La Liga Matchday 11 - Atletico beaten as Barcelona mount comeback and Bale steals the headlines
In one of the most entertaining games of the season, Barcelona had to find the perfect comeback to their midweek defeat to Manchester City by going to the Sanchez Pizjuan to face an in-form Sevilla.
Sevilla started the better side, with Vitolo capitalising to put the hosts ahead, prodding past Marc Andre Ter Stegen in the 15th minute. Lionel Messi produced his magic at the perfect time though, scoring a smooth equaliser with an exquisite finish from a Neymar cutback with just two minutes to go until half time.
In the second half, Barcelona were more dominant and Luis Enrique’s side found the net again when Messi set up Luis Suarez on the hour mark. In an end to end meeting, Sevilla had a frivolous 94th minute penalty claim turned down in what was a superb game for watching neutrals.
There was a shock in Donostia on Saturday as Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid fell to their second defeat of the season against Real Sociedad. Antoine Griezmann’s old team scored twice from the penalty spot, with former Arsenal man Carlos Vela and Willian Jose on the scoresheet. The defeat makes this season the worst start to a season since Simeone took charge at the Calderon and leaves them down in fourth in the standings, only ahead of Sevilla on goal difference.
On the day in which Cristiano Ronaldo signed a new five year contract with Real Madrid to take his stay at the Bernabeu to 2021, it was not the Portuguese star who stole the headlines in victory over minnows Leganes. Now on a run of five consecutive defeats, it looked as though Leganes may have put up a fight before Gareth Bale broke the deadlock before half time, adding a second just before the break. Alvaro Morata scored the third in a 3-0 win but it was the Welshman who proved to be the hero and keep Real Madrid comfortable at the top of the table.
Villarreal took advantage of Atletico’s slip up to put an end to their nightmare week of two defeats by beating Real Betis, and putting Gus Poyet’s future in doubt as he clings on to his job by a thread after just three wins from the opening 11 games, leaving them in 14th place. A wonder striker from Manu Trigueros was far from the ideal start and was followed up not long after the break with a similar effort from Roberto Soriano, as Poyet is likely to face the sack over the international break.
One team to have undergone something of a mini-revival since the arrival of a new boss is Valencia under Cesare Prandelli, but his side fell to a late defeat at Celta de Vigo this weekend as the Galicians came from behind to boost their push for the Europa League places. Dani Parejo scored from the penalty spot, but it was former Manchester City man John Guidetti who had the final say with his diving header in the 77th minute to earn the three points.
That increases the pressure on Athletic Bilbao who were in Barcelona, Espanyol continued their hunt for their first home win of the season at the RCDE Stadium, though fans were instead disappointed to see their team record their third 0-0 draw from the last five played as they faced the Basque outfit. In reality, it is a solid point for Quique Sanchez Flores and his team despite Athletic resting some key players after their Europa League win in midweek, but pressure continues to grow on the former Watford man with that home win proving elusive.
Another former Premier League boss is in charge at Malaga, where Juande Ramos saw his side twice come from behind before securing a late winner up against Sporting Gijon on Friday night to put them into the top half of the table and condemn Sporting to yet another week in the relegation zone.
On the Canary Islands, Las Palmas put an end to a run of six games without a win as they beat Eibar by a goal to nil thanks to the latest goal to be scored in La Liga this season. Jonathan Viera’s penalty in the 95th minute, given for a controversial foul, gave the team in yellow the three points and sent Eibar on a long journey back to the north coast empty handed.
Another side who are desperately fighting for a win are Granada who have four draws and seven defeats to their name, and they were feeling optimistic as they welcomed Deportivo who were only three places above them before the game. Depor have scored more than once only twice all season, but one goal from Florin Andone looked likely to be enough for much of the game before David Lomban scored in the 81st minute to earn their fourth point of the campaign.
They are joined in the bottom three by Osasuna, who also faced a bottom five clash against Deportivo Alaves, who emerged the victors thanks to a Christian Santos penalty as four of Osasuna’s back five picked up yellow cards in a heated clash. Osasuna remain searching for their second win and still look destined for the drop alongside Granada.
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