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La Liga Week 34 Review: Barcelona and Real Madrid Lose, Málaga Extend Winning Steak

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Real Madrid 2 - 3 Real Zaragoza
After nine years without a defeat at home, Jose Mourinho lost his second in three games. The hosts gave Mou a taste of his own medicine as they defended with ten men and attacked quickly on counters. Angel Lafita scored from such scenario, but he was aided by Iker Casillas who tried to clear the ball, but whiffed and Lafita was left with a simple finish (41'). Ricardo Carvalho then brought Lafita down in the box and Gabi sent Casillas the wrong way from the spot (54').

Real sent everybody forward and when Sergio Ramos scored from a corner kick they looked in a good shape to mount another comeback. But Lafita had a different plan. He restored the two goal lead with a well placed shot (77'). However, the hosts didn't give up and eight minutes later Benzema gave his team a chance to steal a point with a shot to the far post. In six minutes of added time Real tested Antonio Doblas on numerous occasions, but the goalkeeper stopped every shot, one on the goalline.

Real Sociedad 2 - 1 FC Barcelona
Real Socieded ended Barcelona's amazing 32 game run without a loss, with an inspiring performance at Anoeta. With the return leg of the Champions League in mind, Guardiola fielded an unfamiliar line-up, but even they dominated the ball and limited the hosts to perimeter shots. Blaugrana took the lead when youngster Thiago Alcantara's shot deflected of Claudio Bravo and snuck in just under the bar (29').

In the second half Sociedad converted both chances to snatch the unlikely victory. Firstly Diego Ifrán scooped the ball over Jose Manuel Pinto (71'). Gabriel Milito appeared to have put Barca back in front, but the goal was disallowed for offside. A minute later Javier Mascherano committed a foul inside the box for a penalty. Xabi Prietto hit a weak kick down the middle, Pinto got a hand on, but couldn't keep it out (82'). Barcelona came close late on, but Bravo made the important saves.

Deportivo La Coruña 0 - 1 Atlético Madrid
Atlético Madrid extended their unbeaten run to four games, but this looked very unconvincing. The visitors were outplayed in the early going and they were fortunate David De Gea had a good night between the sticks. Deportivo were left to rue their missed chances when Alberto Lopo had to take an early shower. With ten men Depor couldn't stop Sergio Agüero to score in his seventh straight game. Kun was all alone in the middle of the box when he received pass from Juanfran and the Argentinian slotted the ball just inside of the post (80').

Levante UD 0 - 0 Sporting Gijón
Two high-flying teams met in Valencia and played out an uninspiring goalless draw. Chances were few and far between, but Levante looked to have taken the lead when Felipe Caicedo put the ball past the goalkeeper, but the strike was disallowed for a marginal offside. The hosts continued to be the slightly better side, but not them, or the visitors, were able to break the tie. Despite the poor performance, both teams moved up on the La Liga table.

Málaga 3 - 1 Hércules CF
The rejuvenated Málaga won their third game in a row, but they are still only two points from the relegation zone. Both teams needed the victory to boost their hopes of remaining in Primera División, but it were the visitors who started the match on a high note.

Just four minutes in Nelson Valdez received a cross from the right and with no defender in sight, the Paraguayan calmly headed the ball past Wilfredo Caballero. It took Málaga a whole minute to reply. Baptista did good to get himself open for a cross that he headed in from close range. Both teams had chances to take the lead in the next hour, but the complection of the game changed when Matías Fritzler received his second yellow card (66').

The foul resulted in a penalty kick, even though the offense occurred outside of the box. Apono stepped up and struck the post (68'), but it took the hosts only five minutes to cash in on the man advantage. Rondon broke the deadlock with a brilliant header and to put any doubts about the winner to rest, Baptista scored again with another header.

Racing Santander 2 - 0 RCD Mallorca
After four consecutive losses Racing Santander finally recorded a win, a win that shed some daylight between them and the relegation zone. The hosts took the lead early on when Markus Rosenberg slid in to redirected a low cross (13'). The islanders were given a chance to tie when they were awarded a penalty kick, but the magnificent Toño stopped Ivan Ramis' attempt (22'). Three minutes before the break Kennedy Bakircioglü added to the lead when he surprised Dudu Aouate with a shot at the net from a free-kick from the left side. The second half was dominated by Mallorca, but they could not find a way past Tono, who made several brilliant stops.

