Real Madrid increase their lead to four points at the top of the Spanish league after a superb 1-5 win over Valencia. Madrid have now scored five on visits to two of the better teams in Spain: Valencia and Villarreal, while they seem to have problems against the weaker teams. Rivals Barcelona could do no better than a 1-1 draw at Valladolid’s José Zorrilla stadium.
Valencia sacked their coach Quique Sanchez Alvaro on Monday, and just hours before the game they agreed terms with Ronald Koeman to take over. It all made no difference to Madrid who took the lead through Raul after just 40 seconds. Valencia never recovered from this early blow and Madrid took full advantage with two goals from Van Nistlerooy and another from Sergio Ramos before half time.
Schuster decided to play Diarra and Gago in front of the defence and gave Guti a freer role, the team improved considerably on previous performances. In the second half the rythym dropped at bit as Madrid decided to reserve energy for future games. Angulo pulled one back for Valencia before Madrid got their fifth through Robinho who continues his excellent form of late.
Barcelona are still struggling away from home. Yesterday at relegation candidates Valladolid they created very few chances. Valladolid took an early lead when Llorente got in front of Carles Puyol to beat Valdés. Ronaldinho equalized just before half time after receiving an assist from Xavi. Seventeen-year-old Bojan Krkic, who replaced the injured Thierry Henry, was one of Barça’s better players and he hit the post in the second half. But it was Valladolid who created more chances and Valdes needed to make three late saves to keep Barça in the game. For a full report go to http://fcbnews.com/valladolid-1-barca-1/
The best game of the day, and probably of the season so far, saw Atletico Madrid take on Sevilla at the Calderon. Maniche gave the home team the lead in the first minute after a mistake from Dani Alves. Luis Fabiano equalized on 14 minutes, but Atletico regained the lead two minutes later when Kun Agüero pounced for his sixth goal of the season after Palop had saved a fine shot from Luis Garcia. Sevilla drew level just before half time when a cross from Alves was headed into his own goal by Ze Castro.
Atletico kept pressing and in the 69th minute they were rewarded with a superb goal; a fine combination involving several players ended with Reyes finding Agüero, the Argentinian provided a sublime cross with the outside of his right foot to Maxi Rodriguez who had to leap and stretch to finish acrobatically at the far post. In the 90th minute Jurado made it 4-2, but there was still time for Luis Fabiano to score a third for Sevilla and it ended 4-3. Atletico now move above Valencia into a Champions League place.
Villarreal continue in third place after easily beating bottom placed Levante 3-0. Guille Franco scored after just three minutes and then Rossi converted a penalty on 15 minutes. With the job done it was a stroll in the park for Villarreal, Cygan added a third goal in the second half. Levante still have only one point from ten games and the sorry record of three goals for, and twenty-three against.
Betis move perilously close to the relegation zone after getting stuffed 0-3 at home to Osasuna. Cruchaga, Dady and Vela scored the visitors’ goals. Betis coach Hector Cuper may have his days numbered if he doesn’t turn things around soon. One win from ten games is simply not good enough for a club as big as Betis.
Deportivo are another club who are used to being higher than their present position. They could only draw 1-1 at home to Mallorca despite playing for 50 minutes against ten men after Mallorca goalkeeper Moya was sent off. The excellent Dani Güiza scored his sixth goal of the season to put Mallorca in front and Depor equalized when Guardado converted the penalty awarded when Moya was sent off.
Getafe’s recovery continued with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. Two goals in the first half hour from Casquero and Uche gave Michael Laudrup’s team their third win in four games. Zaragoza won 0-1 at Almeria thanks to a late penalty from Diego Milito. Finally the games between Recreativo and Racing, and Espanyol and Murcia, both finished goalless.
Nic writes on the Barcelona blog.