La Liga: Matchday 6 Review; Barcelona Move to the Top, Levante Continue to Impress

FC Barcelona is in first place for the first time this season.

Villarreal CF 2 - 2 Real Zaragoza
Villarreal twice fought back from being a goal down against 10-man Real Zaragoza. The visitors struck first when Luis Garcia fired home from close range (35'), but the lead only lasted six minutes. Maurizio Lanzaro fouled Mateo Musacchio in Zaragoza's penalty area and from the resulting spot kick Giuseppe Rossi leveled the score. However, the visitors were soon back in front as Pablo Barrera beat Diego Lopez with a well-placed shot. After the break Villarreal laid siege to the Zaragoza goal, but the hosts either missed the target or were stopped by the keeper. But with time running out the Yellow Submarine found the equalizer through Hernán Pérez (84').

Racing Santander 1 - 1 Rayo Vallecano
Thanks to Adrian Gonzalez's goal Racing Santander collected their league leading fourth draw, but the Cantabrians are still waiting for their first win of the year. The hosts didn't enjoy the best opening to the match, as they allowed Rayo to seize control and 20 minutes in, the visitors took the lead when Raúl Tamudo beat Toño with a brilliant lob. After the break Racing regrouped and started to play much better. Halftime substitution Adrian was the fulcrum of almost every attacking play and the same player scored the hosts only goal of the match (59'). Racing had several opportunities to secure the three points, but Papa Kouly Diop and Adrian couldn't add to the score.

Osasuna 2 - 2 RCD Mallorca
In an entertaining match at the Reyno de Navarra stadium, both teams earned one point each. Chances were aplenty from the opening whistle, but the first one to result in a goal came when Tomer Hemed converted a penalty shot for his first ever goal for the islanders (34'). Seconds before halftime, Raúl García tied the game with a powerful header. Raúl García struck again in the 59th minute with yet another header. The hosts appeared to be strolling to an important victory, when Mallorca's Emilio Nsue unnecessarily received a red card (79'). However, Roland Lamah committed a foul in the box for the second Mallorca penalty of the match, which Hemed successfully converted. Despite the man advantage the hosts weren't able to create any noteworthy opportunities.

Valencia 1 - 0 Granada CF
All Valencia needed to see off the challengers from Andalusia was an early goal from Sergio Canales. The Real Madrid loanee scored just four minutes from kickoff and put Los Che in front with a stunning 25 yard strike. The hosts had several opportunities to add to the lead, but 10 of their shots were saved by goalkeeper Roberto while another 12 went wide of the target. Compared to Valencia's offensive numbers Granada had no business threatening to steal a point, yet, they did just that, but their attempts were stopped by Vicente Guaita. In the end Valencia didn't need to pay for their incredible wastefulness throughout the match.

Málaga CF 3 - 2 Getafe CF
Málaga staged a remarkable comeback in the final minutes of the match against Getafe to remain close to the top of the table. After a forgettable first half both teams made some tactical changes. It quickly showed, as Pedro León scored his first goal of the season (55'). Nine minutes later Ruud van Nistelrooy opened his account with a close range header. The visitors retained the lead when Miku beat Wilfredo Caballero with a header (75'). After Getafe was reduced to 10 men Málaga pressed for the equalizer and they found it when Enzo Maresca tapped home a rebound (88'). The comeback was complete when Júlio Baptista fired a stunning overhead kick into the back of the net(90+2').

Real Sociedad 1 - 2 Athletic Bilbao
With a good display in the Basque derby Athletic Bilbao finally recorded their first victory of the season. The visitors were first to threaten and Sociedad's Claudio Bravo had to make a couple good stops, but he had no chance of saving Fernando Llorente's delicate shot (34'). The beginning of the second half was controlled by the hosts and they were able to draw level when Iñigo Martínez sensationally beat Gorka Iraizoz from beyond the halfway line (61'). But the Basque giants weren't going to give up. Fernando Amorebieta set up Llorente who made no mistake and volleyed the ball out of the reach of Bravo and inside the post (70'). The visitors were able to calmly bring the game to and end after taking the lead.

