If you are a Real Madrid fan then the weekend was great because your side won and won by quite a comfortable scoreline and so did arch rivals Barcelona.
The weekend started off with Barcelona making the trip to Zaragoza to take on Real Zaragoza in La Romareda. As predicted, Barcelona would secure all three points outscoring the home team 2-0 both goals coming from the little Argentine wizard, Messi scoring in both halves. Although they were expected to defend, Zaragoza tried to go out and attack rather than lock up shop, however, Barcelona’s possession football limited the blanquillos from really doing much attacking and minutes before the half found themselves down 1-0 courtesy of the wizard, who was picked out delightfully by Villa down the middle to slot the ball low under the on rushing Doblas. This was far from a vintage Barcelona and for the opportunites they created was quite wasteful. Braulio will be kicking himself for missing an early opportunity for the home team in what could have made a huge difference in the game. At the start of the 2nd half we saw more of the same, Barcelona controlling possession and wasting opportunities while Zaragoza were left chasing shadows and it got even worse for the hosts as Dani Alves went down in a heap like he had been shot and while it was petty and silly from Ponzio for apparently flicking the Brazilian on the ear, Alves reacted as if he was hit in the face by the butt of a gun! Can we say disgraceful from the Brazilian? The act from Alves resulted in Ponzio shown a direct red card and the host found themselves down a man and down a goal. In the 66th minute Messi would add his second of the night to finish off the game after Iniesta’s rebound fell to the feet of the little man who made no mistake and lashed it into the bottom corner of the net. Zaragoza are still searching for their first win of the season.
Real Madrid ran amok over Racing and handed them a heavy 6-1 thrashing at the Bernabéu. Coincidentally, the home team’s second consecutive 6-1 demolition job at the Bernabéu. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat trick for the whites, his first at the Bernabéu and he set a new personal record scoring a fourth in the match something he has never done on a professional level. Higuaín and Özil also found themselves on the score sheet on the night and Racing managed something they hadn’t achieved in the last five attempts and that’s score a goal against Real Madrid- Diop came up with the effort from the edge of the box after some chaos in the back by the hosts. For full details on the match you can read here.
They sometimes say when you lose your first match it can easily be the start of a poor run of form and as such Valencia may well be heading into that slump as they again found themselves on the end of their 3rd consecutive disappointing result and had it not been for Maurice Edu scoring on either side of the half for both Rangers and Valencia, then Los Che could have easily been looking on three consecutive defeats. I know they lost to Manchester United to a heart breaking last minute goal but they somehow picked themselves up. However, since the loss to Barcelona they have now slumped to a 3rd consecutive bad result, as they found themselves 2-1 losers to a poor road team in Mallorca who only managed one point on the road prior to the match on Saturday. It didn’t take long for the visitors to make an impact as Webó was tripped in the area by Ricardo Costa as he was about to pull the trigger. Castro stepped up to slot the penalty home to give his team a 1-0 advantage. Castro would become the man of the moment as in the 28th minute he headed home Ratinho’s effort from the edge of the box after Moya made the initial save but was unable to react in time to stop Castro scoring his second and eventual game winner. Valencia would pull one back through former Real Madrid man Roberto Soldado who stepped up and slotted home a penalty after João Victor brought down Vicente in the penalty area.
Injury ravaged Sporting Gijón found themselves on the end of a heavy 3-0 defeat in Madrid to Getafe with the goals coming from Boateng, Colunga and Marcano. Elsewhere, Almería and Hércules played to a 1-1 draw, Valdez with the goal for the visitors and Ulloa equalized late on to secure a point for the hosts. Osasuna inflicted a heavy 3-0 defeat on Malaga in what was an excellent game for Osasuna and it saw them finish enough of their opportunities created which was quite the opposite in their opening games. Could this be the game that Osasuna needed to get over their inability to find the back of the net shown in the earlier games of the campaign? Nekounam, Masoud and Aranda were responsible for Osasuna’s three goal triumph. Espanyol remained perfect at home beating Levante 2-1; the home team getting goals from Dátolo and Callejón while Levante pulled a late consolation goal through Stuani.
