La Liga: Week 2 Review; Barcelona Drop Points While Real Madrid, Valencia and Real Betis Maintain 100% Record

Real Sociedad is proving to be quite a thorn in Barcelona's side

Villarreal CF 2 - 2 Sevilla FC
Villarreal improved on their previous performance and produced a fine effort to hold Sevilla to a draw with only 10 men. The yellow submarine found themselves down a man after goalkeeper Diego Lopez brought down Diego Perotti in the penalty area. César stopped Álvaro Negredo's attempt, but the striker was able to get to the rebound first and put Sevilla in front (24'). Villarreal didn't back down and Giuseppe Rossi won a penalty for his team, that the Italian converted to level the score (35'). After some back-and-forth action, Marco Rubén's brilliant strike put the hosts in the lead (74'), however, just four minutes from time Alexis headed home the equalizer for Sevilla.

Real Sociedad 2 - 2 FC Barcelona
Pep Guardiola wrongly assumed a B lineup to be good enough to defeat Real Sociedad, at the historically difficult Anoeta stadium no less. The experiment backfired. Barcelona did start the game with a bang scoring twice in the opening 11 minutes, Xavi (10') and Cesc Fábregas (11'), but despite the two goal lead the Basques capitalized on Barca's defensive blunders to earn an unlikely draw. Firstly, Imanol Agirretxe made Sergio Busquets looks silly when he outjumped him to a cross to bring his team closer (59'), and in the very next minute David Villa inexplicably made a long back pass to Agirretxe, who had a clear run on goal. Nevertheless, Agirretxe was denied by Busquets' hand but Antoine Griezmann sent the rebound in the net. In the final half hour both teams had chances to win it but neither did so.

Real Madrid 4 - 2 Getafe CF
Real Madrid B Getafe made Real Madrid work for the three points, but in the end Los Blancos ran out comfortable winners. Karim Benzema opened the scoring with a powerful drive just inside the penalty box (14'). Real pressed to increase the lead but it was Getafe who found the equalizer though Miku (39'). The hosts were awarded a controversial penalty for a "foul" on Cristiano Ronaldo, but that didn't stop the Portuguese player to convert the spot-kick (60'). Benzema doubled the lead on a quick counter (69') but Miku once again made a game out of it after a breakdown in Real's defense. Gonzalo Higuaín put any doubts of the winner to rest when he added his name to the scoreboard (88').

Valencia CF 1 - 0 Atlético Madrid
Valencia continued to reap the rewards of Roberto Soldado's rich vein of form . Los Che were looking confident in the early stages and threatened Thibaut Courtois on a regular basis but getting a shot by the goalkeeper proved to be a difficult task. In the second half Soldado finally found a way to beat Courtios; Luis Miguel provided the perfect cross for Soldado who powered it to the back of the net. Valencia's Vicente Guaita, who was a mere spectator until late in the second half, had to make good saves on Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan to hold on to the narrowest of leads.

Real Betis 1 - 0 RCD Mallorca
Real Betis continued their perfect start into the 2011/2012 Primera División campaign with another last-minute victory. The islanders didn't have a good game as they found themselves being outplayed in almost every facet of the match. The Sevilla-based side controlled the game from the opening whistle. Mallorca's Dudu Aouate had a solid game stopping half a dozen shots, but he was aided by the crossbar on two occasions. Aouate, however, produced the blunder of the game. He went out to clear a corner kick but found himself in no-mans land when the ball went over his head and to the unmarked Rubén Castro who fired it into the empty net.

Racing Santander 0 - 0 Levante UD
Racing Santander earned their first point of the season but the game itself turned out to be a rather dull goalless draw. The match was mostly battled out in the midfield, but with no clear winner in that area chances were few and far between. The hosts did create more opportunities, though their shots never really threatened Gustavo Munua's net. The best opportunity of the match came in the dying minutes, when Racing were a man down, as Levante's Nabil El Zhar fired a fierce free-kick that was saved by the outstretched Toño

Osasuna 2 - 1 Sporting Gijón
A two minute quickfire double proved to be enough for Osasuna to record their first win of the 2011/12 season. 28 minutes from kickoff Nino found himself on the receiving end of a perfect Kike Sola low cross, and the forward had no trouble directing the ball into the open net. Two minutes later Álvaro Cejudo received the ball in a good position and fired it past the helpless Juan Pablo Colinas. Osasuna, who should have a bigger lead a this point, gifted a goal to the visitors when Andrés Fernández misplayed David Barral's weak shot and let the ball get past him and into the net (75'), but that was all Sporting could muster.

Rayo Vallecano 0 - 0 Real Zaragoza
In the battle between two early season candidates for relegation to the Segunda, Rayo Vallecano missed on a great opportunity to record their first win of the season. The Madrid based side dominated the match, but were left frustrated by Zaragoza's shot stopper Roberto Gago who made several brilliant saves, including one on Javi Fuego's penalty kick which was awarded for a handball by Paulo Da Silva. Zaragoza couldn't get anything going in this one and can count themselves lucky to have taken a point.

RCD Espanyol 2 - 1 Athletic Bilbao
A Sergio García brace was enough for Espanyol to see off the Basque outfit. The match started very cautiously with neither team willing to risk too much in the early stages, but after a good team move by Espanyol, the aforementioned striker drew first blood when he headed one in from close range (25'). Teams exchanged opportunities before halftime but the score would remain the same. The Basques enjoyed a good start to the second half and were able to level the score through Fernando Llorente's powerful header (62') but all the effort from the visitors proved to be for naught as García, slightly opportunistically but brilliantly nonetheless, decided the winner in the 73rd minute.

Málaga CF 4 - 0 Granada CF
Málaga's big spending paid of in this game as two summer acquisitions combined to score all four goals. Granada had no chance in this one against the firepower available to Manuel Pellegrini. Santi Cazorla put the Andalusians in front, just four minutes from kickoff, when he fired a low shot from the edge of the box just inside the post. Joaquín doubled the lead when he leaped the highest and fired home a well placed header (25'). Cazorla increased Málaga's lead even further with a free-kick that went straight through the wall (48') while Joaquín completed the scoring with a half volley (72'). In the closing stages Granada had a few chances for a consolidation goal but Wilfredo Caballero kept a clean sheet.

Recap
In just the second week Barcelona dropped their first points of the season, but, in retrospect, that was somewhat expected considering Barcelona's and Pep's bad record after September's international break. However, Pep will have to take some blame for this bad result as he decided to rest almost everybody for Tuesday's Champions League match against AC Milan.

The worrisome start for Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid continues as both sides lost this weekend, albeit at difficult grounds. The injury to Andre Herrera will hurt the Basque side immensely, while two games without a single goal for an attacking side like Atlético has to raise some red flags. The only other two sides who have yet to score in this season are Real Zaragoza and Granada.

The early surprise of this season has to be Real Betis, who have won both their games by the score of 1-0, with both coming in the final five minutes of the game. Interestingly, even though they scored five goals less than Barcelona, they found themselves in front of the Catalan giants by two points.

After scoring 30 goals in the previous Jornada teams scored four goals less during this weekend. Two of them came from the penalty spot, despite four attempts, while two players were sent off.

Games of week 3 will be played on September 17 and 18.



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

 

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