Barcelona took a massive step towards the league title with a draw in the second Clasico. El Clasico had overshadowed much of this weekend’s fixtures. With the whole of Spain going crazy over the four Clasico’s, many will be overlooking the fight for European places and the relegation struggles.
With just 6 more games to go, the league table is beginning to sort itself. With the teams who had the consistency shuffling towards the top end and the relegation dog fight still in full effect towards the bottom half of the table, it promises to be an exciting end to the season. While the title race has virtually come to an end, the European places are still up for grasps. Valencia are comfortable in third place. Villarreal, Sevilla, Bilbao, Espanyol and Athletico Madrid are all still in it for the European spots with six games to go. Malaga looks to be moving in the right direction and Almeria has a huge task on their hands to stay up.
Game of the week:
Espanyol 2-2 Athletico Madrid
El Clasico may have been the much hyped up game of this weekend, but it was nowhere close to the hype that surrounded it as both teams weren’t particularly adventurous. On the other hand, the game between the other club from Barcelona, i.e. Espanyol, and the other club from Madrid, i.e Atletico Madrid was an exciting one. With both teams coming out to attack, it was waves of attack after attack on either side of the pitch. The game saw an early goal from Koke within the 3rd minute after a poor clearance by the Espanyol defense. Both teams had to be positive considering that a place in Europe is a realistic target at this point in time. Espanyol, like their local rivals Barcelona in their big match, had the lion share of possession and finally managed to equalize before the end of the first half through Osvaldo. The second half saw the same intensity from both sides. Aguero put Atletico Madrid ahead again after capitalizing on a mistake. Osvaldo equalized again with a diving header to bring them back to level terms. The game saw end to end football and was played at a high tempo.In the end, it turned out to be a score draw and Espanyol will be kicking themselves for gifting both the goals.
Player of the week
Julio Baptista (Malaga)
Julio Baptista came back from a long break due to injuries, to boost the survival chances of Malaga. Manuel Pellegrini’s men were under immense pressure to avoid the drop having invested heavily during the winter break. However, their team was lacking the cohesiveness in defense and the sharpness in attack. Coming back from a six-week absence, Baptista provided the necessary sharpness and mobility for the Andalusians’ attack. His two goals helped them secure a comfortable 3-0 victory over Mallorca. These three points helped them move out of the drop zone for the time being. His return to the team and his attacking skills may well be the reason for Malaga’s survival come the end of the season.
Can he keep Malaga in the League?
Goal of the week:
Ruben Suarez (Levante)
A sweet left-footed strike from 30 yards. With just 5 minutes on the clock, Fritzler fouled Xavi Torres that set up a free kick for Levante. Suarez curled in a free kick from about 30 yards that ended up in the top corner to put Levante ahead against Hercules. Levante has had a magical second half of a season and are safe for next season La Liga. With this win, they move into ninth place with 42 points, a magical figure that is considered the benchmark for safety.
Upset of the week:
Getafe 1 – 0 Sevilla FC
The Andalusians lost 1-0 at Getafe and this dealt a severe blow to their European hopes for next season. Miku settled the tie in favor of Getafe with a neat finish in the 76th minute. The win was a massive boost for Getafe’s survival hopes as they now remain four points clear of the drop. Sevilla, who were having an impressive second half of the season, were optimistic about their European chances. This loss is a heavy blow to their chances and with some key players out injured, the task now seems even more daunting one.
Team of the week:
Valdes, Juanfran, Ricardo Costa, Lopo, Ujfalusi, Pepe, Banega, Iniesta, Rubén Suárez, Soldado, Baptista
Getafe 1 – 0 Sevilla
Malaga 3 – 0 Mallorca
Almeria 0 – 3 Valencia
Real Madrid 1 – 1 Barcelona
Deportivo La Coruna 2 – 0 Racing Santander
Levante 2 – 1 Hercules
Real Sociedad 2 – 1 Sporting Gijon
Osasuna 1 – 2 Athletic Bilbao
Espanyol 2 – 2 Atletico Madrid
Primera División table
Barcelona – 85 points
Real Madrid – 77 points
Valencia – 63 points
Villarreal – 54 points
Athletic Bilbao – 48 points
Race for the Pichichi:
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 30
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 29
David Villa (FC Barcelona) – 17
Fernando Llorente (Athletic Club) – 15
Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal) – 15