Sunday, October 21, 2018

Messi saves struggling Barca – La Liga Round-Up Week 23

Gill Clark in Editorial, La Liga 21 Feb 2017


Lionel Messi not happy after late Leganes win. Image via Getty

It’s as you were in La Liga with the top four all winning and not a single draw to be seen in Spain’s top flight. Leaders Real Madrid remain a point clear of a clearly troubled Barcelona and will stretch their lead at the top to four on Wednesday, if they beat Valencia.

Struggling Barca leave it late

The title race is alive but only just, with Barcelona still looking dazed and confused after their Champions League drubbing by PSG. Lionel Messi opened the scoring after just four minutes and a rout looked on the cards. Only it didn’t happen and for the second match in a row goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen was their best player. He was finally beaten on 71 minutes by Unai Lopez and the visitors looked set for a deserved point. However, Neymar won a penalty in stoppage time which Messi duly thumped home. There was no celebration from the Argentine and the Camp Nou’s whistles made it clear what the supporters thought of it all. Barca need to improve and quickly, they are at the Calderon next weekend to face Atletico Madrid and are 5/4 to beat Diego Simeone’s side.

Brilliant Bale scores on return

He’d been out of action for three months, only took to the pitch on 71 minutes, but 13 minutes later Gareth Bale was back in business for los Blancos sealing a 2-0 win over Espanyol. Alvaro Morata had opened the scoring at the Bernabeu before making way for Bale. The Welshman’s impact was impressive, charging from his own half before latching onto Isco’s fine pass and slotting home. That’s his 23rd goal in his last 28 Liga games and he admitted after the game he’s still some weeks away from full fitness. Ominous.

Gameiro hits five-minute hat-trick for Atletico

A quite mad game in Gijon saw Atletico strengthen their grip on fourth but it wasn’t quite as convincing as the 4-1 scoreline might suggest.  After a goalless first half Yannick Carraso took just 11 seconds to open the scoring after the break but the hosts were level within three minutes. Enter Kevin Gameiro who scored what looked like the winner on 80 minutes before adding two more for good measure.

Jovetic shines against for Sevilla

Sevilla remain just two points behind Barcelona with a 2-0 win over Eibar. January signing Stevan Jovetic once again proved key for Jorge Sampaoli’s side setting up the first for Pablo Sarabia and the second for Vitolo. Another brilliant Sevilla signing, he now has more assists for the Liga side, in six league games, than he managed in 31 for Inter.

Sociedad see fourth place slipping away

Real Sociedad’s hopes of a fourth place finish took a hit with a 1-0 defeat to Villarreal that leaves them four points behind Atletico. In a game of sixth against fifth it was a tight contest decided in the 90th minute by Samu Castillejo who converted Jaume Costa’s cross to snatch the three points.

Zaza opens account for Valencia

Simone Zaza scored his first goal of the season as Valencia picked up a much-needed win against Athletic Bilbao. Nani opened the scoring before Zaza made the game safe right on half-time, the fifth Italian to score for Valencia this century.

Still no win for Deportivo

Seven games played by Deportivo in 2017 and still no win for Gaizka Garitano’s side who went down 1-0 to Alaves. Manu Garcia won a penalty after a foul from Raul Albentosa before picking himself up and slotting home the spot-kick for the only goal of the game.

Osasuna hopes fade

Celta cruised past bottom side Osasuna who are now eight points from safety and heading for a swift return to La Liga 2. Pione Sisto opened the scoring, Jozabed made it two before Iago Aspas got in on the act. The former Liverpool man has 12 goals in La Liga this season, only Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi have more.

Pereira steals show for Granada

Manchester United loanee Andreas Pereira had a game to remember as Granada gave their survival hopes a boost with a 4-1 win over Real Betis. Pereira scored one and set up another before being harshly sent off as Granada picked up only their third win of the season. He has three goals in his last four for the basement battlers but now faces a suspension.

Malaga come from behind yet again

The final game of the weekend saw Malaga come from behind to beat Las Palmas 2-1. Mauricio Lemos opened the scoring from a free kick but goals from Pablo Fornals and Charles came the hosts victory. Malaga are now the La Liga side who have won the most points after going from behind this season.

All La Liga results week 23

Granada 4-1 Real Betis
Sporting Gijon 1-4 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol
Deportivo La Coruna 0-1 Alaves
Sevilla 2-0 Eibar
Real Sociedad 0-1 Villarreal
Valencia 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Celta Vigo 3-0 Osasuna
Barcelona 2-1 Leganes
Malaga 2-1 Las Palmas


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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