The weekend kicked off with the Valencian Local Derby and as promised it was an evenly contested yet enthralling game. The first half saw Valencia as the more dangerous team and as such took the lead on 20 minutes through hit man Aduriz who got on to the end of a Joaquin cross to get the slightest touch of the ball, which may have come off defender Gonzalo, but the end result was a goal for the visitors. Valencia came on stronger after going a goal up but were unable to make their efforts pay off and they would pay dearly. Villarreal must have realized that their undefeated home run this season could come to an end and as such came out in the 2nd half the stronger team. They managed to pull level on 73 minutes through the American-Italian, Giuseppe Rossi who got on to the end of a lovely cross from substitute Rúben. A result that was probably fair for both teams as it was the tale of two halves.
The second match of the weekend saw Barcelona completely rip apart a very shabby Almería team that seemed to hardly try. A Messi hat-trick, a brace from Bojan, a goal a piece from Iniesta and Pedro and an own goal from Acasiete gave the Catalans an 8-0 victory in the Mediterráneo. By the end of the match coach Manuel Lillo was sacked by the Andalucian club but no replacement has yet been named. It took the visitors all of 17 minutes to get things off to a delightful start when Messi struck from the edge of the area after a beautiful build up. Two minutes later and Almería began to sink when they allowed Iniesta in behind the defence and he of course made no mistakes about the finish. Things got even worse for the Andalucians when Acasiete turned a Maxwell cross into his own goal to put the visitors up by three goals. Pedro then made it 4 on 35 minutes and two minutes later the little Argentine popped up to make 5 – 0. After the half time break, Almería came out as pitiful if not worse than they were in the first half (if that’s possible!) and before they knew it Bojan made it 6-0 just after the hour mark, then three minutes later, who else but the Argentine wizard, popped up again to bury his 3rd and subsequently Barcelona’s 7th on the night. Bojan completed the rout in the 73rd minute as Manuel Lillo and the fans could only look on and watch in disgust at the display their team was putting on.
The final match on Saturday evening saw two fierce rivals face off in the Santiago Bernabéu when Real Madrid welcomed Athletic Bilbao. As expected it was a closely contested match in the 1st half and even though Madrid went in at the half with a goal advantage it could have easily been 2-2 had it not been for San Iker. Higuaín got the whites off to a brilliant start when Di María’s ball through the center found Pipita, who fought off two Athletic players to slot the ball pass Iraizoz in the 20th minute. Upon going a goal down the Basques tried to press on for the equalizer but Llorente saw a great shot saved by Casillas who had to get down low to deny the big man, immediately after which, on the half hour mark, a lovely ball out the back finds Higuaín who shot pass his man and switched the ball to Özil who hits it one time into the path of the onrushing Ronaldo, who then takes a touch and the rest…is history. Real Madrid seemed to be cruising after that 2nd goal but Athletic, with their fighting spirit continued to press on and that would pay off when Llorente pulled a goal back 5 minutes before the half. It would remain 2-1 until the 57th minute when Di María was fouled in the area and Ramos stepped up to take the penalty which he powered through the outstretch hands of Iraizoz to find the top corner. Five minutes later and Ronaldo with an absolutely beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out found the back of the net, which Iraizoz probably should have done better with, but it was still a well hit free kick nevertheless. In stoppage time Granero was fouled by Amorebieta in the box and Ronaldo stepped up to take the resulting penalty and he made no mistake from the spot securing his hat-trick and Madrid’s 5th on the night.
Levante and Racing got Sunday off to a start where we saw the Granotes continue their dominance against Racing at the Cuitat de Valencia picking up a 3-1 victory with a brace from Caicedo and one from Stuani to make it 3-0 at half time. Racing would score a consolation goal late on in the second half through Lacen. Osasuna continued to pick up points at home when they met Sporting Gijón on Sunday evening with Masoud scoring the winner in the 54th minute. Espanyol continued their perfect home record picking up their 6th consecutive win at home when Hércules visited the Cornella El Pratt. Verdú got the first of the game in the 15th minute and it would stay that way until 9 minutes from time when Osvaldo hit from the penalty spot to make it two. The scoring still wasn’t over until the 92nd minute when yet another penalty was awarded to the home team which Luis García stepped up to take, making it 3-0 on the night. Deportivo’s resurgence continued into this weekend when they secured a massive 3-0 win over Málaga with Adrián scoring from the spot in the 22nd minute followed 8 minutes later by Colotto with Pablo Álvarez rounding out the scoring in the 83rd minute. Mallorca earned their revenge when they defeated Sevilla in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, 2-1. Pereira got the visitors on the scoreboard first in the 36th minute and it would stay that way until the 88th minute when the Brazilian, Fabiano netted Sevilla’s equalizer. However, the game wasn’t over and in the 90th minute Mallorca were awarded a freekick which was swung in and found the big head of Cameroonian striker, Webó to make it 2-1.
Atlético Madrid left it late in San Sebastian when they scored 4 late goals to turn around a goal deficit. Atlético prior to this hadn’t won a league match against Real Sociedad in the Anoeta for 19 years, since 1991 and it they seemed to be heading for yet another defeat at the hands of the Basque side when only after 12 minutes Griezmann found Llorente who poked the ball pass De Gea to put the home team up a goal. It took Atlético until the 71st minute to net their first goal of the game through Forlán and eight minutes later Agüero made it 2-1. In the 82nd minute Agüero popped up again to make it 3-1 for the visitors. Rivas would pull a goal back 4 minutes later for the hosts but any hopes of a come back were killed in stoppage time when Reyes earned the visitors a penalty which Simão stepped up to power pass Bravo to secure a 4-2 win for the colchoneros.
Getafe met Zaragoza on Monday with the match ending 1-1. Zaragoza’s Bertolo got his team on the score sheet in the 34th minute and it would stay that way through to half time. On 49 minutes, Getafe were awarded a penalty which Adrián Colunga stepped up to bury for the equalizer.
Real Madrid remain in 1st heading into the big clash next Monday on 32 points followed closely by rivals Barcelona on 31 points, Villarreal remain in 3rd for another week with 24 points while Espanyol’s win this weekend saw them climb 4th with 22 points and Valencia round out the top 5 on 21 points. In 6th and 7th respectively is Atlético and Sevilla both tied on 20 points. At the other end of the table, you find Zaragoza remaining rock bottom, in 19th place sits Almería on 9 points and just above them there is Málaga in 18th with 10 points.