La Liga Matchday 14 - Rivals fail to capitalise on Clasico draw
All eyes were on the Nou Camp this weekend, even if UK television could not show Spain’s biggest fixture live. Real Madrid headed to Barcelona with a six point lead and were hoping to extend that. In truth, it was one of the most tense and tactical affairs in the fixture since Jose Mourinho was in the Madrid dugout. Luis Suarez opened the scoring with a quality header but it was Sergio Ramos’ headed effort which stole the show in the 89th minute as he drew the scores level to salvage his team’s unbeaten run and protect their six point lead.
That would have allowed Sevilla to move up to second in the league, above Barcelona, had they beaten bottom side Granada, but it was the lower team who secured their first win of the season in a 2-1 victory. Jorge Sampaoli’s team could not muster a goal until the 95th minute from the penalty spot as Granada produced an uncharacteristic and superb display.
On a bizarre weekend in Spain, the bottom five earned more points than the top 15, and Atletico were another side to be disappointed as they were held by Espanyol on Quique Sanchez Flores’ return to the Calderon for the first time. It was a frustrating after for Diego Simeone in the other dugout, as his side had the same number of shots on target as the Barcelona team despite having 67% possession.
Come Monday night, it looked as though Real Sociedad may be able to capitalise and over take Atletico to move into the top four after their superb run of six games unbeaten, but Deportivo A Coruña had other ideas. They moved out of the relegation zone with a 5-1 thrashing in Galicia with Florin Andone scoring a brace and ex-Liverpool man Ryan Babel also on the scoresheet.
However, it seemed that Galicia must have robbed Madrid of some goals this weekend as Leganes played out the other 0-0 draw of the weekend against Fran Escriba’s out of form Villarreal. In a feisty affair with nine yellow cards shown, neither team could find the break through, making it three league games without a win for the Yellow Submarine.
The only top half team to win this weekend was Athletic Bilbao who ran out victorious from their Basque derby with neighbours Eibar. Iñaki Williams stole the show with a superb run and finish as the youngsters of Ernesto Valverde’s team stepped up in the absence of the suspended Aritz Aduriz. Beñat and Iker Muniain were also on the scoresheet in a convincing victory despite Sergi Enrich giving the away team hope late on.
Valencia experienced perhaps the most frustrating result of matchday 14 though, as they came back from a superb Pablo Fornals finish in the second minute to take the lead by half time. Alvaro Medran and Rodrigo scored the goals, but Cesare Prandelli’s team couldn’t hold out and Malaga rescued a point in the 94th minute as Fornals scored a crucial equaliser to leave Valencia only outside of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Another entertaining game took place in Seville as Real Betis and Celta Vigo fought out a 3-3 draw, with former Liverpool striker Iago Aspas on the scoresheet twice. Ruben Castro and Tony Sanabria were on form for Betis but both sides surrendered their leads on different occasions with Celta scoring the last goal in the 84th minute before Petros was sent off for Betis in the closing moments.
In a bottom three clash, Sporting Gijon got their third win of the season as they raced to a three goal lead against bottom team Osasuna, who could only manage a consolation goal in the final moments. Barcelona loanee Douglas was on the scoresheet for Sporting as they moved closer to climbing out of the relegation zone.
Whilst Osasuna are languishing at the bottom, another newly promoted team are faring much better in the form of Alaves who moved to 13th with a draw against Las Palmas. Alexis’ fourth minute strike was not enough as both sides went for the win late on after Marko Livaja’s equaliser early in the second half.
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