Real Madrid slips and Barcelona grabs the lead

Mallorca players celebrate at the final whistle after their 1-0 win over Real Madrid. Credits: Reuters

It was quite a weekend of heavy emotions in La Liga. With a delicate situation happening in Catalunya, the games in the region were hanging by a thread. Next week’s Clasico was already postponed to December. This is unfortunate since now both Barcelona and Real Madrid are only separated by 1 point.

A surprise defeat against Mallorca, made Real Madrid give away their lead and their unbeaten streak in La Liga. Barcelona said thank you and took off to a first place, as they beat Eibar comfortably away.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid disappointed, while Granada keeps surprising La Liga and maintains the top 4 position. Here is La Liga round-up.

Eibar 0 x 3 Barcelona

Barcelona’s front three all scored one a piece, as Barcelona eased to victory at Eibar. Antoine Griezmann gave the Catalan giants the lead on 13. Barca went ‘route one’ from Clement Lenglet and Griezmann confidently dispatched past Marko Dmitrovic at his near post.

The floodgates hardly came crashing down though and, although Marc-Andre ter Stegen was virtually redundant, it took the visitors until just before the hour mark to make the game safe.

Luis Suarez was heavily involved but it was Griezmann’s deft touch that teed Lionel Messi up to beat Dmitrovic with a reverse finish for 0-2. Eight minutes later the same trio combined again for a third goal.

Griezmann cut the Eibar defence apart with a through ball and with Messi bearing down on goal a simple ball slipped to the left gave Suarez an easy finish.

After a complicated season start, Barcelona is back on top of both La Liga and their Champions League group. They head to Prague this Wednesday for matchday 3.

Mallorca 1 x 0 Real Madrid

Real made the trip to Mallorca looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. However, they headed into the match without Hazard, Bale, Modric, and Kroos, as their injury nightmare seems to not slow down.

Still, with a patched-up midfield and La Liga’s top scorer Benzema up front, they were the favorites.

The hosts weren’t simply going to roll over though and on the 7 minute, Lago Junior left Alvaro Odriozola looking silly, bending a low strike beyond Thibaut Courtois for 1-0.

This goal adds to Courtois’ poor record in his Real Madrid campaign. 12 goals conceded in 11 games played this season is a stat that leaves questions over the Belgian’s form.

Karim Benzema was inches from leveling things up but his effort came back off the underside of the bar. Then on 74 Real’s challenge to turn things around became even harder when Odriozola’s afternoon came to a premature end.

He collected a second yellow for a woefully mistimed tackle on Mallorca’s goal hero, Junior.

Aside from Benzema’s effort that struck the woodwork, Real never looked like scoring in the match and Mallorca were good value for their win. Mallorca leaves the red zone and ascends to 15th and Real Madrid loses the 1st place and moves to 2nd.

With El Clasico being postponed till December, ‘Los Blancos’ will be likely to see their rival keep the lead for the whole month of November.

Atletico Madrid 1 x 1 Valencia

Valencia headed to the capital to take on Atletico Madrid on Sunday but after both sides were restricted to half-chances in the opening exchanges the hosts were awarded a penalty 10 minutes before the break.

Alvaro Morata delivered a cross, which Denis Cheryshev blocked with an arm. Diego Costa confidently beat Jasper Cillessen for just his second goal of the campaign.

Atletico lost their star man – Joao Felix – to injury in the second half and, having used all their subs, were forced to end the game with 10 men. Valencia saw their chance and nearly got back level, but Cheryshev rattled Jan Oblak’s crossbar.

On 82 they found an equalizer through Dani Parejo. Parejo lined up a free kick 30 yards from goal and gave Oblak absolutely no chance as he found the top corner.

With full time approaching the momentum was with the away side and Parejo tried his luck again but this time Oblak got down well to keep things at 1-1. As the final seconds ticked by Valencia were reduced to 10 men too.

Lee Kang-in was only brought on with 15 minutes remaining but saw red for an atrocious attempt to win the ball from Santiago Arias. Atletico loses yet another chance to get closer to the top and is now 5th in the league.

They will hope for better luck tomorrow in the Champions League group stage match against Bayer Leverkusen.

Granada win again to keep up with the big boys

Granada hosted Osasuna in Friday night’s match, two sides who have surprised with their positive season start. Whilst the game wasn’t a meeting for the ages, it did yield another three points for the home side.

They struggled to create anything of note. Still, in the 38th minute they made the most of a free kick on the left and Domingos Duarte headed in the excellent delivery from Alvaro Vadillo. The Portuguese centerback makes a case on why he should be called to Ronaldo’s national team.

The hosts spurned a great chance to double their lead when Carlos Fernandez failed to connect with a cutback. At the other end, they had another Portuguese hero: Rui Silva, who kept another clean sheet.

The most memorable save was when he back peddled and acrobatically tipped over Roberto Torres’ ambitious, near halfway effort.

The visitors were not looking likely to pull level but things got worse in injury time as second-half substitute Fran Merida was booked for a really poor challenge. His reaction to the initial caution saw him receive his marching orders.

Granada moves to an incredible 3rd place, while Osasuna drops to 13th.

Real Sociedad 3 x 1 Real Betis

Real Betis continue to disappoint after they were tipped for a joyful season during Summer. Their surprising good signings are not making a great impact yet and their trip to Real Sociedad was another afternoon to forget.

