racing Santander. Osasuna are now 12th with 12 points, while Hercules sit just a point clear of the drop zone in 17th. Sporting de Gijon and Almeria play a stalemate and share points. Almeria took the lead via a goal from Corona in the 16th minute. Gijon’s Nacho Novo scored in the second half to earn them a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Almeria. Deportivo La Coruna beat Levante 2-1 to secure a second straight Primera Division win and move out of the bottom three after 10 rounds of league matches. Riki and Artiles Oliva gave the visitors a 2-0 lead by the hour mark. Later Levante pulled one back via Juanlu in the 73rd minute but that wasn’t enough for the home side.