The La Liga schedule matchday 12 happened this weekend and the top suffered some changes. Barcelona lost another game away and Real Madrid wasted their chance and drew their match to go even on points.
The winners of this weekend were Real Sociedad, who are now joint top leaders. Meanwhile, Leganes, who is rock bottom already fired their coach.
Levante 3 x 1 Barcelona
Barcelona hit five in midweek and came into their trip to Levante full of confidence after winning seven on the spin, despite a slow start.
When they took the lead on 38 through Lionel Messi’s penalty – after Jorge Miramon fouled Sergi Roberto – it looked like another three points were waiting for Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Perhaps unexpectedly, the game went rather flat after the opening goal; at least it did until the hour mark. On 61, Jorge Morales’ deft lay off allowed Jose Campana to caress a strike into the corner of Marc Andre ter Stegen’s net for 1-1 and two minutes later the hosts scored again.
Borja Mayoral was this time the man to find Ter Stegen’s left corner but the loaned Real Madrid striker did it with a curling effort from 20 yards.
If the roof came off for 2-1 then imagine the scenes on the terraces when Levante went further ahead on 68. Barca failed to deal with a free-kick and Nemanja Radoja saw his strike deflect into the net.
Messi once again beat Aitor Fernandez but this time it didn’t count as Antoine Griezmann, who set Messi up, was inches offside.
Barcelona lost their isolated lead and now the top is split in 3.
Real Madrid 0 x 0 Real Betis
Real Madrid went into their home game with Real Betis on Saturday evening knowing their rivals had already lost to Levante. So, a win would have taken them top.
The hosts started strongly and when Eden Hazard skipped through the Betis backline and slipped the ball through Joel Robles’s legs it looked like the La Liga strugglers were in for a tough day.
VAR reviewed the goal though and it was rightfully chalked off for offside and from there on out Robles was unbeatable producing good stops to deny Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, and Vinicius Junior.
He saved the best until late on when a good save and brave defending from Zouhair Feddal denied Dani Carvajal a winner.
Although Betis had Robles to thank for their point, don’t be too fooled as Thibaut Courtois was kept busy throughout too and, all in all, a defeat would have been harsh on Rubi’s men.
Granada 1 x 2 Real Sociedad
Given the results of Real and Barcelona, the winners of this game stood to be the big winners of the weekend. For Granada, a win would have put them back on top of the pile after their midweek collapse against Getafe.
For Real Sociedad, a victory would take them to first place, tied on points with Real and Barca.
The home side fell behind on 21; Granada gave the ball away and Portu made no mistake after being played in by Mikel Oyarzabal’s perfectly weighted through pass.
The home side pulled back to 1-1 on 36 through Alvaro Vadillo’s 40-yard free-kick, which, whilst well-struck, should have been dealt better by Alex Remiro in the Sociedad goal.
A draw would have been a fair result but with one minute left on the clock Portu found the winner for Sociedad. He slotted in from Adnan Januzaj’s pass.
Sociedad is one of the sensation teams of this season so far and they are now in a firm position to gather a top 4 spot.
Real Valladolid 3 x 0 Mallorca
Mallorca made the trip to take on Real Valladolid with the hope of getting their first win since their shock victory over Real Madrid. It is fair to say things didn’t go to plan.
The away side showed resilience to begin, with but Joaquin Fernandez powered a header past Fabri from a corner on 40 for 1-0. Five minutes after half time Fabri brought Enes Unal down for a penalty.
Unal brushed himself off and made it 2-0 from the spot. With the game almost up Sandro Ramirez scored his first goal in nearly two years. He won possession just inside his own half, drove forward and lashed a powerful 30 hit past Fabri, who will have been disappointed with the way he dealt with the strike.
Osasuna 4 x 2 Deportivo Alaves
Osasuna hosted Alaves on Sunday with Alaves desperate for points. The home side showed no pity as they scored two quick goals to put themselves into a seemingly comfortable position.
First, on 20, Ruben Garcia turned home a clever reverse ball from Chimy Avila. Then, on 26, Avila grabbed a superb second as he lashed a half volley from 18 yards past Fernando Pacheco.
It took less than 60 seconds for Alaves to pull a goal back though with Victor Laguardia sweeping home a long diagonal pass from Martin Aguirregabiria.
