La Liga Roundup, Gameweek 22: Atletico Madrid Top La Liga After Barca Loss

There was finally a shift at the top of La Liga as Atletico Madrid thrashed Real Sociedad to go top, while Barcelona were beaten by Valencia. Real Madrid were held to a draw by Athletic Bilbao and remain third.

Atletico Madrid went top of La Liga for the first time since 1996 after an impressive 4-0 victory against Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderon. Atleti dominated the first half as David Villa turned in a cut-back from Diego Costa to break the deadlock. It was the third goal in as many Primera games for Spain’s all-time top scorer, but he was substituted only a few minutes later with a thigh injury. La Real had the hosts under pressure after the break, but Diego Simeone’s side were lifted by the appearance of Diego Ribas from the bench, playing his first game since re-signing for the club on loan.

Diego Costa ran onto a through ball from Raul Garcia on the break and slotted into the bottom corner for the vital second goal and then Miranda powered in a header from a Koke cross to make it three. Three minutes from time, Ribas marked his return by shooting high into the net to cap a sensational night for Los Rojiblancos.

Ten-man Barcelona suffered their first home defeat of the season as Jordi Alba was sent off in a 3-2 loss to Valencia at Camp Nou. With Atletico Madrid winning, the result meant Barca were toppled from pole position in La Liga for the first time in 59 weeks. It looked to be business as usual when top scorer Alexis Sanchez gave Barca the lead in the seventh minute with his 13th goal of the season, but the Catalans let the game slip and went behind to goals from Dani Parejo and Pablo Piatti either side of half-time.

Lionel Messi responded quickly after the break by drawing La Blaugrana level from the penalty spot after Valencia skipper Ricardo Costa was adjudged to have handled, but Paco Alcacer scored a third for Los Che on 59 minutes and this time Barcelona had no answer. Dani Alves came close to scoring a late equaliser, but Jordi Alba capped a poor display at left-back by making things even harder for Tata Martino’s men when he was shown a second yellow card with 13 minutes remaining. The defeat was Barcelona’s first at Camp Nou since they lost to Real Madrid in 2012.

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