Sevilla were the beneficiaries of two very dubious penalty decisions from the referee in what was a closely contested game that should have ended in a draw as the most appropriate result. We were treated to a seven goal thriller in a match that saw three penalty decisions, two of which were debatable and the other a nailed on penalty. Athletic were the better side within the first 20 minutes of the match absolutely dominating and creating chance after chance but they failed to punish Sevilla and in the 35th minute Fabiano would make them pay when he scored his 1st of the season after he slashed home a cross from Capel that Kanouté mis-kicked and it bounced favorably for the Brazilian to hit home. For the latter part of the first half Sevilla dominated and after going a goal up pressed even more to secure the win and as such Fabiano earned his team a penalty– the first questionable call of the match by the referee. Romaric was having a sublime game and was at the center of much of Sevilla’s attack and it was his ball that found Fabiano who took it down on his chest but his touch was a little too heavy and he went down after running into Ustaritz, which the referee dubbed a penalty. Kanouté stepped up and hit the penalty off the inside of the post and in to give Sevilla a 2-0 lead at the half. Second half Sevilla came out pressing for a third and in the 61st minute they would get it through Fabiano who showed us how a true quality Brazilian striker finishes. Romaric’s long ball found Fabiano over the top who controlled brilliantly and chipped the keeper from just inside the 18yd box to make it 3-0. A fairly comfortable victory for Sevilla right? You couldn’t be anymore wrong! Just after the 3rd goal went in Fernando Navarro got himself a second yellow card after he stupidly pulled Susaeta down on the edge of the box. Sevilla had to play the remaining 27 minutes down to 10 men and Bilbao did not make it easy. In the 74th minute the in form Spaniard, Fernando Llorente Torres or as I like to refer to him “The Real Torres” continued his goal scoring form and headed home a cross from Iraola. Two minutes later and Sevilla would be wondering what went wrong as Konko single-handedly destroyed his team’s early hard work after he first fouled Llorente who attempted to get on to the end of yet another great cross from Iraola and if that wasn’t enough for the referee to give the penalty then Gabilondo’s follow up shot was definitely handled by the French man and the referee had no option but to point to the spot. Llorente stepped up to take the penalty but Palop made a great save, however the rebound fell right to the feet of Llorente who made no mistake about it a second time. With the score at 3-2 Sevilla had to be worried right? And rightfully so as Athletic were piling on the pressure to get the equalizer. However, fortune struck once for the home team and it would a second time only a minute after Llorente had clawed his team back within a goal the referee called a penalty for the home team. A lovely little dinked ball over the top by Romaric found substitute Negredo who in mine and surely many others’ opinion was well defended by Orbaiz who got in between both Negredo and the ball and if anything was fouled by Negredo in his eager attempt to win the ball back and bundled over the midfielder whose hand accidentally brushed ball and almost knocked it into his own net managing to clear it off the line just in time only to hear the referee’s whistle go for a foul in the area that the lines man signaled. Kanouté stepped up to score his second of the night and his third of the season. Sevilla up 4-2, down a man with 10 minutes left. Bilbao however, did not give up and pressed on eventually scoring a third but it was too little too late to earn them a draw when Gabilondo headed home a cross from Martinez just before the final whistle to make it 4-3. A hard lost for the Basques but a very thrilling match that had EVERYTHING!
Both Nilmar and Rossi continued their impressive start to the season, albeit the former didn’t score this weekend he was responsible for tormenting the Atléti’s back line throughout the match and he created the opener for Cani after he delivered a sublime through ball for the latter to beat De Gea only 10 minutes into the match. Seven minutes into the second half and Villarreal secured the win after a lovely bit of individual skill from the Italian-American Rossi to beat three defenders and then De Gea at his near post. Another great match that had everything except a plethora of goals. Atlético’s coach Quique Sánchez Flores was sent to the stands after the half apparently for the commotion that took place on the field at the end of the first half when his side was denied a penalty shout by Agüero and the players had to be ushered off the field by the coaching staff, apparently during the huddle around the referee Quique said something he shouldn’t have which led to him being sent to the stands for the 2nd half.
Deportivo’s visit to Real Sociedad turned out to be a thriller as the visitors’ poor run and impotence continued tonight when they were demolished 3-0 in San Sebastian. The goals coming from Llorente (who is recently returning to some 1st team football after his injury prior to the start of the season), Griezmann and Agirretxe. I suppose Deportivo’s coach Miguel Ángel Lotina will be hoping that his idea to bring in a psychologist that specializes in the sport will be able to help his team considerably or he may well be out of a job before the year ends and the Deportivo faithfuls might just see their team relegated at season’s end if this run continues.