It remained 2-1 until the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time; Ruben Duarte was adjudged to have handled and Roberto Torres slotted the penalty kick into Pacheco’s left for 3-1.
The second period was a tale of two penalties as well and both came early on. Six minutes after the restart Nacho Vidal scythed down Pere Pons and Lucas Perez buried, low and hard past Ruben for 3-2.
The one goal differential didn’t last long though as just four minutes later Manu Garcia was penalized for handball. Juan Villar restored Osasuna’s two-goal cushion and that’s how it stayed.
Alaves dropped to 16th place and Osasuna climbed to 9th.
Sevilla 1 x 1 Atletico Madrid
Sevilla and Atletico came into Saturday’s game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium level on points and both teams had drew their last game.
It was Sevilla who struck first. Ever Banega delivered a free-kick into the box and an unmarked Franco Vasquez headed past Jan Oblak for 1-0.
Atletico didn’t threaten to get back on terms until early in the second half when Diego Costa thought he’d restored parity with a thumping header but Angel Correa, who delivered the cross, was offside in the build-up.
Five minutes later though a headed goal would stand and it was 1-1. Alvaro Morata the man to nod home, scoring for the fourth match in a row. Morata has now 4 goals in the league and 1 in Champions League.
The away side gained momentum from their equalizer and had an opportunity to win the match when Koke was tripped by Nemanja Gudelj in the box. Costa took the resultant spot-kick but his effort was at a good height for Tomas Vaclik and the Czech keeper kept it out.
It clearly wasn’t to be Costa’s day as late on he saw a strike blocked on the line. When Morata followed up, his attempts to force the ball home were deemed excessive and a free-kick was awarded.
Leganes 1 x 2 Eibar
Leganes fans haven’t had much to cheer this season. They have one single season so far and it was a 1-0 win against fellow struggling side Mallorca.
Still, but they found themselves in front against Eibar after just six minutes on Sunday. Youssef En-Nesyri eventually poking home after a mad scramble.
The hosts needn’t have got ahead of themselves though as the lead lasted just 11 minutes with Charles netting a free header for the equalizer.
It remained tight throughout with Leganes shading things but in the 84th minute the away side broke Leganes’ hearts. This time Kike was the man left in acres of space and he comfortably beat Cuellar.
The result made coach Cembranos get the sack. Leganes has assigned Javier Aguirre for his position, who coached Egypt in the last World Cup.
Espanyol 1 x 2 Valencia
Espanyol hosted Valencia in Saturday’s early game and they were denied early on by the fingertips of Jasper Cillessen. On 31 there was nothing he could do to keep them out.
Mouctar Diakhaby handled in the area and Marc Roca sent Cillessen the wrong way for 1-0.
Espanyol was a good value for their lead at the break but failed to add a second and on 69 found themselves pegged back when Daniel Parejo slammed home a penalty – awarded for a shove on Rodrigo.
With the leveler, Valencia began to turn the screw on an Espanyol side and with 10 minutes remaining Maxi Gomez flicked in a header from Rodrigo’s inviting cross.
Espanyol are 3 points away from Leganes, as they are battling relegation. Valencia is in the 13th position.
Celta Vigo 0 x 1 Getafe
Despite struggling so far this season Celta Vigo has one of the better defensive records of La Liga’s bottom half. Getafe would have known they were in for a tough match, but they were motivated after their midweek victory over Granada.
Neither side created any chances of note but on 37 a piece of miss-control in the Celta backline gifted possession to Kenedy. After running from halfway, he beat Ruben Blanco for 0-1.
Celta failed to create a single clear opening and the result could have been worse if Jorge Molina’s goal has stood. Fortunately for the hosts, he made his run a split second too soon.
Getafe climbs to an impressive 7th place, while Celta is 18th in the La Liga table and has 4 defeats in a row.
Villarreal 0 x 0 Athletic Bilbao
Villarreal and Bilbao served up a first half of soccer on Sunday that was utterly dreadful but, for as poor as the first period was, the second 45 minutes saw a masterclass from Bilbao goalie Unai Simon.
Gerard Moreno had the ball in the net but from an offside position early on and after that, it was the Simon show. First, he denied Moreno from close range and then, with time ebbing away, a reaction stop denied Raul Albiol.
After a loss and a draw, Villarreal dropped to 8th. Athletic Bilbao is 10th, with a single victory in the last 5 games.