Barcelona conceded four goals but won, Espanyol won a football match, Falcao and Messi shined and we still had loads of goals and red cards.
Malaga 2-1 Valladolid
Malaga hosted Valladolid in the first game of the weekend. Malaga were unbeaten in their first six games but lost the last match before the break so they were looking to get back to their old ways. It didn’t start too well and after nine minutes Valladolid were 1-0 up, courtesy of former Manchester United man, Manucho.
Malaga were level just seven minutes before the break with a lovely goal from their main man so far this season, little Isco. With just ten minutes remaining in the game Manucho was sent for an early bath after receiving his second booking of the game.
Then, on the 85th minute, Javier Saviola drew a foul in the penalty area. Joaquín, who has been excellent recently, missed the spot kick. It didn’t matter and within just two minutes he made up for his earlier mistake by putting his side 2-1 up and with his fourth goal of the season he gave Malaga yet another three points.
Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo
The reigning champions were next up and they needed all three points at home to Celta Vigo. The only problem was they had next to no defenders. Ramos played at right back with Michael Essien filling in at left back, Varane and Pepe played the centre back roles and they did so to good effect. Not only did the makeshift Real keep a clean sheet but they fired two past a Celta side who just love conceding away.
The first goal came through a lovely goal from Higuian from the left flank, which looped over the keeper and gave Madrid the lead. The second goal came from none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, his ninth in the league so far this season.
Mourinho’s men weren’t excellent, in fact they weren’t even great. It was the sort of game where people will look back and think “champions win’” - not a good performance but still managed the three points.
Valencia 3-2 Athletic Bilbao
In between Real Madrid’s game at 5pm and Barcelona’s late kick-off was the battle between Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. Knowing how these two had performed so far this season, anything could have happened.
What did happen was everyone who watched it got to enjoy the second best game of the weekend. It started off well for Bielsa’s men as they went 1-0 up through ex-Valencia striker Aduriz (no celebration from him out of respect). Just six minutes later it was a penalty for Valencia after Viera smashed the ball against Borja Ekiza’s hand. Soldado neatly put the ball past Iraizoz.
Moments later, it was Aduriz who popped up again to make it 2-1 going into the break.
In the 67th minute there was more drama. Ander Herrera was sent off for a kick out at Tino Costa, but there wasn’t any red card for the push from Rami on Herrera just seconds after the kick out, the ref got that one wrong.
From that moment it looked like Valencia were going to draw back level, a matter of when rather than if. The substitutes made by Bielsa didn’t work, whereas the ones made by Pellegrino did. Minutes before the final whistle Tino Costa smashed home the equalizer after the keeper made a good save.
The game then didn’t look over, not even with just minutes left, Valencia wanted more, they wanted the win and it was the win they got. A free-kick into the box on the 90 minute mark saw Nelson Valdez rise with a spectacular leap and cushioned header to secure all three points for Los Che.
Deportivo la Coruna 4-5 Barcelona
You may have noticed that the Valencia v Athletic game was the second best game of the weekend. The reason being - we saw the game of not only the weekend but the game of the season at Estadio Riazor.
It was an incredible game in La Coruna and the goalmouth action started within 180 seconds. Cesc Fabregas found Jordi Alba with a lovely through ball and he placed itpast Aranzubia. It didn’t take long for Barcelona to put the next two past Depor - Tello struck on the eighth minute followed by the first of the night from Lionel Messi inside the first 18 minutes.
Deportivo were handed lifeline just minutes later when Riki was awarded a penalty, up stepped young Pizzi to convert the spot kick.
Ten minutes later and Álex Bergantiños had everyone on the edge of their seats as he smashed one past Valdez who didn’t have the best of times with it, now the score read 2-3, surely not?
Well it didn’t look likely when Messi scored his second of the night to put Barcelona 2-4 up, but moments later Deportivo got up the other end and Pizzi again with yet another goal.
Then another twist in the game, Javier Mascherano was shown a second yellow card when he elbowed Riki in the face and Deportivo now had time to play against ten. Subs were made by Vilanova to shore up the midfield and also make a centre back pairing of Song and Adriano.
The game started to die down a little, Barcelona with the ‘pass, pass and more passing’ tactic and suffocating the midfield. Eventually it was them who broke through and Messi making a lovely solo run blasted one home for his 21st career hat-trick and to put the points beyond Depor.
