La Liga Roundup, Gameweek 17: Pedro’s Treble as Barca Hit Five

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both had to come from behind to win their respective matches in the final game week before the mid-season break. As a result, the two clubs remain level on points at the top of La Liga, with Barca edging ahead thanks to a marginally superior goal difference. Real Madrid stay five points behind the top two after beating Valencia, while Athletic Bilbao’s win over Rayo Vallecano keeps them in the final Champions League berth. Real Sociedad, who beat Granada, and Villarreal, who lost to Sevilla, occupy the two Europa League slots.

Barcelona found themselves 2-0 down after just 15 minutes at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez as defenders Sergio Escudero and Lisandro Lopez gave Getafe a shock lead against the champions. Barca responded in the best way possible, however, as Pedro Rodriguez hit a nine minute hat-trick to give La Blaugrana a half-time lead. Cesc Fabregas extended their advantage on 68 minutes and it was 5-2 when Fabregas scored his second from the spot with 18 minutes remaining after Pedro was fouled by Lopez.

Atletico Madrid overcame battling Levante 3-2 despite going a goal behind with less than two minutes on the clock as Andreas Ivanschitz stunned the Vicente Calderon with an early goal for the visitors. Diego Godin levelled with a header and Diego Costa put Atleti in front two minutes into the second half, but Pedro Rios’ fine solo effort on 57 minutes restored parity. Costa fired home a 77th-minute penalty, his 19th Primera goal this season, to preserve all three points for Diego Simeone’s men.

Valencia caretaker boss Nico Estevez saw his men put on a spirited display in an exciting game against Real Madrid at Mestalla, but they were defeated 3-2, despite some poor defending in Los Blancos’ backline. Angel Di Maria put Madrid ahead on 28 minutes, but Los Che hit back to level six minutes later through Pablo Piatti. Cristiano Ronaldo restored the visitors’ lead, only for Jeremy Mathieu to exploit a woeful Madrid defence to head a second equaliser for Valencia. The home side’s hopes of a point were dispelled, though, when substitute Jese Rodriguez grabbed the winner eight minutes from time.

Athletic Bilbao dominated their match with Rayo Vallecano at San Mames much more convincingly than the 2–1 scoreline suggests. Miko San Jose gave the Basques a 33rd minute lead, but Rayo bounced back to equalise after the break when Athletic’s defence failed to clear their lines and Alberto Bueno stabbed the ball home. Parity was short-lived, however, and Mikel Rico struck on 66 minutes to restore Athletic’s lead and seal the three points.

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