La Liga: Mourinho’s Real Madrid top after Malaga rout
An unfortunate Jordi Codina own-goal forced by a rebounding Simao free-kick and a close range Diego Costa finish helped Atletico Madrid canter to a 2-0 win over Getafe in Saturday’s derby.
Atletico did not hit top gear and Getafe were very lacklustre in attack so it did not make for a fantastic spectacle at the Vicente Calderon but at least the best team won.
Barcelona‘s clash with Valencia at the Camp Nou provided plenty of excitment as the Catalans re-established their championship credentials by coming from a goal down to beat Unai Emery’s men 2-1.
Valencia should have killed the game during a dominant first half display in which Pablo Hernandez scored the only goal but chances were wasted and Xavi masterminded Barca’s victory as he provided assists for Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol to turn the game on its head.
Real Madrid were unplayable at the Rosaleda as they crushed Malaga 4-1 thanks to doubles from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain. Kris pulled one back for Los Boquerones but they were unable to keep up with the likes of Ronaldo, Higuain, Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria, who are firing on all cylinders at the moment. This win puts Jose Mourinho’s side top of the league, a position they will maintain if Villarreal fail to beat Hercules on Monday.
Diego Alves’ acrobatics prevented Almeria from falling to a much heavier defeat at the Sardinero on Sunday but, as it was, Racing Santander triumphed 1-0 courtesy of a first half Pedro Munitis goal. It was the former Real Madrid veteran’s first goal in La Liga since April 2009 and it was much needed by Miguel Angel Portugal considering Markus Rosenberg missed a hatful of chances for the Cantabrians.
The two most inept attacking sides in the division clashed at the Riazor this weekend and it should come as no surprise that Deportivo La Coruna and Osasuna played out a 0-0 draw. Goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez, once of Manchester United, deserves a lot of credit for keeping a clean sheet as he blocked numerous Depor chances. A point was enough to lift the Galicians off the bottom of the table but Miguel Angel Lotina will not get carried away as three goals in seven games makes seriously grim reading.
Levante came out on top in the battle of the promoted clubs at the Ciutat de Valencia, vanquishing Real Sociedad 2-1 to record their second win of the season. Luis Garcia Plaza’s side deserved their win, which came thanks to goals from loanees Asier del Horno and Felipe Caicedo. Jeffrey Sarpong came off the bench to reduce the deficit for the Basques but Martin Lesarte’s team were generally disappointing.
Espanyol seiged the ramparts at “fortress” Ono Estadi to become the first team to inflict defeat on Real Mallorca in Palma in 2010-11. A Luis Garcia penalty in the first half was enough to give Mauricio Pochettino’s men a 1-0 win even though the Catalans played for nearly an hour at a numerical disadvantage owing to Pablo Osvaldo’s sending off. Michael Laudrup made several changes in defence for this match and he must bear the brunt of the criticism after this poor display.
Athletic Bilbao nudged Real Zaragoza down to the bottom of the table with a 2-1 victory over the Aragonese club at San Mames. Andoni Iraola and in-form striker Fernando Llorente got the goals on a pleasing night for the Basque outfit. Jose Aurelio Gay’s team were never competitive and Braulio’s consolation goal for the visitors came deep into second half stoppage time.
Sporting de Gijon pulled off the shock of the weekend by gunning down Sevilla 2-0 at El Molinon with two brilliant goals by Gaston Sangoy and Diego Castro at the beginning of the first and second halves respectively. It was a first taste of defeat for Gregorio Manzano in Sevilla colours. His team were insipid in the final third with Luis Fabiano almost unrecognisable from the man who led Brazil in South Africa; unless his confidence is restored, Fabiano’s days at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan will be numbered.