Well this week's La Liga review is going to be a little different, why you ask, because this is my first post as member of the barcablaugranes community. For all of you who don't what this review is all about let me explain. Every week I am going to write a short review of every match that was played on the match-day. In the end I will offer a short recap that will also feature an updated league table.
Getafe CF 1 - 0 Villarreal CF
Getafe stunned Villarreal at home with only nine men. Not a lot to talk about in the first half but the game did open up after Daniel "Cata" Diaz was sent of for a fierce challenge on Nilmar in the 41st minute. The first notable opportunity was by the Brazilian just before half time. In the second half teams opened up and scoring chances were featured on both sides. Juan Albin scored the last gasp winner (90') but was sent off immediately after because of a second yellow for his celebration. Getafe survived the injury time pressure by the visitors.
Sevilla FC 1 - 3 UD Almería
Sevilla's struggles continue, this time they were dismantled at home by a lowly Almeria. Sevilla started of with promise and came close to taking the lead on a couple occasions. The best opportunity came when they were awarded a penalty kick but Kanouté had his attempt saved (21'). It went downhill after that for the home side as Almeria took control over the remaining part of the first half.
In the second half they were able to make most of their superiority. Vargas's close range header put them in the lead (48'). Then Pablo Piatti took centre stage with two world class goals. Firstly he unleashed a thunderous shot from 25 yards out (81'), the second one was a cheeky flick with his heel past a helpless Palop (90'). Between Piatti's goals Kanouté scored to give Sevilla some hope but it turned out to be only consolidation.
Atlético Madrid 2 - 0 Deportivo La Coruña
Sergio "Kun" Agüero celebrated his contract extension with a brace. Atlético started the game determined to end their losing streak and they earned a spot kick after Agüero was fouled but Forlán's attempt was denied by Aranzubia who made a stunning save (6'). The hosts did not have to wait long for a new chance, this time Kun turned a quick counter into an early lead with an exceptional individual effort (8'). The Argentine would add another one when he was sent through on goal by Simão (35'). With the comfortable lead Atlético slowed down the pace of the game and controlled the remaining time.
Hércules CF 4 - 1 Málaga CF
Málaga tried to improve their awful away record but a second half comeback by Hércules turned the game around. Sebastián Fernández started the scoring by tucking in a rebound (12'). Teams exchanged scoring chances until the middle of the second half when Hércules exploded. Trezeguet started the fightback with a nice deflection with his heel (66'). Three minutes later Drenthe converted a penalty and then Paz nudged the ball in after a couple of deflections (72'). Kiko scored the games last goal with a great individual effort (81').
RCD Mallorca 0 - 1 Racing Santander
Mallorca disappointed their fans, not with the effort but with the end result. The home side controlled the possession and directed more shots toward the net than Racing but their attempts were either saved or went just wide. They were penalized for their inability when Serrano scored the winning goal (90'). The midfielder came on the field just a minute before his tally; it was his first game back after being out for seven months because of an injury.
Athletic Bilbao 2 - 1 RCD Espanyol
Espanyol traveled to Bilbao for their fourth consecutive league victory but Athletic's comeback proved to be too much. The visitors started strong and the host can thank Iraizoz that he kept the game close with some fine saves. Osvaldo finally managed to beat him with a low shot after he already missed a couple of chances (33'). The second half was a complete opposite of the first one with Athletic dominating the play. Llorente tied it with a powerful header (73') and five minutes later David Lopez put them in the lead with a perfectly taken free-kick from almost 30 yards out.
Sporting Gijón 1 - 1 Levante UD
Gijón fought back to earn a well deserved point at home. Chances were few and far between in the first half but the game livened up in the second. Sporting took over the control but were not able to score. Levante capitalized on their lone shot on net when Caicedo scored from five feet out (72'). The host pushed for the equalizer and they were rewarded when Eguren headed home a cross (80').
Real Zaragoza 1 - 3 Real Madrid
Zaragoza started strong and earned a couple of scoring chances but could not take the early lead. However the visitors scored on their first real opportunity as Özil scored after he was picked out by Marcelo (15'). Real Madrid continued the pressure for the rest of the half and they added to the lead when Ronaldo took a brilliant free kick from 25 yards out (44'). Angel Di Maria added another one with a lob over an out of position Leo Franco (47'). The home side pulled one back when Carvalho brought down Bertolo and Gabi sent Casillas the wrong way (54'). Zaragoza never threatened to get it closer, it was actually Madrid that came had more chances but the score did not change.
FC Barcelona 5 - 0 Real Sociedad
Barcelona continues to dominate their opponents and they make it look easy. Villa started the avalanche when he buried home Pedro's low centre (9'). Pedro was also in the in the middle of it for Barca's second as Iniesta played a one-two with him and scored short side (33'). In the second half Messi played three one-twos with Alves to score (47') and later added another when he dribbled past five Sociedad players and finished it of in outstanding fashion (87'). The final goal of the game was scored by Bojan who banged home his own rebound (90').
Valencia CF 3 - 3 Osasuna
Osasuna displayed a remarkable performance to come from behind to get a point. Valencia took a two goal lead with Soldado's low shot (20') and Stankevicius' strike (32') beating Ricardo but the lead was cut in half by Juanfran's looping header (40'). Two minutes later the two-goal was restored as Valencia was again able to connect on a corner kick, this time it was Aduriz on the receiving end. The second half was slow paced until the visitors pulled one back after César Sánchez dropped a cross and Miguel Flaño cashed in (60'). Osasuna then pressed for the equalizer and they were rewarded after a lengthy goalmouth scramble that saw Carlos Aranda tie it (87').
For the second week in a row the top five teams remained in their respective spots, however there are a lot of changes in the rest of league table because clubs in the middle are separated by just a couple of points.
Quite a few bottom teams gave their fans a reason to cheer for with good results against, at least on paper, better teams. Sevilla on the other hand can't do anything right at the moment and if the ship isn't turned the right way in the near future we might see another coaching change.
This action packed week was very good for offenses or bad for defenses, depends on the way you look at it because eleven more goals were scored than in the previous match-day, a total of 33. Referees showed to four spot kicks but only two of them were converted and three players were sent off, two of them in the same game.
Only one week of Spanish (league) football left this calendar year and again games will be played over three days, the 18th, 19th and 20th December.
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