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Spanish La Liga

La Liga Matchday 13 – Barca’s Anoeta curse continues as Real Madrid break away

Barcelona had not won at the Anoeta, home of Real Sociedad, since 2007 ahead of this weekend, and with a number of injuries and so-called identity crisis, it would be the last place that Luis Enrique would want to take his side. Willian Jose opened the scoring ten minutes into the second half and despite Lionel Messi’s superb equaliser just minutes later, Barcelona were lucky to walk away with a point. Former Southampton man Juanmi had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside and it was La Real who dominated.

That allowed Real Madrid to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to six points ahead of next weekend’s Clasico with a win over Sporting Gijon, though they too nearly lost out. Duje Cop skied a 78th minute penalty which would have secured his side a point at the Bernabeu when it has looked as though Real may run away with it with two early goals from Cristiano Ronaldo as the Madrid team wore a kit made entirely of recycled plastic from the ocean.

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Sevilla are now level on points with Barcelona in third place as they narrowly saw off the threat of Valencia, who are just two points clear of the relegation zone. An own goal from Ezequiel Garay was cancelled out by a smooth finish from Munir, on loan from the Catalan club. Nicolas Pareja found the winner with 15 minutes left but Jorge Sampaoli’s team were never at their best on the day.

Back in the capital, Atletico retained their place in the top four by seeing off second from bottom side Osasuna with a comprehensive victory featuring goals from Diego Godin and Kevin Gameiro in a quickfire double and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco in injury time. Diego Simeone’s men have had a poor start but showed signs of what they can be capable of in Pamplona.

Villarreal were expected to be the side to push the top four closest, but they fell to yet another disappointing defeat as their form tails off. Alaves were the victors with two superb goals in the first half giving them an early and commanding lead at El Madrigal, which Fran Escriba’s team failed to recover from after their Europa League exploits took them to Zurich in midweek.

Just two points off of the Champions League places now are minnows Eibar, coming from a tiny north coast town with a populatio equivalent to about a quarter of the population of Wigan. They thrashed Real Betis by three goals to one on Friday night, as Sergi Enrich added yet another goal to his name alongside Kike and Pedro Leon, with Ruben Castro on the scoresheet for the Seville side having spent all week in court on domestic abuse charges.

By far the most entertaining game of the weekend was in Malaga, where Deportivo took a three minute lead from the penalty spot only to end up 3-1 down early on in the second half. They battled back though and equalised in the 83rd minute in sensational fashion, but in true Swansea City vs Crystal Palace style, substitute Javi Onviteros scored a winning goal for Malaga with virtually the last kick of the match to win the three points for his team and spark wild celebrations.

There were also some great celebrations at the RCDE Stadium in Barcelona as Espanyol got their first win of the season thanks to goals from Gerard Moreno and a brace from Valencia loanee Pablo Piatti which condemned Leganes to defeat after their win last weekend put a stop to a five match run of losses. Quique Sanchez Flores was a relieved man come Sunday night as pressure grew with no home wins, but his side now seem to be finding form.

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Celta Vigo had former Liverpool man Iago Aspas to thank after it was his wonder goal which gave his side the lead before setting up a second up against bottom club Granada, still without a win this season. The away team mounted a late comeback, halving the deficit but Pape Diop added a third in injury time for the Galicians.

There was a remarkably similar game on the Canary Islands as Las Palmas secured the third 3-1 result of the weekend as Athletic Bilbao had Aritz Aduriz sent off after picking up two yellow cards in the space of a minute to receive his marching orders. Kevin-Prince Boateng and his half-time replacement Momo gave the team in yellow the lead, with Jonathan Viera extending their lead after Raul Garcia drew one back from the penalty spot.

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