It was another week of mesmerising football in the Iberian nation as the top guns notched up wins and the struggling teams continued to struggle. Week 8 was full of action ahead of the first games of Copa Del Rey in midweek.
Barcelona cruise along
Barcelona travelled to the La Romareda stadium to take on a struggling Real Zaragoza side and returned with the expected three points. Lionel Messi was again on song to give the Catalans the lead in the 42nd minute when he latched on to a through ball from Villa and finished it neatly after the latter had done some great work to set Messi free. The first half ended, 1-0 in Barcelona’s favor. The second half resumed in similar fashion as Barcelona continued to dominate. It became even more comfortable for the Catalans when Ponzio was sent off for the hosts in the 50th minute mark.
Messi made it game, set and match for the defending champions, in the 66th minute, when he put another past Doblas. Following a great save by the Zaragoza ‘keeper, the defenders failed to clear the ball which fell right onto Messi’s foot, and the Argentinean blasted the ball past everyone into the back of the net, from close range. Barcelona are now 3rd in the table, behind leaders Real Madrid and Villarreal.
Red hot Real Madrid rips Racing apart
Los Blancos have truly shed their early season jitters where they had struggled to score, after blazing past a hapless Racing Santander side on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real scored six times again in front of the Bernabeu crowd who were singing and praising their heroes for the whole ninety minutes. Higuain opened the account after latching onto a wonderful long ball from Di Maria before finishing it off coolly past Tono. Soon after that the Ronaldo storm started which swept away everything that came in its way. Higuain raced past the naïve Racing defence to square one for Ronaldo to tap in with ease. The second goal was an exact replica of the first one, a few minutes later. This time Ozil served Ronaldo with the assist for another tap in. It was 3-0 for the Galacticos after only 27 minutes.
The first half closed after Real had stepped down a couple of gears. It wasn’t long before Real added more to their tally. In the 48th minute, Di Maria raced down the right wing and passed it across to Ronaldo who set himself up to score his second Real Madrid hat trick.
Seven minutes later, Di Maria again ran past the visitors’ defence but was fouled in the box by Cisma. Ronaldo stepped up and slotted it coolly past Tono to make it an unforgettable night as he had scored four goals in a single match for the first time in his career. The rout was completed when Ozil was served with a delicious through ball by Xabi Alonso. The German took a delightful touch and calmly scored to make it 6-0 in favor of the Galacticos. The visitors got a consolation goal in the 73rd minute but the game was long over by then. Real Madrid has now scored 22 goals and has conceded just 4 goals in 8 league outings, topping the table with 20 points.
A shock for Valencia
Valencia started La Liga in brilliant fashion but the level of their performances has fallen since the defeat to Barcelona. This week they hosted Mallorca at the Mestella. It was bad luck that hurt Los Che early on in the game. On the 6th minute mark, Mallorca was awarded a non-existing penalty after Webo had tripped himself inside the box. Gonzalo Castro duly converted it and gave the Islanders the lead. The visitors then went two up in the 29th minute against the run of play and after some terrible defending from Valencia. Gonzalo Castro completed his brace and gave Mallorca a comfortable cushion to hold onto for the rest of the game. But, a few minutes later, Roberto Soldado pulled one back for Valencia. Vicente was fouled in the box and Los Che was awarded a penalty.
Soldado stepped up and slotted it home. Gonzalo Castro had a golden opportunity to complete his hat trick but missed from close range in the dying minutes of the first half. The hosts came out all guns blazing in the second half but failed to convert their chances as Mallorca recorded a famous away win. Valencia now drops down to fourth in the table behind champions Barcelona.
Sevilla edge Bilbao in thriller
The game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizuain was a thrilling contest between the Andalusians and the Basques. Sevilla took the lead through out-of-form Luis Fabiano after the Brazilian blasted one past the visitors in the 35th minute. His strike partner Kanoute made it 2-0 for the hosts after converting a penalty in the 45th minute. Sevilla went into the break with a comfortable score-line, but it barely told the story of what was in store for the second half. Fabiano completed his brace in the 62nd minute and made it 3-0 for Sevilla.
Twelve minutes later, Llorente pulled one back for Bilbao to make the score 3-1 in favour of Sevilla. All hell broke loose when he struck again for the visitors three minutes after scoring the first, and the game was set for a grandstand finish. Sevilla were once again awarded a penalty and Kanoute converted it to give an unassailable 4-2 lead to his team. But in the 90th minute mark, Gabilondo headed home the third goal for Bilbao. The visitors had very little time to score a dramatic equalizer in stoppage time as the game ended in a breathless manner, with Sevilla winning it 4-3.
Atletico drown in Yellow sea
Atletico Madrid travelled to Valencia to take on Villarreal in what was a hugely anticipated contest, but the “Yellow Submarine” won the game at El Madrigal comfortably. Cani, who only started because of Borja’s suspension, made it a positive start for the hosts when he raced ahead of the Atletico defence to collect a through pass from Nilmar and scored past a helpless De Gea to make it 1-0 for the hosts. Los Colchoneros tried to get back into the game with Aguero making a surging run but some last ditch defending from Marchena avoided the equaliser.
Ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez brought Aguero down in the 45th minute but instead of awarding a penalty, the referee blew the half-time whistle, leaving the Atletico players furious. It was not late before Villarreal extended their lead. In the 52nd minute, after Cani launched one forward to Rossi, the Italian twisted and turned before smartly firing past De Gea. Nilmar could’ve made it 3-0 for the hosts, if not for a De Gea save. The match ended 2-0 in favor of Villarreal and the club leapfrogged Barcelona to second position behind Real Madrid.
Other match results
Getafe 3-0 Sporting Gijon
Almeria 1-1 Hercules
Osasuna 3-0 Malaga
Espanyol 2-1 Levante
Real Sociedad vs. Deportivo La Coruna (To be played later tonight)