Match day 18 of the La Liga was normal business for the league leaders FC Barcelona and their arch-rivals Real Madrid. The duo bagged 4 goals a piece. Barcelona won their fixture comprehensively, brushing aside Deportivo. The Blaugranas now have 49 points in 18 games and a goal difference of 47. Yes, its 47 with only half the season played. Valencia managed to scrape through 1-0 against Levante thanks to the heroics of Juan Mata, who missed a penalty before scoring the winning goal in the 83rd minute. Sevilla and Real Sociedad produced delightful performances as the Rojiblancos came back twice from behind, thanks to the heroics of Kanoute and registered a 2-3 victory.Espanyol too registered a 4-0 victory against Real Zaragoza.
Player of the week: Cristiano Ronaldo
It has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid started in the worst possible way against Villarreal but Ronaldo’s brace kept the Los Blancos in the hunt at the end of the first half. In the second half, Ronaldo bamboozled the Villarreal defense before unleashing a terrific finish on the turn, much to the delight of the Madridistas. He didn’t seem to stop there as he produced an exquisite pass to Kaka, who did what he does best. Three goals and an assist – there cannot be a better performance.
Lionel Messi and Kanoute were terrific too but considering the predicament in which Los Merengues were at the end of the first half, Cristiano is undoubtedly the Player of the week.
Match of the week: Real Madrid vs Villarreal
Usually the clashes between the No.2 and the No.3 teams are quite thrilling. Real Madrid v Villarreal was no exception. Jose Mourinho had this impeccable home record, however, Villarreal clearly had other ideas as they stunned the Bernabeu with a goal in the 7th minute. Real Madrid responded quickly with Benzema, Ozil and Ronaldo combining beautifully to score the equalizer. Marco Ruben then again put Villarreal ahead and the visitors threatened to run away with the match before Ronaldo brought parity at the stroke of half time. The second half was a total Real Madrid-show with the Los Blancos galloping past Villarreal. The match also evoked emotions as Villarreal’s coach was sent away from the touch line. Jose Mourinho supposedly celebrated to provoke the Villarreal bench, which ended in Cani’s throwing of a bottle at the Special One. An eventful and entertaining match.
Goal of the week: Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo’s third goal was never meant to be. The goalkeeper spilled the ball and it started rolling and 3 defenders closing on it. All this while, Ronaldo was lying on the ground. In a moment, Ronaldo sprung, charged the ball, turned and unleashed a terrific shot to complete this hat trick and put Real Madrid ahead.
Messi’s stunning freekick against Deportivo came a close second.
Assist of the week: Lionel Messi
Messi produced a moment of magic as he put a superb through ball to David Villa who tranquilly slotted home the ball or Barcelona’s first goal. Messi was not done yet. The diminutive Argentine produced a breathtaking run to give away the ball to Pedro for him to tap it home and round it off with 4 goals for the Blaugrana.
Flop of the week: Lassana Diarra
Lassana Diarra started in the central midfield for Real Madrid and virtually did nothing in the first half. His poor play led Villarreal to dominate the midfield and Mourinho decided it was enough when he replaced Diarra with Khedira who bossed around and provided solidity, solidarity and of course support to Xabi Alonso.
The Race for the Pichichi:
Cristiano Ronaldo – 23
Lionel Messi – 18
David Villa –12
Nilmar – 10
Team of the week:
The Team of the Week comprises of top performers from all the teams who have played over the weekend. The following players picked themselves with their superb performances.
Ricardo, Caceres, Abidal, Carvalho, Marcelo, Khedira, Navas, Ronaldo, Messi, Kanoute, Mata.
Malaga 1 -1 Athletic Bilbao
Real Sociedad 2 – 3 Sevilla
Deportivo 0- 4 Barcelona
Racing 1-1 Sporting de Gijon
Mallorca 4 -1 Almeria
Espanyol 4 -0 Zaragoza
Osasuna 0 -0 Getafe
Real Madrid 4-2 Villarreal
Levante 0-1 Valencia
*Hercules – Atletico Madrid
*Yet to be played