Real Betis 0 - 1 Levante UD
Levante's impressive start to the season continued with their fourth consecutive victory. In Sevilla they faced the other surprise package of the current La Liga campaign, Real Betis, however, the Valencia based side managed to record the hard fought victory. The hosts controlled the early stages, but their shots never really threatened Gustavo Munua. Levante, however, capitalized on one of their attack when Juanlu beat Casto through the legs from an almost impossible angle. Betis completely dominated in the second half, but they just couldn't crack the visitors' strong defense.

Atlético Madrid 0 - 0 Sevilla FC
Despite being outplayed for large periods of the match Sevilla managed to hold Atlético to a draw and remain undefeated after six games. Los Rojiblancos looked to rebound from their loss against FC Barcelona from a week ago, and while they did create many clear cut chances their wastefulness left them with just one point. Sevilla struggled to contain Arda Turan, Radamel Falcao and José Antonio Reyes, but after 90 minutes somehow none of them managed to break the deadlock. The visitors didn't manage much, but had it not been for a couple good saves from Thibaut Courtois they could have left Madrid with the victory.

Sporting Gijón 0 - 1 FC Barcelona
Facing off against La Liga's bottom club, Barcelona struggled to get going without both, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta in the midfield, but nonetheless picked up their first away league win of the season. El Molinón has historically been a difficult ground for Pep and this time was no different. Barcelona controlled the ball from the opening whistle and took the lead when Adriano Correia fired home a rebound (12'). The visitors didn't create much after that, what's more they allowed Sporting to threaten Victor Valdes on a few occasions, but Barcelona's keeper was able to keep a clean sheet.

RCD Espanyol 0 - 4 Real Madrid
With a dominating victory in Barcelona, Real Madrid, led by Gonzalo Higuaín, moved back into the top three. The Argentinian striker provided the only goal of the opening half when he fired a powerful shot past Cristian Alvarez. Espanyol had a couple good opportunities to level before the break, but Thievy and Sergio García were stopped by Iker Casillas. Higuaín went on to score two more in the second half; firstly he fired an unstoppable shot to the top left corner (66') and finished the scoring with a little chip (89'). Between Higuaín's second half brace, José Maria Callejón scored his first ever Real Madrid goal (82').

Recap
Six weeks into the 2011/12 Primera División campaign, Barcelona is (finally) where they ended last season, sitting on top of the La Liga standings. Remaining there for the next 32 Matchdays will definitely prove to be a difficult task for Pep Guardiola and his squad, especially if the injuries continue to mount up; Fabregas and Eric Abidal joined the injured list this week.

Behind Barcelona, replacing Real Betis as the highest ranked surprise is Levante who continue to play at a very high level. After already beating Real Madrid, Levante face stiff opposition in the next two games as they face Málaga and Villarreal. Those two match-ups should show if the Valencia based side is to stay in this half of the table or will they drop points in important games.

Teams almost matched their goalscoring output from the previous Matchday as they only fell one short, with 25 goals scored. After consecutive weeks of very active refereeing crews, this weekend referees only showed three red cards, one straight, and awarded three penalty kicks of which none were missed.

With another international break coming up La Liga won't return until Saturday October 15 with games played also on the 16th and the 17th October.



GP W D L +/- Pts
1 up FC Barcelona 6
4
2
0
19
14
2 up Levante UD 6
4
2
0
5
14
3 up Real Madrid 6
4
1
1
15
13
4 up Málaga CF 6
4
1
1
6
13
5 up Valencia CF 6
4
1
1
3
13
6 down Sevilla FC
6
3
3
0
3
12
7 down Real Betis
6
4
0
2
2
12
8 same Atlético Madrid 6
2
2
2
2
8
9 same Real Sociedad 6
2
1
3
-1
7
10 up RCD Mallorca 6
2
1
3
-2
7
11 up Osasuna 6
1
4
1
-7
7
12 up Villarreal CF 6
1
3
2
-4 6
13 same Rayo Vallecano
6
1
3
2
-4
6
14 up Real Zaragoza 6
1
3
2
-6
6
15 down RCD Espanyol 6
2
0
4
-6
6
16 up Athletic Bilbao 6
1
2
3
-2 5
17 down Getafe CF
6
1
1
4
-4 4
18 same Racing Santander
6
0
4
2
-5 4
19 down Granada CF
6
1
1
4
-6 4
20 same Sporting Gijón
6
0
1
5
-8 1

 

 

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