La Liga Roundup, Gameweek 9: Real Madrid Close In As Barca And Atletico Drop Points [VIDEO]
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both dropped points for the first time this season, while Real Madrid won to narrow the gap at the top of La Liga. As a result, Barca have a one-point lead over Atleti, with Los Blancos a further two points behind.
Leaders Barcelona saw their unblemished record fall as they were held to a 0-0 draw by struggling Osasuna at El Sadar. Tata Martino’s men dominated possession but failed to convert their few clear-cut chances with Cesc Fabregas guilty of spurning two golden opportunities when it seemed harder to miss. The resilient home side barely threatened Victor Valdes’ goal, but ultimately frustrated the champions to take a valuable point.
The draw meant Barca missed out on equalling Real Madrid’s record of nine wins at the start of the 1968-69 season. It was also their first failure to score in 65 La Liga games since a goalless draw with Villarreal in January 2012.
Atletico were unable to take advantage of Barca’s slip as they lost their own 100 per cent record in Diego Simeone’s 100th match in charge, going down 1-0 to Espanyol at Cornella-El Prat. The game’s only goal came early in the second half, when Atleti goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois deflected a cross from Juan Fuentes over the line.
Real Madrid took advantage of the top two stumbling, with a 2-0 win over Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos dominated the game but were denied numerous times by an inspired performance from visiting keeper Willy Caballero. Angel Di Maria broke the deadlock immediately following the restart, however, and Real Madrid made sure of the points in stoppage time when Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot after substitute Gareth Bale had been fouled by Weligton.
Villarreal lost ground on the top three to trail Real Madrid by five points after a 2-0 loss at San Mames against Athletic Bilbao. Mikel Rico put the Basques in front on 33 minutes and Aritz Aduriz doubled their lead two minutes later. It was only the second defeat of the season for the Yellow Submarine, whose cause was hardly helped when Bruno Soriano received his marching orders with a second yellow card at the end of the first half.
Real Sociedad secured their first away win of the season with a 2-1 win at Valencia. Antoine Griezmann put La Real ahead shortly before the break and Ruben Pardo doubled their lead on the hour. Dorlan Pabon pulled one back for Los Che in stoppage time, but it was a deserved win for Jagoba Arrasate’s men ahead of this week’s Champions League encounter with Manchester United.
Getafe continued their fine run of form with a 2-0 win at Granada, whose central defensive partnership endured a miserable time against Luis Garcia’s men. El Grana were reduced to 10 men after just half an hour when Pape Diakhate saw red and then Jeison Murillo deflected Pedro Leon’s cross into his own goal two minutes after half-time. Leon sealed the points for Getafe in the 55th minute with a strike from the edge of the area.
Sevilla looked set to continue their winning ways, but threw away a 2-0 lead at Valladolid. Carlos Bacca gave Unai Emery’s men the perfect start, slotting home in only the second minute, and Alberto Moreno extended their advantage on the half-hour. Sevilla maintained their two-goal cushion until nine minutes from time, when Manucho halved the deficit, before Patrick Ebert struck the equaliser for Valladolid.
First half goals from Manu del Moral and Fidel Chaves saw Elche to a third successive win with a 2-1 at Betis. Jorge Molina gave the Sevilla outfit hope of a recovery, pulling a goal back just before the break, but Los Franjiverdes were not even hampered by the dismissal of Domingo Cisma at the start of the second half and held on for the win.
The match between Celta Vigo and Levante looked to be heading for stalemate until the 88th minute, when Pape Diop grabbed the winner for Los Granotes to leave Celta one place off the bottom.
Almeria remain without a win after losing at home to fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano. The home side gained a numerical advantage when Rayo defender Saul received two second-half yellow cards, but it was the visitors who took the points when centre-back Alejandro Galvez headed in from a corner with 12 minutes remaining. Their sixth defeat in nine games leaves Los Rojiblancos three points adrift at the bottom of La Liga.