La Liga recap time!
The return of Leo Messi was all the talk pre-game but Quique Setien and his band of party poopers had different ideas, one of which was to do something that hadn’t been done in 15 years and that was to score an impressive four goals at the Camp Nou.
It wasn’t just the haul of four goals but the manner of how the damage was done, very Barca-esque in its manner, which drew praise from both opposing fans and players alike.
Betis, who had quite an indifferent start to the season, had started to show signs of really getting into gear up in recent weeks with impressive displays against A.C. Milan, could have considered themselves unlucky to just be two up at half time. The famous stadium and its players shell-shocked. Summer signing William Carvalho fed the brilliant Junior who cleverly beat Sergi Roberto to put his side in the lead after just 18 minutes. It was the turn of everybody’s favourite veteran, Joaquin to grab the headlines, scoring at the Camp Nou for the first time since the 2004/2005 season!
The second half exploded with a fired up Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez looking to drag their side back into the game. Messi confidently dispatched a penalty before a rare mistake from the usually reliable Ter Stegen, dropping Lo Celso’s shot and it was 3-1 in the blink of an eye. The mayhem wasn’t done just yet. Messi put it on a plate for Arturo Vidal to make it 3-2, but the joy was short lived. Ivan Rakitic saw red before ex-Real Madrid man Sergio Canales made it 4-2, seemingly wrapping up the 3 points. There was just enough time for Messi to grab a second before the final whistle and incredibly became the first game in which Messi has scored twice, that Barca went onto lose.
Probably the best description of the game came from Betis boss Setien, who is a loyal follower of the Cruff ethos which is ingrained in the DNA of FC Barcelona, saying: “they’ve been doing this for 25 years, laying a path; we’re just apprentices, trying to consolidate an idea.” Betis were brave in their approach, playing a high line, making life uncomfortable for the home side and committed in both their ideas and numbers when attacking, fully deserving of the three points.
Elsewhere, in one of the most drama and goal filled weekends (33 in total), saw an almost immobile Diego Godin snatch all three points from a devastated Athletic Bilbao side. The warrior centre back was injured with 15 minutes to go, barely able to move, and with no substitutions left, took it upon himself to go and play an a centre forward. The gamble paid off as he netted in the 91st minute winner in another topsy turvy thriller. Inaki Williams who netted twice was almost in tears at full time, stating that he felt “Football is not fair.”
Santi Solari’s fourth win on the spin, 4-2 away at Celta, ensured that just four points separate the top six in a quite incredible La Liga season. A win that looks to have cemented Solari’s position in the dugout for the remainder of the season. Alaves and Espanyol continue their remarkable start to the season and stay in the mix, sitting fourth and fifth respectively despite the latter going down 2-1 away at Sevilla.
THE story of the season has to be Alaves, showing grit and determination to come from behind against newly promoted Huesca, who led through Moi Gomez, to grab all three points and stay joint second level on points with Sevilla and Atletico.
Levante 1 – Real Sociedad
Getafe CF 0 - 1 Valencia
Girona 0 – 0 Leganes
Barcelona 3 – 4 Real Betis
Sevilla 2 – 1 Espanyol
Valladolid 0 – 0 Eibar
Atletico Madrid 3 – 2 Ath. Bilbao
Alaves 2 – 1 Huesca
Rayo Vallecano 2 – 2 Villareal
Celta Vigo 2 – 4 Real Madrid