La Liga: Matchday 5 Round-up
By Xoel Cardenas
Mallorca continued to impress, Barcelona remained top though not without a fight but the big talking point was Real Madrid being forced to wait an extra day because of sabotage as the fifth round of La Liga games took place over the weekend.
Jose Mourinho’s team, under huge pressure after a wretched start to the season by their own high standards, were due to kick off at Rayo Vallecano at 9.30pm local time Sunday but the game was dramatically called off after vandals cut the wires of the floodlights.
The stadium was plunged into semi-darkness and fans were still waiting outside when it became clear the lights could not be fixed in time. The game was postponed to tonight even though Real wanted it played during the day.
Real Zaragoza 3 – 1 Osasuna
A match plagued by terrible refereeing got off to a quick start as Helder Postiga finished superbly after four minutes, Zaragoza's first home goal of the season. Daniel Arementeros scored an even better equaliser after a fabulous run and shot, having been given far too much space. It was Osasuna's first away goal of the season but just before halftime, an own goal restored Zaragoza’s lead. Apoño made it 3-1 for the home side from the penalty spot after Lolo had tripped Jose Maria Movilla to round off a deserved win and leave Osasuna with four defeats out of five.
Real Betis 1 – 0 Espanyol
The game was settled after 19 minutes through Paulão as the Brazilian headed past Espaynol keeper Cristian Alvarez from Beñat’s set-piece. Beñat had a great chance to make it 2-0 but skied the ball wide. Espanyol came close to levelling in the second half as several chances went begging including a shot from Simão Sabrosa that came back off the bar. Ruben Castro had a chance to extend Betis' lead on 65 minutes only for Espanyol defender Rodriguez to sweep the ball from under his feet. Things got worse for the visitors a minute later when Wakaso Mubarak received a straight red for a dangerous challenge, his second dismissal in just five games. The win lifted Real Betis to third while Espanyol remain bottom with just a point.
FC Barcelona 2 – 0 Granada
Barcelona extended their La Liga lead by overcoming a scrappy Granada. Man of the match was Granada goalkeeper Toño who was nothing short of miraculous. The visitors almost stunned the crowd on the counter-attack, however, first through Youseff El-Arabi, then Fabian Orellana who fluffed a one-on-one with Victor Valdes. It was going to take something special to beat Toño on the night and Xavi provided it in the 88th minute, firing in from just outside the box with a bullet shot that went in off the bar. A Borja Gomez own goal in stoppage time secured the points but Tito Vilanova’s Barca were a pale shadow of their normal selves.
Celta de Vigo 2 – 1 Getafe
Getafe suffered their second consecutive loss, holding out until falling behind in the 57th minute as Michael Krohn-Dehli’s pass was converted by Augusto Fernandez. Diego Castro found Abdel Barrada in the six-yard box for an immediate equalizer, only for substitute Park Chu-Young—on loan from Arsenal— to snatch the winner and move his team up to 10th.
Mallorca 2 – 0 Valencia
Mallorca continues to be the surprise package of the season through five rounds as they shut out Valencia. Victor Casadesus gave them the lead courtesy of a howler by keeper Diego Alves who allowed the ball to slip under his body. Valencia surged forward thereafter creating several chances only to fall further behind in the 55th minute through Javier Arizmendi’s half-volley. Valencia continued to press but found Mallorca keeper Dudu Aouate in great form. The result moved Mallorca up to second, undefeated at home.
Levante 2 – 1 Real Sociedad
Levante came from behind after David Zurutuza’s long-range shot past a diving Gustabo Munua gave the visitors a 23rd-minute lead. On 69 minutes, Inigo Martinez fouled Nabil El Zhar inside the box and Jose Barkero smoothly stroked home the penalty. The winner came 10 minutes from time as former Newcastle man Obafemi Martins hit a powerful low shot into the net. It rounded off a great week for Levante after winning in the Europa League.
Atletico Madrid 2 – 1 Real Valladolid
A rainy day in the Spanish capital didn’t hinder the brilliant Radamel Falcao or his team at the Vicente Calderon. Diego Godin opened the score with a gorgeous chip and Falcao, otherwise known as “El Tigre” , doubled the lead just before halftime by drilling home a penalty for his fifth goal of the season. Valladolid pulled one back when Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois allowed an Alberto Bueno shot to slip through his wet fingers but the hosts held on comfortably to make it five straight wins in all competitions.
Malaga 0 – 0 Athletic Bilbao
A game that was expected to see plenty of goals turned out to be anything but. Fernando Llorente came on for Bilbao in the second half but even he couldn’t find the net in an uninspiring encounter.
Sevilla vs. Deportivo La Coruña: Monday night
Deportivo will look to move into fifth with a win as they host Sevilla. Los Rojiblancos come off a hard-fought win against Real Madrid last week.