An early goal should have been exactly what Betis needed and they got in through Loren Moron’s close-range finish. With 7 goals in 9 games, Moron is actually now La Liga’s top scorer.

However, they were pegged back 10 minutes later as Javi Garcia turned into his own net for 1-1.

On 36 Sociedad took the lead for the first time. Joseba Zaluda drilled a cross in, Willian Jose got in front of Alexandre Lopera and thundered a low finish past the helpless Joel Robles.

The second half started quietly but burst into life on 58 with a goal of the highest quality. Martin Odegaard dinked the ball into Mikel Oyarzabal, he cushioned it into Portu’s path with his thigh, making no mistake in killing the game.

Betis twice hit the woodwork after that, but Sociedad was a good value for their win. The visitors find themselves in the bottom three, while Sociedad is in Champions League position (4th place).

Getafe 2 x 0 Leganes

Getafe welcomed Leganes to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez hoping to continue their good start to the season. Meanwhile, Leganes still looks for the first win.

The La Liga strugglers nearly found themselves in front when Roque Mesa drove forwards from midfield before hitting a low shot that David Soria tipped round the post.

The hosts responded though and went even closer to an opener. Nemanja Maksimovic struck the upright with Ivan Cuellar well beaten in the Leganes goal.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 64 though and it was Getafe who took the lead. Kenedy, who had only come on four minutes earlier, delivered a teasing cross and half time sub-Angel headed home.

Leganes went looking to get back on terms but without any success and on 84 Angel wrapped the game up with a second goal. This time rounding Cuellar after a delicate ball in behind the visitor’s backline from Mauro Arambarri.

Getafe climb to 9th, Leganes is bottom with only 2 points in 9 games.

Sevilla 1 x 0 Levante

Sevilla entertained Levante in the final La Liga game of the weekend. They aimed to bounce back from their heavy defeat to Barcelona last time out.

The home side dominated play throughout but it looked like being a frustrating day. Poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Aitor Fernandez meaning several good chances went begging.

Levante had offered nothing in an attacking sense and with just four minutes remaining the stalemate was broken. Jesus Navas, who had been a threat all game, planted a ball on to Luuk De Jong’s head and Fernandez was finally beaten.

Sevilla moves to 6th, continuing their up and down season start. Levante, on the other hand, drops to 11th.

Deportivo Alaves 2 x 0 Celta Vigo

It’s fair to say neither Alaves or Celta Vigo have been flying this season, so the game was hardly set up to be a classic and that’s how it proved. Celta thought they’d opened the scoring early on with Iago Aspas setting up strike partner Santi Mina but VAR confirmed that Aspas had strayed offside. 

At the other end, Joselu hit the bar from four yards for the hosts and, although he should have scored, the ball was fizzed in at a – perhaps – not ideal height.

Within a few minutes of the restart, Joselu was in the thick of it again, this time flicking a header towards Ruben Blanco’s top corner but the Celta Vigo keeper tipped over.

The corner that followed though brought the opener, Lisandro Magallan powering a header beyond Blanco for 1-0. Things remained tight until 82 when Alaves capitalized on some loose Celta passing and Lucas Perez lashed home a cut back from Aleix Vidal to secure the win.

Alaves leave the relegation places and come to 14th, while Celta is dangerously close to the bottom.

Espanyol 0 x 1 Villarreal

After four league matches without a win Espanyol, who had new gaffer Pablo Machin in the dugout for the first time, faced off with Villarreal. This was a game that had cast doubts on happening until the whistle, with the riots in Catalunya putting it on hold.

In the end, the match was underway, when the security conditions were assured. However, the match did not start well for Espanyol.

Ruben Pena teased his way into the area and his low ball ricocheted everywhere but to safety inside the six-yard box. Karl Toko Ekambi gobbled the chance up to make 0-1 for Villarreal.

Espanyol struck the crossbar through Jonathan Calleri’s header after a pacey cross from Matias Vargas. Then, in the second period, Vargas himself stung the hands of Villarreal keeper Sergio Asenjo from a tight angle following an indirect free kick.

Asenjo was again called into action, this time from a glancing Esteban Granero header as Espanyol threw everything at the game.

The display was a positive one for Espanyol but, ultimately, performances mean nothing without points.

Villarreal climbs to 7th with this win, while Espanyol is 19th.

Athletic Bilbao 1 x 1 Real Valladolid

Valladolid came into this game knowing home advantage made Athletic Bilbao the favorites. Yet, they could – and probably should – have taken the lead.

Yeray Alvarez was guilty of a poor touch and then a slip and Enus Unal raced clear. He lacked the composure to beat Unai Simon who stood his ground well. If Unal needed a lesson in cool-headed finishing then Bilbao forward Inaki Williams showed him how it was done on 33.

Williams took down a long ball before showing strength, power and, unlike Unal, the ability to find the net under pressure to give his side a 1-0 lead.

The home side was comfortable with their noses in front but a comical mistake from Simon between the sticks saw Real Valladolid fortuitously level with 20 minutes remaining.

A weak cross was delivered from the left flank and Simon dropped his catch onto the shoulder of Inigo Martinez. The ball bounced over the line for 1-1.

Athletic is 8th and Valladolid is 12th.

La Liga is back on the next weekend, even though the Clasico will not be played yet. Still, there are many more reasons to tune in. Check the current La Liga table and La Liga schedule on SoccerAntenna!

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