Saturday, October 21, 2017

Barca blow title chance again – La Liga Round-up Week 31

Gill Clark in Editorial, La Liga 11 Apr 2017

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Neymar sees red against Malaga. Image via Getty

It was a weekend to forget for Barcelona who looked set to take charge of the title race before imploding at Malaga. Real Madrid, meanwhile, had to settle for a point against Atletico but still managed to extend their lead at the top of La Liga.

Griezmann denies Madrid in derby

Real Madrid were left frustrated at the Bernabeu after being held to a draw by Atletico despite dominating the match. Sergio Ramos, usually the man for the occasion for los Blancos, had a rare off-day and had to rely on his centre-back partner Pepe to open the scoring from a Toni Kroos free kick. The two combined again later on although not in a good way, Pepe crashing into the German and having to depart the field with two cracked ribs, an injury that could rule him out of the rest of the season. Atleti, meanwhile, grimly held on before Antoine Griezmann fired home the equaliser brilliantly late on to highlight exactly why he will be in such huge demand this summer.

Neymar sees red as Barca flop

Having seen Madrid held, Barca took on Malaga knowing a win would move them level on points with los Blancos and put the title within reach. Except, it didn’t exactly work out like that as Luis Enrique’s side slipped to a surprise defeat. Former Barca forward Sandro embarrassed Jeremy Mathieu by racing clear and firing home in the first half before Jony Rodriguez wrapped it up late on. In between the visitors missed several great chances, goalkeeper Carlos Kameni played his usual blinder against Barca, Sergi Roberto was denied a penalty and Neymar was sent off for two yellow cards. It was that kind of game. There could be further misery for Baca too, Neymar expected to face an extra ban for sarcastically applauding the match officials as he departed the pitch which could rule him out of El Clasico. Barca, meanwhile, now 7/2 to win La Liga.

Osasuna pick up first win

It’s taken until April but Osasuna have finally won at home for the first time this season. It looked like business as usual in truth,  Dimitrios Siovas putting the visitors ahead before two Sergio Leon goals gave Osasuna victory. That’s two wins in a row for Petar Vasiljević’s side for the first time in over three years.

Sevilla win thriller

Sevilla finally remembered how to win a game after beating Deportivo in a six-goal thriller as they ended a run of six games without a victory. Jorge Sampaoli’s side got off to a flyer with Stevan Jovetic scoring in the first minute although Gael Kakuta promptly equalised. Pablo Sarabia them restored Sevilla’s lead to make it 2-1 after just nine breathless minutes. However, again Kakuta equalised before Joaquin Correa made it 3-2 in a frantic first half. Sevilla then had to wait until late in the second half before Wissam Ben Yedder finally finished Depor off.

Zaza at the double for Valencia

Simone Zaza scored his first La Liga double since his debut as Valencia made it three wins in a row against Granada. Santi Mina added the third for Valencia, finishing off a 38-pass move as the visitors won 3-1.

Villarreal move clear of Athletic

Villarreal moved four points clear of Athletic Bilbao with a 3-1 win, despite playing the last 16 minutes with 10 men after Victor Ruiz saw red for hacking down Inaki Williams. Ruiz actually put Villarreal in front and although Aymeric Laporte equalised, goals from Cedric Bakambu and Adrian Lopez secured the win.

Piatti wins it for Espanyol

Espanyol returned to winning ways with a narrow 1-0 win over Alaves. Pablo Piatti was once again the inspiration for the hosts scoring the only goal of the game, firing home from close range after David Lopez had touched on Victor Sanchez’s free kick.

Eibar see off Celta

Eibar’s superb season shows no signs of slowing after they beat Celta 2-0. Kike opened the scoring before Pedro Leon grabbed his 10th La Liga goal of the season. However, there was misery for Guiseppe Rossi who picked up yet another serious knee injury. The striker, who scored a hat-trick last time out, was sadly forced off after 35 minutes and, understandably, looked to be in tears.

Betis beaten again

Betis tasted their seventh defeat in their last 10 games after going down 4-2 at Las Palmas. The hosts sprinted into a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Vicente Gomez, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jonathan Viera before Jese grabbed the fourth from the penalty spot. Rafa Navarro then smashed a home a fine goal for Betis but it was too little too late.

Sociedad beat Sporting to go sixth

Real Socieded rounded off the weekend’s action with a 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Monday night. Willian Jose got the hosts off to a great start scoring after three minutes before Juanmi scored his ninth Liga goal of the season just before the half hour mark. Yuri Berchiche them made the game safe after the break despite a late consolation from Elderson Echiéjilé.

La Liga Week 31 Results in Full

Villarreal 3-1 Athletic Bilbao

Espanyol 1-0 Alaves

Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Sevilla 4-2 Deportivo

Malaga 2-0 Barcelona

Granada 1-3 Valencia

Celta 0-2 Eibar

Osasuna 2-1 Leganes

Las Palmas 4-1 Real Betis

Real Sociedad 3-1 Sporting Gijon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gill Clark


Gill is a freelance football writer who has spent many years working for Goal, writing and editing news, previews, match reports, ratings, live blogs and just about anything else she can get her hands on.

She now contributes to a variety of online publications, including Soccernews, predominantly covering the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.

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