Sunday, May 28, 2017

Barcelona & Real Madrid keep pace at top – La Liga Round-up Week 36

Gill Clark in Editorial, La Liga 9 May 2017

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James & Morata keep Madrid on course / Image via Express

The end of the season is in sight in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid locked on 84 points at the top of the table, although Zinedine Zidane’s men still crucially have that one game in hand.

Barcelona brush off Villarreal

Barcelona welcomed Villarreal to Camp Nou in a game that, on paper at least, looked their toughest fixture of the run-in. Neymar got the hosts off to a great start by prodding home the opener, for his ninth goal in nine games against the Yellow Submarine but the visitors’ in-form Cedric Bakambu levelled matters just after the half hour mark. Time for Lionel Messi then, and he duly obliged with his 50th and 51st goals of the season to make it 3-1, before Luis Suarez got in on the act too. Barca’s MSN have now scored over 100 goals between them for the third season running, but will it be enough to secure the title?

Real Madrid’s ‘B Team’ thrash Granada

Real Madrid responded to Barca’s win in emphatic style, smashing four goals past Granada to make it yet another miserable evening for Tony Adams. Zidane made nine changes for the game, left Cristiano Ronaldo at home, but still saw James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata both score twice. It could have been more too, Lucas Vázquez hit the crossbar while Casemiro somehow missed an open goal. Madrid’s strength in depth is certainly something to behold, James has now been involved in more goals than any other midfielder in La Liga while Morata has 15 La Liga goals from just 13 starts. A massive few weeks now ahead for the club with Madrid currently 5/4 to win both La Liga and the Champions League this season.

Atletico hit back at Eibar

Atletico may have suffered a crushing defeat to their neighbours in the Champions League in midweek but they responded with a 1-0 win over Eibar. Saul Niguez was the match-winner for the hosts firing home the only goal of the game with 20 minutes to go, Atletico’s 100th of the season in all competitions although the win was marred slightly by Diego Godin’s dismissal late on for two yellow cards. Diego Simeone’s men now looked destined to finish third, they are five points clear of Sevilla in fourth with just two games left to play.

Sevilla set for fourth place

Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Sociedad on Friday night but subsequent defeats to Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao mean they are now six points clear in fourth spot with two games left to play. The hosts went in front through Pablo Sarabia but Carlos Vela hit back before Sociedad were reduced to 10 after David Zurutuza was sent off. Jorge Sampaoli went for it by sending on Stevan Jovetic and Vicente Iborra but Sociedad held on for the point.

Athletic’s European hopes hit

Athletic Bilbao couldn’t take advantage of Real Sociedad’s draw after slipping to defeat at Alaves that means they are level on points with their local rivals, and ahead only on goal difference. Theo Hernandez, who is wanted by both Real Madrid and Barcelona this summer, scored the only goal of the game with a great strike – his first in La Liga.

Malaga see off Celta

Beaten by Manchester United in midweek, Celta lost again at the weekend going down 3-0 to Malaga who have now won six of their last seven games. Javier Ontiveros fired in the opener from long range before goals from Recio and Sandro Ramirez completed the scoring. Celta have now lost their last five and head to Old Trafford needing to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit if they are to reach the Europa League final.

Valencia back to winning ways

After three straight defeats Valencia got back to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over already-relegated Osasuna. Ezequiel Garay sent the hosts on their way with two goals before Simone Zaza and Rodrigo Moreno completed the win.

Sporting still have hope

It’s only a glimmer but Sporting are not quite relegated, well not yet, and a win over Las Palmas will have given them hope. Carlos Carmona scored the only goal of the game to leave Sporting five points from safety with games against Eibar and Betis to come.

Deportivo still not quite safe

Deportivo missed the chance to secure safety after going down 2-1 to Espanyol. Goals from Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno put the visitors in charge before Florin Andone grabbed one back. Deportivo went for it in the second half managing 21 efforts and dominating possession but couldn’t grab an equaliser and still have to work to do – they are five points above the drop zone with two games to go.

Leganes almost safe after big win

In the final game of the weekend Leganes moved above Deportivo after a massive 4-0 win over Real Betis. Goals from Alexander Szymanowksi and Nabil El Zhar saw them 2-0 up after just 15 minutes before Gabriel Pires scored the pick of the bunch with a long-range effort. Szymanowksi added a second late on with Leganes moving six points off the drop zone with just two games to go and almost there.

Results in full

Sevilla 1-1 Real Sociedad

Sporting 1-0 Las Palmas

Barcelona 4-1 Villarreal

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Eibar

Granada 0-4 Real Madrid

Alaves 1-0 Athletic Bilbao

Valencia 4-1 Osasuna

Deportivo 1-2 Espanyol

Malaga 3-0 Celta Vigo

Leganes 4-0 Real Betis

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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