La Liga wrap: Cesc Fàbregas nets his first hat-trick as Barcelona win
La Liga wrap: Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fàbregas scored his first hat-trick in a 5-0 victory over Mallorca. Tom Wellman reports
Fàbregas scores his first hat-trick
It was a special Saturday night for many individuals at Barcelona after their rampant 5-0 win over 20th-placed Mallorca. Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova and French full-back Eric Abidal both returned to the Camp Nou touchline after their respective battles with cancer. In the absence of the injured Lionel Messi, Cesc Fàbregas took the initiative and scored his first career hat-trick and set up Alexis Sanchez for the other two goals. It could, and perhaps should, have been more for a weakened Barcelona side, who elected to rest several players prior to the Champions League game in midweek. But in truth, the difference between the sides was immaterial on a special night in Catalonia.
Ozil grabs a double in convincing Madrid rout
Real Madrid also scored five goals on Saturday when Levante visited the Bernabeu as Mesut Özil scored twice late on in the 5-1 victory. Iker Casillas returned to the squad following a hand injury that had kept him out for a month despite his public feud with Jose Mourinho – but the Spanish number one had to be content with a place on the bench. Diego Lopez retained his starting place but could do little to prevent Levante taking a surprise lead when Michel’s shot took a deflection after a fluid counter attack. The goal prompted Madrid into life and Gonzalo Higuaín’s sensational volley levelled the game before Kaka’s penalty put Madrid ahead by the break. Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to score before Özil completed his double.
Late Jonas header keeps Valencia in European hunt
Valencia striker Jonas is in sensational form at the moment as he scored a late winner against Valladolid on Sunday to maintain his side’s Champions League hopes. It was Jonas’ sixth goal in his last six games and his 16th of a very productive campaign for the Brazilian. The win keeps the gap between Valencia and Sociedad at two points in the race for Champions League football, as both teams look to the massive game at the Anoeta Stadium at the end of April. Valencia took the lead thanks to an own goal from Mikel Balenziaga but Valladolid equalised through their own talisman, Oscar, with 20 minutes to play. Jonas came to the rescue once again in the fourth minute of stoppage time. It was a shame for Valladolid who appear to be running out of steam as the season comes to an end, continuing their run of just one win in their last 10.
Clinical Sociedad sweep aside second string Malaga
Real Sociedad kept up their scintillating form as they dominated a weakened Malaga side preparing to take on Borussia Dortmund this week. Philippe Montanier’s side scored goals from just five attempts in the 4-2 win after racing to a 3-0 lead in half an hour thanks to goals from Carlos Vela, his 13th of the season (Arsenal still have a £4m buy-out clause), Antonio De La Bella and Antoine Griezmann. Pedro Morales pulled one back for Malaga on the stroke of half time but Inigo Martinez made it 4-1 just five minutes after the break. Roque Santa Cruz scored another consolation but Sociedad were comfortable victors. The Basque side have had just one defeat in their last 20 games and look the favourites to claim fourth spot.
Depor win third six-pointer and move off the bottom
Three straight wins for Deportivo has given them a real chance of staying in the division after beating another of their relegation rivals at the weekend. Manager Fernando Vazquez hasn’t been in La Coruna long but in the last three matches, he has doubled Deportivo’s number of wins for the entire season. This week it was Zaragoza who were beaten despite going behind at one stage to goals from Helder Postiga and Francisco Montañes. Bruno Gama had earlier put Depor ahead and came from behind to win thanks to Carlos Marchena and an own goal from Abraham Minero and are now just a point from safety. In the last three Depor have scored nine and conceded five, but more importantly, have taken nine points from the nine available.