UD Almería 0 - 1 Sevilla FC
The bottom Almería club produced an admirable effort against the Europe bound Sevilla, but in the end it was not enough. The hosts started strong and came close to taking the lead, but defender Fernando Navarro saved a goal when he redirected the ball with a high handball. The referee missed the incident that would have resulted in a penalty shot.

Seven minutes after the break Almería's Michael Jakobsen went to the showers after a high tackle that earned him a red card. Being a man down the hosts struggled to cope with Sevilla and they found themselves in a hole when Renato scored, what turned out to be the game winner (58').

Villarreal 2 - 1 Getafe CF
The Yellow Submarine fought back from a first half deficit to increase their chances of a automatic Champions League spot. Getafe pressured the hosts early and often, but at first Diego Lopez kept them at bay, but he was helpless when Pedro Ríos fired a brilliant 25 yard drive (30'). Villarreal looked much better in the second half, but initially they were left frustrated by Oscar Ustari.

That changed in the 60th minute. Santi Cazorla took a quick free kick and rolled the ball to Cani who, from 25 yards, fired a low shot just inside the post. Giuseppe Rossi decided who will add three points to the season totals when he headed his team in the lead from close range. With the loss Getafe, for the first time this season, fall into the drop zone.

Osasuna 1 - 0 Valencia CF
Osasuna took full advantage of the uncharacteristically lacklustre Valencia. The hosts dominated the game, despite enjoying less ball possession than Los Che. Osasuna peppered Vicente Guaita with shot after shot and it was just a matter of time the goalkeeper would have to pick the ball from the net. That moment arrived in the 59th minute. Alvaro Cejudo fired from 25 yards out and hit the back of Marius Stankevicius, resulting in a defelction into the unguarded part of the net. With the win Osasuna moved out of the drop zone.

RCD Espanyol 2 - 1 Athletic Bilbao
Espanyol ended their five game winless run with a strong showing against fellow Europa League hopefuls from the Basque country. The hosts took the lead when Pablo Daniel Osvaldo slotted home a low shot in off the post (35'). Six minutes later Athletic drew level through Susaeta, who curled in a brilliant 20 yard free-kick. The Barcelona based side looked better in the second half and Gorka Iraizoz was forced to made a couple good saves. In the 76th minute, however, he couldn't stop Osvaldo's low cross and at the far post Iván Alonso slid in to slot it home from close range.

Recap
La Liga fans witnessed somewhat of a rare event this weekend. For the first time since 2009 both, Real Madrid and Barcelona, lost on the same game-day. In Day 37 of the 2008-09 season the two giants lost, at home, to Mallorca and Osasuna respectively.

Ever since his return from an injury, Julio Baptista has been a man on a mission. Málaga have won every game since then (three games) during which the Brazilian scored five goals. Just for comparison, that's two more than Messi and one more than Ronaldo in the same time-frame.

Last weekend 32 goals goals were scored, so it is save to say that the players had a bad week as they netted only 23 times on Day 34. Only two goals came from penalty shots, although it could have been four, but one was saved and the other one bounced of the post. Compared to recent weeks a lot of players were sent off, four, but only one warranted a straight red.

Matches of Game-day 35 will be played over two days, instead of the usual three, on May 7 and May 8.

 

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GP W D L +/- Pts
1 same FC Barcelona 34
28
4
2 70
88
2 same Real Madrid 34 25 5 4
52
80
3 same Valencia CF 34 19 6
9
15
63
4 same Villarreal CF 34 18 6
10
13
60
5 up Sevilla FC 34 15
7
12
3
52
6 up Atlético Madrid 34 15 7
12 11
52
7 down Athletic Bilbao
34 16 3
15
3
51
8 same RCD Espanyol
34 15 3
16
-5
48
9 up Levante UD 34 12
7
15
-9
43
10 up Sporting Gijón 34 10
12
12
-6
42
11 down RCD Mallorca
34 12
6
16
-12
42
12 same Real Sociedad 34 13
2
19
-13
41
13 up Racing Santander 34 10
10
14
-15 40
14 up Málaga CF 34 11
6
17
-17 39
15 up Real Zaragoza 34 10
9
15
-12 39
16 up Osasuna 34 10
8
16
-3 38
17 down Deportivo La Coruña 34 9
11
14 -15 38
18 down Getafe CF
34 10
7
17
-11 37
19 same Hércules CF 34 9
6
19
-22 33
20 same UD Almería 34 5
11
18 -27 26