It is getting tighter and tighter at both ends of the table. After another thrilling weekend in Spanish League, the lead at the top has been reduced and the bottom clubs are now even closer. It is becoming increasingly hard to predict as who will drop out from the top division at the end of the season. Real Madrid made no mistake against Hercules, and a brace from Benzema was enough to win the game comfortably. Barcelona, on the other hand, dropped two points at Sevilla in their series of tough away fixtures. The bottom half of the table is witnessing a mighty scramble for survival as all three bottom clubs are tied at 26 points.

Weekend Results:

Almeria 2-2 Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid 2-0 Hercules

Zaragoza 4-0 Valencia

Sevilla 1-1 Barcelona

Espanyol 2-0 Deportivo

Levante 1-1 Mallorca

Osasuna 3-1 Racing Santander

Real Sociedad 0-2 Malaga

Villarreal 1-1 Sporting Gijon

Game of the week:

Sevilla 1-1 FC Barcelona

Before the match, Pep remarked that he was up against the Copa Del Ray Champions. He was not wrong as Sevilla and Barcelona produced one thrilling match at the Sánchez Pizjuán. Barcelona began in their usual style, looking to take control of the match and Messi scored off a free-kick. The goal was disallowed for some reason only the referee can explain. Barca continued to probe and eventually Dani Alves was released, who squared the ball for Bojan to tap it in. First half ended with a heart stopping moment for Barcelona as Messi stayed down following a challenge with the goal keeper. Messi against everyone’s calculation came back for the second half and the services were resumed as usual.

The second half however brought out a different Sevilla as Kanoute who came as a substitute had an immediate effect on the match. He was at the heart of the move that produced the equaliser when Navas put the ball into the back of the net. It was a crazy game in all aspects – disallowed goals, superb goal keeping, desperate defending, goal line clearances, rattling the woodwork and some slick passing moves. A game so intense that it was a treat for the neutrals.

Player of the week

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Benzema – no more a pushover

With Ronaldo out injured, Real Madrid was looking upto Benzema for providing the goals. And, he did not disappointed. A player, who was almost written off at the start of this year, is slowly beginning to earn respect at Real Madrid. He is not very athletic or explosively forceful, but he is a graceful force in and around the 18 yard box. With Ozil continuously providing killer balls, Benzema has prospered with goals. Against Hercules, he was at his best; with his movement and finishing, he helped Madrid register an important win and close the gap at the top. The Frenchman has now scored nine goals in his last six matches.

Goal of the week:

Diego Castro (Sporting Gijon)

It’s neither a fancy 30-yard drive, nor a run from half-line, beating 5 defenders, but it was a goal that is so important for Sporting Gijon’s season. Castro took the penalty in the 92nd minute against Villarreal and beat Lopez with a cool chip down the centre as the keeper dived too soon. Gijon were down to nine men by the time he took the kick and were just one point above the drop zone. His shot might not have saved his team from going down at the end of the season, but it surely must have given them the belief to stay up.

Upset of the week:

Real Sociedad 0-2 Malaga

Pellegrini was the subject of Spanish Press’ jokes last week with his open admission about throwing the game against Real Madrid. He was aiming for a win against Osasuna that never came. But a win this week game against Sociedad was the least expected of his side. Sociedad were flying high and were fighting for the European places with Espanyol and Villarreal. Sociedad, as expected, dominated the game early on as they looked to close the match. But a mistake from their keeper Bravo cost them dearly as Duda’s freekick missed everyone and went into the net. Sociedad were better of the two sides and were threatening to equalize; however, Malaga scored against the run of play to double their lead. They may not have deserved the victory, but this was the lucky break they were looking for to start a revival.

Team of the week:

Casillas, Alves, Jarosik, Nunes, Navarro, Medel, Barral, Iniesta, Kanoute, Aguero, Benzema

Primera División table

  1. Barcelona – 75 points
  2. Real Madrid – 70 points
  3. Valencia – 54 points
  4. Villarreal – 51 points
  5. Espanyol – 43 points

Race for the Pichichi

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 27
  • Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) – 27
  • David Villa (FC Barcelona) – 17
  • Fernando Llorente (Athletic Club) – 15
  • Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal) – 15