This weekend is certainly one to remember with some surprising results taking center stage in Spain. Villarreal slumped to their third league defeat in Getafe while Sevilla continued their losing streak with a shock home defeat to struggling Almería.
Atlético got back to winning ways when they welcomed Deportivo to the Vicente Calderón where a brace from the Argentine Agüero gave the home side a comfortable win. Only 5 minutes into the game and the home team was awarded a penalty when Aranzubia took down Agüero into the area. Forlán stepped up to take the penalty but the Deportivo goalkeeper was equal to his tame effort and made up for his earlier mistake. However, it wouldn’t be long after that Atlético would take the lead through the little guy, Agüero. He came rushing down the right and cut into the box beating two defenders and hit a vicious strike to beat Aranzubia. Ten minutes before the half and the Argentina man would pop up again after a Simão slipped a through ball for him to latch on to where he then cut inside and hit it past the Deportivo goalkeeper.
The biggest upset of the weekend saw lowly Almería down Sevilla for only their 2nd win of the campaign. Only 5 minutes in and Sevilla should have taken the lead through youngster, José Carlos who came dashing down the right, cutting in on his left and hit a wonderful effort towards goal that bounced off the underside of the crossbar. Sevilla would keep the pressure up and in the 19th minute was awarded a penalty after Vargas handled the ball in the area. Kanouté stepped up to take the penalty but his effort was saved by Alves. In the 27th minute, Alexis would have yet another chance for the home side but his header went just wide of the post. Would Sevilla miss these guilt-edged opportunities so early in the game? Almería’s first effort on goal came through Corona in the 43rd minute when he absolutely hammered an effort towards the top corner of Palop’s net but the veteran goalkeeper produced a magnificent save to deny the Spaniard. The first half would end at 0-0. Just four minutes into the second half and Vargas would hand the away team the lead with a close range header that Palop could not get to. Sevilla would dominate the possession but the away side defended stoutly and they would double their lead in the 81st minute through Piatti who struck a superb shot on goal from the edge of the box that Palop stood no chance of getting to. However, two minutes later Sevilla would pull a goal back through Kanouté and his side looked like they had brought themselves back into the game but that would not be the case and Piatti would put the game to bed in the 90th minute after Alexis was sent off for a second bookable offence. Crusat came running down the right, took the ball to the byline and cut it back for an on rushing Piatti who sublimely back-heeled the ball into the net and added the subsequent dagger in the hearts of the los nervionenses faithfuls.
Getafe would also pull off an upset on Saturday evening in the last game on the night picking up a narrow win over Villarreal in the Coliseum. The visitors were missing half of their attacking tandem in the shape of Rossi, who was suspended for the match. Despite, having a man advantage for the entire 2nd half as Getafe’s Cata Díaz was shown a straight red card for chopping down Nilmar, and total dominance in possession, they would come away with nothing as the hosts’ defence held firm. Albín would secure all three points for Getafe in the 89 the minute with a low drive that found it’s way past Diego López. Albín would be booked for the second time on the night after his goal celebration leaving Getafe down to 9 players but they would hold on for all three points.
A lackluster first half performance saw Athletic Bilbao having to come from behind to defeat Espanyol at San Mames on Sunday evening with the goals coming from Llorente and López while Osvaldo scored Espanyol’s only goal. An 80th minute equalizer from Eguren secured a draw for Sporting Gijón after Levante had taken the lead through Caicedo in the 72nd minute. Hércules also had to come from behind at home versus Málaga scoring three goals in the space of four minutes. Fernández got the visitors off to a good start in the 12th minute but Trezeguet eqaulized in the 67th minute and Drenthe converted a penalty only a minute later to make it 2-1. In the 71st minute Paz would score the home team’s third and Kiko would score the final goal of the game 9 minutes from time. Mallorca would slump to a shock defeat at home against the worst road team in league, Racing Santander, when Óscar Serrano made his return from injury in the 88th minute to score a 90th minute goal handing the verdiblancos all three points.
On Sunday evening Real Madrid visited Real Zaragoza at La Romareda where the hosts had a bright start to the game putting the away team under intense pressure for the first 10 minutes but eventually Real Madrid’s class would tell in the 15th minute when a counter-attack was started by Ronaldo who flicked a lovely ball on to Marcelo on the left who then found Özil wide open on the right where he dashed into the box and slid the ball under the onrushing Franco for the 1st goal on the night. The visitors had a few more chances but were unable to make the effort pay off. In the 39th minute Zaragoza would have a great chance on target, Lafita had his back to goal and got in behind Pepe and Carvalho with a great turn to hit a low drive towards Casillas’ net which Real Madrid’s number one parried away safely on his 400th league appearance for the club. In the 44th minute the away team had a freekick from about 35 yards away from goal which Ronaldo stepped up and unleashed an absolute bomber that found it’s way up and over the wall and into the top corner, Franco was rooted to the spot as he watched the ball fly into the net. Despite, the great start in the first 10 minutes for Zaragoza the away team would take complete control of the match and the half would end 2-0 in favour of the away team. Only a minute into the second half and Xabi Alonso from deep in midfield hit a lovely ball over the top for Di María to run on to, where the Argentine took one touch to lob the ball over the onrushing keeper and into an empty net for Madrid’s 3rd. In the 53rd minute Aguirre sent in Marco Pérez and Ponzio for Edmilson and Sinama-Pongolle which had immediate effect as both Pérez and Bertolo combined with the latter being tripped in the box by Carvalho and was awarded the subsequent penalty which Gabi stepped up to take, sending Casillas the wrong way to pull one back for the hosts. Youngster Morata would make his league debut for Real Madrid in the 87th minute when he took the pitch to replace Di María and almost had a wondrous start to his first team career getting on to the end of a through ball from Granero but Franco came rushing out and denied the youngster a goal with his first touch just seconds into his debut. The kid looked lively in the 6 minutes he got to play and had a go at the defence including a clever little nutmeg on Jarošík but the defender bundled over the youngster and came away with the ball.
Barcelona welcomed Real Sociedad to the Camp Nou a place coincidentally, that the visitors haven’t won since 1991 and that winless drought would continue on the night as Barcelona lit up the stadium with a five star performance. David Villa would kick things off in the 9th minute when Pedro delivered a low cross in front of goal which Villa sent into the roof of the net. In the 35th minute Pedro and Iniesta played a quick one-two with the latter hitting the ball pass Bravo from an acute angle to beat the goalkeeper at his near post. Only a minute into the second half and Messi would get the hosts’ third goal on the night after a brilliant one-two with Alves down the right with the former cutting into the box to hit the ball into the bottom corner. Los culés fans had to wait until the 87th minute to see any more goal scoring action when Messi took up the ball and dribbled past four defenders before coolly beating Bravo for the fourth goal on the night. Bojan would add the cherry on top in the 90th minute for the home team.
Valencia will welcome Osasuna to the Mestalla on Monday night for the last game of the match day.
As the table stands, Barcelona remain top with 40 points while, Real Madrid continue to sit second 2 points behind. Despite their loss this weekend, Villarreal will remain in third place. Espanyol will also remain in fourth place regardless of the outcome of Valencia’s match on Monday. Sociedad’s loss sees them fall down to ninth place, while Sevilla’s loss sees them fall all the way down to eleventh place. Almería’s win against Sevilla took them out of the drop zone and into seventeenth above Málaga on goal difference. Sporting Gijón fell to nineteenth while, Real Zaragoza continues to be the league’s worst team in twentieth.