La Liga wrap: Ronaldo own goal condemns Madrid to Granada loss
La Liga wrap: Real Madrid fell further behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid after a loss at Granada on Saturday, writes Tom Wellman
A result Madrid could ill afford as Granada claim shock victory
Cristiano Ronaldo scored an own goal as Real Madrid succumbed to a shock 1-0 defeat by Granada on Saturday to condemn Los Blancos to their fifth league loss of the season. Ronaldo headed a corner into his own net midway through the first half, proving he’s so lethal that at times he is a threat to his own goalkeeper. Karim Benzema wasted a golden chance to salvage a draw at the death as Madrid failed to break down a stubborn Granada defence- a common problem this season. The result leaves Madrid seven points adrift of Atletico Madrid in second, but worryingly the same margin ahead of Malaga in fourth. An admirable performance from Granada gave them their second win in three games and has provided a small gap top open up between themselves and the bottom three.
Tired Barcelona drop points against resurgent Valencia
Tito Vilanova’s Barcelona have performed under par in the last few weeks partly due to the intense schedule of games coming their way. The midweek El Clásico sapped their energy reserves – and it showed against Valencia on Sunday as they could only muster two shots on goal in the entire match. Inevitably, it was Lionel Messi who scored Barça’s only goal in the 1-1 draw, scoring for the 12th game in a row, from the penalty spot. This came five minutes after Valencia had taken the lead thanks to Ever Banega’s strike. In truth Valencia looked good value to take all three points as they were sharper and livelier than the league leaders. Ernesto Valverde learned plenty from the harrowing 5-0 loss to Real Madrid a few weeks ago, and it was evident in the promising display as Valencia begin to look like the side who finished third last season.
Atletico capitalise on rival’s shortcomings at fortress Calderon
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid kept up their 100 per cent home record with another win and another clean sheet at the Vicente Calderón. The 1-0 win over Betis was their 20th consecutive home win in all competitions and their seventh consecutive home clean sheet. With Barcelona and Madrid failing to claim all three points in their respective encounters, Atletico’s win was a vital result. Diego Costa scored on the hour mark in the win which closes the gap on Barcelona to nine points. On the back of last week’s humiliation in Bilbao, it was the ideal response for Simeone but the away form will continue to play on the Argentine’s mind.
Osasuna leapfrog Celta in relegation six pointer
Emiliano Armenteros scored the only goal as Osasuna grabbed a vital win which pushes them above opponents Celta Vigo and out of the relegation zone. Like Granada, Osasuna picked up their second win in three games to put distance between themselves and the bottom two teams, Mallorca and Deportivo, who are drifting further away from safety. Sadly for Celta, who have won just one of their last nine, this meant that they dropped below the dotted line into 18th. Osasuna wanted the win more than Celta, who were relatively happy for a draw, as Armenteros hit the woodwork in the first half before beating Javi Varas to score in the second half. Celta improved later into the game but it was too late for them to mount a comeback.
Getafe end winless streak with home victory over Deportivo
Having not won in eight games, Getafe ended their woeful run with a home victory over Deportivo La Coruna. However, it looked unpromising early on as Getafe saw keeper Miguel Angel Moyá sent off after just 12 minutes, conceding a penalty in the process. Pizzi converted the spot-kick but Getafe fought back soon after as Diego Castro slotted home another penalty after Ze Castro had fouled Abdel Barrada. A busy evening for the referee continued as he produced another red, this time to Abel Aguillar – his second bookable offence. n total, the referee produced 10 yellows and two reds but the ill-discipline failed to deter Getafe from a much-needed win. Álvaro Vázquez and Adrián Colunga netted to secure three points in the final 10 minutes to finish off an entertaining encounter.