La Liga wrap: Atletico thump four past Real in Madrid derby
Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid side suffer a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid
Real thumped by Atletico in derby disaster
Atletico Madrid tore their city rivals Real Madrid to shreds on Saturday, winning 4-0 at the Vicente Calderon. The win closed the gap between the champions and league leaders to just four points, and extended their unbeaten run against Real to six. Carlo Ancelotti was forced to name a makeshift defence ahead of the game due to injuries to Pepe and Sergio Ramos, and Atletico took advantage by scoring two first-half goals. Ex-Chelsea midfielder Tiago struck a shot from 20 yards that squirmed under Iker Casillas’ body before Saul Niguez scored an incredible overhead kick. Antoine Griezmann tapped home with Real Madrid pushing bodies forward, and Mario Mandzukic sealed a memorable victory for Los Rojiblancos. To make matters worse for Real, they recorded just a single shot on target as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale endured games to forget.
Messi, Suarez and Neymar score to close gap on Real
Barcelona cut the gap between themselves and leaders Real Madrid to just a single point as they comfortably beat Athletic Bilbao 5-2 at the San Mames. Lionel Messi scored a deflected free-kick to give Barca the lead, and Luis Suarez registered just his third league strike of the season to keep the Catalans in command. Home keeper Gorka Iraizoz was visibly aggrieved to have conceded, having palmed both strikes into the back of the net. Mikel Rico briefly pulled Bilbao back into it, but an own-goal from Oscar De Marcos made it 3-1 moments later. Neymar made it four before Aritz Aduriz pegged Barca back almost instantly, though a red card for Xabier Etxeita put the game beyond the hosts. Pedro collected a wonderful Messi pass late on to add another goal as Barca show signs of this newly assembled attack turning into an ominous force.
Nineteen-year-old Gaya stars in Valencia win
Left-back Jose Gaya played a starring role in Valencia’s 2-1 win over Espanyol on Sunday. The youngster, hotly tipped to be the next star shipped off the Valencia production line, created the first goal for Pablo Piatti and cleared a shot off the line as Espanyol mounted a late rally. Valencia needed the victory as Sevilla had dropped points earlier on at Getafe, and the win allowed Los Che to go above Unai Emery’s side into the fourth Champions League spot. Espanyol keeper Pau helped Valencia on their way to a sixth win in eight by inadvertently diverting a free-kick into his own net. Despite Sergio Garcia’s strike in the 89th minute, Valencia managed to hold on to a vital three points.
First career hat-trick for Barral gives Levante crucial victory
Malaga must be sick of the sight of David Barral after his hat-trick gave Levante a 4-1 win. Two penalties and a free-kick ensured he took the match ball home and lifted the bottom club off the foot of the table. Barral had scored just three times all season prior to the game, two of which had come against Malaga in the Copa del Rey! His only other strike this year was against Almeria in November, a game in which the 31-year-old was man of the match. He received that accolade again with this treble, all the more impressive considering they hadn’t won in nine games and fell behind to Juanmi’s 24th minute opener. Kalu Uche scored Levante’s fourth and rounded off the victory, one that takes them out of the relegation zone.