La Liga: Real Madrid and Gonzalo Higuaín complete their centuries
Tom Wellman reflects on Real Madrid's 5-1 win at Osasuna, which saw Gonzalo Higuaín net his 100th goal for the club
100 goals for Madrid in Osasuna rout
Real Madrid hit their 100th league goal of the season as Gonzalo Higuaín’s header – his team’s fifth of the night – saw off Osasuna to maintain their lead at the top of La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuaín both scored twice, while Karim Benzema’s wonder goal sealed a 5-1 win. The French striker met Ronaldo’s cross and directed a sensational volley into the net from the tightest of angles in the seventh minute. This was topped by Ronaldo’s sensational long-range strike 30 minutes later.
Higuaín hits his 100th Madrid goal but could be lured elsewhere
Higuaín may have netted Madrid’s 100th league goal of the campaign, but it was also a personal milestone for the Argentina striker – it was his 100th goal for Los Blancos. However, the 24-year-old continues to be linked with a move away from Spain’s capital, with Manchester City as a possible touted destination. He is behind Benzema and Ronaldo in the pecking order at the club and he could be tempted away from the Bernabeu with the promise of regular first-team football, and the lure of doubling his salary at wealthy Malaga, who have made their interest known. Higuaín’s career could alter significantly this summer and such is his ability, he’s more likely to reach 200 La Liga goals in much quicker time away from Madrid.
Barcelona continue to plug away
Another week goes by and Barcelona’s hopeful prayers for a Madrid slip-up have not been answered but the defending champions are doing everything possible in the meantime to deny Los Blancos – unlike Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City outfit in the Premier League. Barca duo Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi scored in a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao, who showed effects of their 4-2 victory over Schalke just 48 hours earlier in the Europa League, to maintain their title charge. With the number of games left for Pep Guardiola’s side to reel in Madrid’s six-point lead decreasing by the week, the decisive game in the La Liga title race could be the El Clásico at Camp Nou on 22 April.
Levante keep up Champions League aspirations
Levante’s 1-1 draw against a stuttering Valencia side maintains Las Granotas’ bid to qualify for Europe’s premier competition at the expense of their previous opponents. Arouna Kone cancelled out Jonas’ first-half strike to gain a valuable point for Levante and leave the home side bitterly disappointed. This fiercely contested derby was the fourth successive time that Valencia have let a lead slip at home, and they stay third because Málaga suffered a 2-0 defeat by Real Betis on Saturday. The gap between third and fifth is just three points with eight games remaining.
Zaragoza continue to believe
Real Zaragoza continue to surprise in La Liga following another stoppage-time winner which means the club climb closer to safety and extend their impressive recent run. Lowly Sporting Gijon looked to have settled for a point in the crucial relegation battle but Zaragoza pushed for a late winner and Angel Latifa struck in added time. Zaragoza are now four points from safety and they face 16th-placed Granada in a fortnight’s time, which could decide the top-flight status of both teams.