La Liga Roundup, Gameweek 26: Real Madrid Hold the Lead in Spain

Real Madrid top La Liga after finishing all-square with Atletico Madrid in the city derby. Carlo Ancelotti’s men are just a point ahead of Barcelona, who won at home against lowly Almeria, while Atleti trail the Catalans by two points.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck eight minutes from time to secure a 2-2 draw for Real Madrid in a pulsating capital city derby against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon. Atleti had looked on course for a win over their neighbours after first-half strikes from Koke and Gabi had put them ahead following Karim Benzema’s early opener for Los Blancos. But Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo lashed home his 22nd Primera goal of the season in the 82nd minute to deny Atletico’s hopes of completing a league double over their more illustrious rivals for the first time since 1951, having defeated them at the Bernabeu 1-0 earlier in the season.

Barcelona defeated Almeria 3-1 at Camp Nou despite another lacklustre performance against the Andalusian strugglers. Alexis Sanchez put the Catalans ahead on nine minutes and Lionel Messi double the lead on 24 minutes with a masterful free kick. Almeria battled their way back into the game and Angel Trujillo took advantage of some dreadful marking to head home a corner before the half-hour mark. With Barca dominating possession but seemingly devoid of ideas, Carles Puyol made the game safe from close range and Xavi Hernandez added a fourth with a fine finish from outside the box with two minutes remaining.

Aritz Aduriz kept Athletic Bilbao on course for a Champions League place with a hat-trick in a comprehensive 4-0 win over Granada at San Mames. The striker headed home the opener from Andoni Iraola’s right-wing cross after just seven minutes and fired in a fine 20-yard second to put the hosts in total command inside 20 minutes. He then won the penalty which earned defender Diego Mainz a red card and completed his treble in the 73rd minute. Carlos Gurpegi sealed the win, which leaves fourth-placed Athletic six points clear of Villarreal.

Villarreal lost ground to Athletic as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to basement side Real Betis. The Yellow Submarine looked set to take all three points when Bruno Soriano gave them the lead from the penalty spot on 70 minutes, but the game changed 10 minutes later when Uche Ikechuwku was sent off for a second booking. Betis were able to take advantage of having an extra man and Ruben Castro headed in the equaliser shortly after Ikechukwu’s dismissal. The draw gave Betis their first point five league games, but they remain 11 points from safety.

Programming note: For viewers in the United States, La Liga games are shown exclusively on beIN SPORT, beIN SPORT Espanol and DishWorld. Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to beIN SPORT, you can access those channels via online streaming service DishWorld for $10/month. Read our review of DishWorld. And sign up for DishWorld via their website.

Sevilla earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with substitute Kevin Gameiro’s second-half strike proving the ultimate difference between the two teams. The French striker picked up Carlos Bacca’s cross from the left and slotted home a close-range shot on 77 minutes. La Real remain sixth, a point behind Villarreal as Unai Emery’s side moved up to seventh.

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One Response

  1. Pakapala March 2, 2014

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