La Liga: Week 5 Six red cards, 33 goals and VAR controversy. Yes, after a mixed bag of results in Eu
League leaders Barcelona stuttered at home in a Catalan derby, as Girona gained a credible and deserved 2-2 draw at Camp Nou. One of Europe’s in form strikers Cristhian Stuani got a brace, and in doing so becoming the first player in the 21st century to register a double against both Real Madrid and Barcelona in the same calendar year. Leo Messi opened the scoring on his 423rd La Liga appearance – a new record for a non-Spanish player - with a tidy side footed finish from Arturo Vidals square ball and the Camp Nou faithful must have thought it was business as usual. Clement Lenlget, on his first start, saw red via VAR after a coming together with Pere Pons. The ex-Sevilla man looked to be fouled originally and the free kick was given in his favour. But the VAR team noticed that Lenglet’s elbow was high and in an unnatural position. Referee, Gil Manzano decided to give Lenglet his marching orders and no doubt a huge debate that will run and run on this game turning decision.
Stuani then stole the show, netting right on the stroke of half time as Barca sat deep looking to see out the half, going onto double his tally just six minutes after the break. Gerard Pique looked to make amends for his poor showing by going forward at every occasion and eventually got his reward, rising highest to nod the ball home after a good save by Bono initially – becoming Barca’s seventh different scorer this season already. In the end, both teams would have left the field with more than an ounce of frustration at not grabbing all three points but it ended 2-2 in a thrilling encounter.
Elsewhere around the league, there were massive wins for Sevilla at Levante, just the 6-2, as the Andalusians finally showed signs of clicking under new boss Pablo Machin. Wissam Ben Yedder helped himself to a hat trick with Daniel Carrico, Andre Silva and Pablo Sarbia all getting in on the act. Roger Marti and Moses Simon netted for the hosts who will look to brush this one off as soon as possible.
Alaves thumped La lIga new boys Rayo Vallecano 5-1 at the brilliantly named Campo de Futbol de Vallecas, who had Abdoulaye Ba sent off in the first half and Atletico Madrid got themselves back on track with a hard fought 2-0 victory at Getafe. Thomas Lemar was the main man as he opened his account for his new club and was an integral part in the opener, smashing a long ranged effort off the crossbar, bouncing down off the back of the helpless David Soria and into the net. Koke set up Lemar for a goal, which was definitely his, showing some excellent footwork to round Soria and slot home. Getafe, who hadn't lost since the opening day of the season, were a man down from the 67th minute after Ivan Alejo was sent off for a bad foul.
There was also a thriller at Balaidos as Real Valladolid rescued a point with a 95th minute equalizer thanks to Leonardo Suarez. Iago Aspas was on target in the fifth minute with Maxi Gomez doubling the lead on nine minutes. Oscar Plano reduced the deficit before half-time, and now Valladolidhad their tales up. Spanish International, Aspas put the hosts two goals to the good 10 minutes after half-time before Eres Unal pegged Celta back again. Both keepers made outstanding contributions in the latter stages of the match but Sergio Alvarez could do nothing about Suarez's equaliser with the last kick of the game
Real Madrid, temporarily went top of La Liga, got over the line eventually against one of their favoured opposition, Espanyol. Marco Asensio’s first half strike was enough against the club he spent the 2015/16 season on loan to. But the Madrid superstars didn’t have it all their own way, as Borja Iglesias hitting the bar. The Espanyol front man couldn’t hide his disappointment after the game (via ESPN). “We're furious [about losing], we had chances to score," Iglesias said. "I saw [Courtois] off his line and shot but it hit the crossbar. Maybe next time it will go in." Real Madrid are now level on points at the top of the table with Barcelona on 13 points.
Off the field, Los Blancos President Florentino Perez recently released plans of a massive €525 million redesign to the Bernabeau, which will in turn hopefully bring in an extra €150 million a season in revenue and make the iconic stadium “more modern, more secure”. The video is definitely worth sourcing on social media with the stadium hoping to boast a retractable roof and a 360 degree screen that will be visible to all fans in a very space age looking design. They're hoping work will begin early next year and could take three and a half years to complete.
Huesca 0-1 Real Sociedad
Eibar 1-0 Leganes
Getafe 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Levante 2-6 Sevilla
Real Betis 2-2 Ath. Bilbao
Rayo Vallecano 1-5 Alaves
Celta Vigo 3-3 Valladolid
Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol
Villareal 0-0 Valencia
Barcelona 2-2 Girona