Sunday, July 23, 2017

Magical Messi reignites title race – La Liga Round-up Week 33

Gill Clark in Editorial, La Liga 25 Apr 2017

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The best football player ever / Image via BBC

There’s no other place to start this week’s review than at the Bernabeu where Lionel Messi once again proved beyond doubt he is the greatest footballer on the entire planet. He scored twice, making him El Clasico’s top all-time goalscorer, as well as netting his 500th Barca goal. His 92nd minute winner was the stuff of legend though, ensuring the title race is well and truly back on.

Messi hits 500 as Barca move top

It’s all change again at the top as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-2 at the Bernabeu to move level on points with los Blancos, although they have played a game more.

These two played out yet another brilliant El Clasico, despite Neymar being absent after Barca’s late appeals to overturn his ban failed. No matter, Messi lit up the show once again, despite the hosts’ best efforts to stop him, tormenting Madrid on their own turf.

An elbow from Marcelo left him bleeding early on while Casemiro picked up an early booking for another robust challenge on the Argentine. But stop him they simply couldn’t, Messi grabbing a magical equaliser after Casemiro had opened the scoring.

Ivan Rakitic curled home a brilliant second which looked to have sealed the win particularly with Madrid then reduced to 10 after Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red after a wild lunge on, yep you’ve guessed it, Messi.

Madrid kept going though, substitute James Rodriguez grabbing a late equaliser that left Barca dejected.

But Messi was having none of it, bending a shot just inside the post with the last kick of the game to snatch all points and keep Barca’s titles hopes, they are now 13/8 to win La Liga, very much still alive. Simply brilliant.

Griezmann hits 100 for Atletico

Another game, another goal for Antoine Griezmann who keeps Atletico in third place with a narrow 1-0 win at Espanyol.

The France international grabbed his 100th La Liga goal with 17 minutes to go to ensure Diego Simeone’s side are now 11 games without defeat. Griezmann now joins Karim Benzema the only two Frenchman to have scored a century of goals in La Liga.

Sevilla see off Tony Adams’ Granada

Sevilla remain three points behind Atletico after a 2-0 win over Granada that means it is now two defeats from two for new boss Tony Adams.

Brazilian midfielder Ganso was the hero for Jorge Sampaoli’s side, scoring in each half, as Sevilla tightened their grip on a Champions League spot.

Sociedad keep European hopes alives

Real Sociedad kept their first clean sheet in nine Liga games with a 1-0 win over Deportivo. Willian Jose was the match-winner heading home his 11th La Liga goal of the season to secure victory in a narrow win. Seven of his goals this season have been headers, no player in La Liga has more.

Celta beaten by Betis

Betis boss Victor Sanchez del Amo has never lost against Celta and continued that record against a side resting several key players after their Europa League exploits. A diving header from Darko Brasanac was enough to give Betis their second Liga win in a row.

Controversy at Las Palmas

There was controversy at Las Palmas after the hosts were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves. Kevin-Prince Boateng gave Las Palmas the lead with his 10th Liga goal of the season but Ibai Gomez’s equaliser was allowed to stand despite a clearly offside Deyverson obstructing goalkeeper Raul Lizoain. There was further misery for the hosts late on as Marko Livaja was sent off for a poor challenge on Marcos Llorente.

Bakambu grabs controversial win for Villarreal

There was more controversy at Villarreal as Cedric Bakambu scored a stoppage time winner, with what looked like his hand in a 2-1 win over Leganes.

Bakambu had opened the scoring but struggling Leganes thought they’d grabbed a point when Miguel Angel Guerrero equalised in the 90th minute.

However, Bakambu then turned Jonathan dos Santos’s cross home with what looked like a hand, leaving the visitors furious and just four points above the bottom three with five games left to play.

Osasuna denied by Sporting

Bottom side Osasuna were denied a rare win after letting slip a 2-0 lead against Sporting Gijon. A Jorge Mere own goal and a strike by Kenan had the hosts in command on 72 minutes before Sporting hit back.

Canella halved the deficit 10 minutes with to go before Carlos Castro snatched a point after a brilliant backheel from Duje Cop. The hosts still with just one home win all season.

Wins for Malaga & Athletic

Malaga put an end to Valencia’s recent good run with a 2-0 win thanks to first-half goals from Recio and Sandro Ramirez for their third win in their last four games. Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao and Eibar wrapped up the matchweek with Athletic winning 1-0 on Monday night. The hosts were reduced to 10 just before the hour after Gonzalo Escalante saw red but Athletic had to wait until the 94th minute to take advantage with Raul Garcia snatched all three points.

La Liga results in full

Sevilla 2-0 Granada

Malaga 2-0 Valencia

Osasuna 2-2 Sporting

Real Sociedad 1-0 Deportivo

Las Palmas 1-1 Alaves

Villarreal 2-1 Leganes

Espanyol 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Betis

Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona

Eibar 0-1 Athletic Bilbao

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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