La Liga wrap: Mourinho’s Real Madrid beat Vallecano – eventually
Real Madrid were 2-0 winners against Vallecano on Monday night in a dramatic weekend in La Liga, writes Tom Wellman
Real Madrid ease past Vallecano – eventually!
Like their football team, the Madrid suburb of Vallecas is renowned for its rough and ready approach and champions Real Madrid were not exempt from this treatment. Prior to Sunday’s evening kick-off, vandals cut the electric wires leading to Rayo Vallecano’s floodlights which resulted in a postponement of the match. Rayo’s President branded it “an act of footballing terrorism”, while those at Real were similarly unimpressed by the prank. Undeterred, the two teams returned the following day and played out a routine 2-0 win for Jose Mourinho’s side. Signs of dressing room disagreements were non-existent as the midweek Champions League win seemed to go some way to repairing previously broken bonds. Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the win but Mourinho continued to press for further improvement in the next game.
Xavi wonder-strike seals late Barça win
A fifth league win in succession ensured Barcelona’s 100 per cent La Liga record remained intact but opponents Granada made them work hard for their 2-0 victory at Camp Nou on Saturday. Xavi’s sensational finish sealed the points after 87 frustrating minutes before a Borja Gómez own goal gave the scoreline a more polished look. Controlling the ball on the edge of the area, substitute Xavi struck the ball with the outside of his boot as Granada goalkeeper Tono, who had played exceedingly well throughout, watched the ball crash off the bar and over the line. Players and fans had expected a routine win but had not counted on a spirited display by minnows Granada. Tempers boiled just before half-time as Lionel Messi berated David Villa for not passing sooner but, according to the Spanish media, the pair made up at the final whistle.
Mallorca go second after Valencia win
Mallorca’s hot streak continued at the expense of Champions League contenders Valencia, who endured a forgettable week. A 2-0 win for Mallorca, courtesy of Victor and Javier Arizmendi goals fired them up to second ahead of Málaga as Valencia struggle in mid-table. Mallorca are now unbeaten in their five league matches this season and are looking to secure European football after narrowly missing out last season. Valencia, who lost to Bayern Munich in midweek, will have to improve on their display at the Iberostar Stadium if they hope to qualify for the Champions League for another year.
Premier League flops score winners for Levante and Celta
Ex-Internazionale, Birmingham and Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins scored a late winner on his debut for his new club Levante, while Arsenal loanee Park Chu-Young secured a vital victory for Celta Vigo against Real Sociedad. Martins, who scored 28 goals in 92 Premier League games and had two efforts previously disallowed in the game, poached an 86th-minute goal in Levante’s 2-1 home victory in what was a great week for the Valencian side, who enjoyed Europa League success on Thursday night. South Korean Park also endured a dreadful Premier League experience with the Gunners last season but scored from a Michael Krohn-Dehli cross in their 2-1 win. If Park impresses in Spain then he could emulate former Arsenal loanee Carlos Vela by making his move permanent.
Fifth consecutive win for Atletico pushes them up to fourth
Atletico Madrid made it five wins in a row in all competitions with a 2-1 win over Real Valladolid. Diego Godin and Radamel Falcao put Madrid 2-0 up at half-time before Bueno squeezed in a consolation goal. Madrid almost allowed Rayo Vallecano to grab an unlikely win last week in a second-half capitulation and Valladolid threatened to do the same on Sunday. Defender Godin found himself in a good position to chip in Atletico’s first and a Falcao penalty made it 2-0 at the break. Valladolid came out fighting however and grabbed a goal on 55 minutes. Bueno’s tame shot crept in after Thibault Courtois fumbled at his near post. Lolo then felt aggrieved after an ugly challenge in the area went unpunished by the referee. Madrid hung on for the second week running but an adductor muscle injury sustained by Falcao remains a worry for Diego Simeone.