The road to El Clasico is heating up, with the match being played on Wednesday, 18th of December. In the match that preceded the fixture, both teams involved drew their respective games.
Barcelona conceded a draw away at the Anoeta, against a fierce Real Sociedad team. Meanwhile, Real Madrid had the chance to go into El Clasico with the upper hand, but they had to clinch a late point against Valencia.
All this and much more in matchday 17 of La Liga.
Real Sociedad 2 x 2 Barcelona
Barcelona was on an eight-match unbeaten run as they traveled to face Real Sociedad but after just 12 minutes they faced an uphill battle to keep that run going. Sergio Busquets took a handful of Diego Llorente’s shirt and Mikel Oyarzabal beat Marc Andre Ter Stegen from the spot for 1-0.
A goal either side of the interval put Barcelona in control though; first, on 38, Antoine Griezmann delicately clipped beyond Alex Remiro and then, on 49, the Sociedad defense switched off and Lionel Messi fed Luis Suarez giving him the simplest of tap ins.
Sociedad wasn’t about to roll over though and on 62 they made it 2-2. Ter Stegen made a howler as he dropped Nacho Montreal’s low cross and Alexander Isak reacted quickest to turn the loose ball in. That is how it stayed.
Valencia 1 x 1 Real Madrid
The final match of the weekend saw Real Madrid, who had the opportunity to go top of the table ahead of Wednesday’s El Clasico, make the trip to Valencia. The game itself was hardly one for the archives with goalmouth action few and far between.
Goals did eventually come and it was Valencia who struck first; Daniel Wass cut the ball back into the danger area and an unmarked Carlos Soler made easy work of beating Thibaut Courtois for 1-0.
Real didn’t give up though and with the last kick of the match, they clinched what could prove a crucial point. Courtois went forward for a corner and towered above Geoffrey Kondogbia to head goalwards, Jaume Domenech could only bat the header away and amongst the scramble, Karim Benzema slammed home for 1-1.
Sevilla 1 x 2 Villarreal
With the top two both dropping points, Sevilla was presented with a great opportunity to overcome Villarreal and put themselves firmly in the hunt but on 13 they fell behind; Raul Albiol applying the final touch from a corner.
After a couple of efforts flashed across the Villarreal goal without success, on 61 Munir wrapped his foot around Sergio Reguilon’s lay off to fire into the roof of the net for 1-1.
Five minutes after the equalizer Villarreal brought Karl Toko Ekambi off the bench and a further eight minutes after that Ekambi was slotting in what proved to be the winning goal.
Atletico Madrid 2 x 0 Osasuna
If the midweek win over Lokomotiv Moscow was the end of a poor run of form for Atletico then perhaps it’s also going to prove the start of a good one as they duly dispatched of Osasuna on Saturday evening.
Sergio Herrera was kept busy in the Osasuna goal but seemed to have an answer for everything as he produced a splendid save to deny Joao Felix’s glancing header and then he batted away Thomas Partey’s long-range pile driver.
Herrera was finally beaten on 67 though with Alvaro Morata directing a powerful header low to his left from a Kieran Trippier free-kick for 1-0 and on 75 the game was made safe. Morata was again involved but this time as part of a snappy passing move and Saul Niguez cheekily dinked the finish over Herrera for 2-0.
Granada 1 x 2 Levante
Granada entertained Levante in a match that pitted two mid-table sides against one another and it was the away team probing for an opener with Jose Morales rattling the Granada crossbar.
They did eventually find a breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half with Ruben Rochina firing in from 20 yards but Granada made it 1-1 just five minutes later; Darwin Machis thundered a header beyond Aitor Fernandez following a crisp cross from Victor Diaz.
The game looked destined to end in a draw but with minutes left Levante found a way to snatch all three points; Enis Bardhi lashing home from 20 yards after Jose Campana rolled the ball back.
Celta Vigo 2 x 2 RCD Mallorca
Mallorca went into Sunday’s game with Celta Vigo knowing a defeat would see them slip into the bottom three so when Rafinha headed past Manolo Reina after 20 minutes their fans would have feared the worst. Just past the half-hour though and Mallorca were back on terms.
Joseph Aidoo inexplicably pushed Ante Budimir in the back and, after a VAR review, a penalty was awarded and Salva Sevilla slotted into the very bottom corner for 1-1.
Just after half time, the home side was in receipt of their own spot-kick when Cucho Hernandez clumsily clipped Lucas Olaza. Iago Aspas stepped up and hit the resultant penalty low, hard and in to restore his team’s lead.
Things looked even bleaker for Mallorca on 78 when Antonio Raillo received a second yellow card but just five minutes later they made it 2-2 with Budimir the man to turn home.
Espanyol 2 x 2 Real Betis
La Liga’s bottom club Espanyol might look at Real Betis as an example of how a run can get you out of trouble but when they fell behind after just four minutes the idea of escaping the relegation battle looked unlikely. Alexandre Moreno drove down the line and crossed powerfully and Borja Iglesias rose highest to head in.
After the early blow, the hosts did show character that will serve them well in a battle as they turned the game in their favor. First, on 19, Sergi Darder danced through the Betis defense and hit a low effort past Diego Lopez and then on 41, after Lopez had made a sharp save but failed to parry to safety, Bernardo made it 2-1.
The win wasn’t to be for Espanyol though and on 67 the scores were tied again. Sergio Canales crossed from the right and, when Zouhair Feddal kept it alive by winning a back post header, Marc Barta ran onto the ball and nodded in for Betis’ second of the match.
Getafe 2 x 0 Real Valladolid
Getafe, who had won their last four, faced a home match against a Real Valladolid side that have fired blanks for the last five. With that in mind, when Marc Cucurella buried into the roof of the Valladolid net on 36 things looked good for the hosts.
That’s exactly how it proved too as the away side offered little going forwards and, on 82, Jaime Mata held off Joaquin Fernandez before standing up a cross to the back post where Angel nodded in for 2-0.
Alaves 1 x 1 Leganes
Leganes visited Alaves on Friday night aiming to build on last week’s impressive victory over Celta Vigo and after a pretty lackluster opening from both sides they took the lead.
It looked like the half time whistle would go with things locked at 0-0 but Martin Braithwaite steamed into the box to sweep home Kevin Rodrigues’ ball from the left to make it 0-1.
In the second 45, it was Leganes who had the best chances to add to the scoreline but confusion and calamity at both ends saw them give up maximum points as, on 81, Joselu bundled home after the visitors failed to deal with a corner.
It still looks like a long run for Leganes fans, but Javier Aguirre has got 4 points in the last 2 games. The Mexican coach brought supporters something to believe in.
Athletic Bilbao 0 x 0 Eibar
Athletic Bilbao and Eibar are both struggling for goals a little bit this season and neither team deserved to win this encounter. Eibar was the better side in the first half with roles reversed in the second.
Bilbao thought they’d nicked the win but Alvaro Tejero’s own goal was disallowed for an offside in the build-up.