There was a little scare for Barca ten minutes from time when Jordi Alba scored a wonderful own goal to make it 4-5, but Barcelona held for the three points in the game of the season so far.
Getafe 0-1 Levante
Sunday’s La Liga action got underway with Getafe hosting Levante. It was the hosts who throughout had chance after chance, with a total of 18 shots, six of those shots on target, but they just could not find a way past the Levante number one Gustavo Munúa.
In the end Levante, who had ‘few’ chances in the match, were the ones who scored the only goal with just three minutes remaining. Michel, who was introduced to the game just 15 minutes prior, struck a lovely shot from the edge of the area to give Levante all three points in a game Getafe will be disappointed to have got nothing from.
Espanyol 3-2 Rayo Vallecano
Espanyol had played seven games up until this point without a win - two draws and five defeats. They needed the three points here but it didn’t start well. Rayo Vallecano took the lead within 11 minutes through Brazilian forward Leo.
The lead lasted around 25 minutes when Verdu brought the sides level going into half time. The second half stated as the first ended, with Verdu scoring and Espanyol were now just 40 minutes away from their first win of the season - until Leo struck again, in the 63 minute.
Mikel Labaka was shown a straight red card for the away side, so against tne men and with just twenty minutes to go, Espanyol has the platform to go for the win. However a clumsy error from Diego Colotto earned him his marching orders and levelled the player numbers with just nine minutes left.
A point apiece looked likely until Christian Stuani, a 76th minute substitute, put Espanyol ahead for their first win of the season.
Granada 1-2 Real Zaragoza
The next game had another red card in it - isn’t that just what happens in La Liga now?
In the third minute Helder Postiga climbed above everyone to get on to the in-swinging cross from Víctor Rodríguez and open the scoring in the match.
We didn’t have to wait long for the second and it was provider-turned-scorer in this instance, Víctor Rodríguez got one himself. It stood at 2-0 to the away side at the half time break.
In the second half Granada were the ones everyone spoke about and when Iriney was given his marching orders after receiving a straight red card it seemed like they were down and out until Youssef El-Arabi gave the home side a chance. He met Fabián Orellana’s ball with his head in the middle of the box and scored what in the end was just a consolation goal for Granada. The result helped Real Zaragoza climb above Granada in the table.
Osasuna 0-0 Real Betis
Osasuna were held at home by Real Betis in a game that had a goal ruled off for offside when it looked like Ruben Castro shouldn’t have been flagged. The game was no classic, in fact there were just four shots on target through-out from both teams.
Real Sociedad 0-1 Atletico Madrid
The curtain closer of La Liga’s Sunday action was on a wet and cold night in San Sebastián. It was almost off to a screamer for the home side as within just the first two minutes Antoine Griezmann raced forward and smacked one from the edge of the area that Courtois was equal to.
Just before the break, Real Sociedad’s players were demanding a spot kick from the ref as the ball appeared to strike Gabi’s arm. The second half continued how the first finished - a fiery game but still goalless.
Both teams attacked and defended reasonably well right until the 90th minute. Cristian ‘The Onion’ Rodríguez was brought down just outside the area, and the sensational Radamel Falcao smashed home the free-kick to keep Atleti level on points with Barcelona, second on goal difference. It was Real Sociedad’s first defeat in nine games at home.
Sevilla 3-2 Mallorca
Monday's game was the match for the week that was broadcast online. Sevilla hosted Mallorca, who started with Giovanni Dos Santos as did on-loan Barcelona man Andreu Fontas.
Sevilla held most of the ball and the had more shots on target in the first half but their plan came unstuck in the 26th minute when Pedro Bigas struck one from the edge of the area. Just three minutes later it was Sevilla's turn, Negredo this time with the finish.
We weren't done in this four minutes of craziness and a minute later Giovani dos Santos assisted for Tomer Hemed, who struck the ball into the net from inside the area. Two shots for Mallorca, two on target and two goals.
In the second half Sevilla needed a goal and needed to get back into the game as soon as possible. On the 56th minute that's exactly what happened. Alvaro Negredo scored his second and Sevilla's second of the night.
They were now the team in control and they wanted the third goal. On the seventy-fourth minute that's exactly what they got. Cicinho, the Sevilla right back who earlier had set up Negredo's goal, this time turned goalscorer, smashing one in from outside the area to make it 3-2 Sevilla.
The three points helped move Sevilla up to fifth in the table, Mallorca stay eighth.
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