Lionel Messi's ghost goal and more on this weeks La Liga Round Up!
Following a fantastic midweek for Spanish sides in Europe, five wins and two draw for the seven sides involved; it was back to domestic action with a bang.
This weeks La Liga action saw arguably the most exciting clash in Europe as the unbeaten top two went head to head at the intimidating surroundings of the Mestalla, with just four points separating the sides. And it did not disappoint.
Both teams on the face of it would be happy with the point in the end, but the 1-1 epic wasn’t without controversy. Lionel Messi, fresh from his bumper contract renewal, saw his first half strike initially saved and spilled by Neto, blatantly crossing the line but amazingly the officials were the only ones who didn’t see it.
Spain international Rodrigo, who also renewed his deal this week, opened the scoring following great wing play from Goncalo Guedes and the overlapping Gaya. Only for Messi to pull a rabbit out of the hat with a sublime pass over to top for Jordi Alba to equalize against his former club. Something only Messi could have produced.
Onto the chasing pack, and a late Ronaldo finish, following up from his own missed penalty, saw Los Blanco snatch all three points Real Madrid scraped a late 3-2 victory against struggling Malaga. The image of Marcelo falling to his knees said it all really as Malaga arguably deserved more from their trip to the capitol.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring poking home the rebound from Ronaldo’s effort before the visitors got themselves level through Rolan with just 18 minutes played. Casemiro’s bullet header three minutes later restored the lead for Zidane’s men The Albecelestes got back on level terms through a Chory long range effort on the 58th minute that Casilla should have done better with. The drama wasn’t done yet, as substitute Modric was fouled by Luis Hernandez inside the area. Up stepped Ronaldo, who saw his initial effort well saved, but Portuguese superstar made no mistake from the rebound to make it 3-2, making it nine goals in their last 2 games as the goals seem to beginning to flow again.
Speaking of goals flowing again, unbeaten Atletico Madrid smashed five past Levante, and in the process leap frog their cross town rivals in the league and into third. The striking partnership of Griezmann & Gameiro got a brace each as Simeone’s troops got their first win at Ciutat De Valencia in over a decade.
Los Rojiblancos were given the ideal start after five minutes through a Rober O.G. but after that it was all Atleti. It seemed as if “it” finally clicked in the final third, as the biggest conundrum of Cholo Simeone’s team this season, showed signs of finally clicking into place. Maybe a case of too little too late for the impressive Gameiro with the immanent arrival of Diego Costa on the horizon.
The early kick off saw Deportivo and Athletic Bilbao play out and hugely entertaining 2-2, with Schar netting a late equalizer for the hosts. But the most dramatic of scenes were found at Estadio Benito Villamarin where ex-Barca winger Christian Tello scored an incredible 95th minute equalizer to level at 2-2. Girona star Portu put the visitors ahead originally and just as it seemed the game was getting away from Betis, they netted in the 85th minute through Guardado. With a point a piece on offer as it stood, Portu thought he had snatched all three points, scoring his second of the game in the 94th minute. But Tello had other ideas somehow finding a yard of space on the edge of the box before drilling home another equalizer in the most dramatic of fashions.
A final thought goes to Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo who underwent surgery following his prostate cancer diagnosis. His side produced the second heroic comeback of epic proportions in a week, following the 3-0 reversal of Liverpool in the Champions League, going one better this time, taking all three points against Villareal after finding themselves 2-0 down. Clement Lenglet, Franco Vazques and Ever Benega sealed the enthralling deal following Carlos Bacca & Cedric Bakambu strikes that put the Yellow Submarine in the lead.