This week Atletico Madrid’s performance in their home game against Rayo was every bit as comprehensive and onesided as Barcelona’s match with Levante last week. Barcelona meanwhile received a helping hand at Malaga and Athletic made it two wins from two in their home away from home Basque derby fixture with Osasuna.
Starting at San Sebastien where Athletic ferried in, free of charge, an epic rent-a-crowd with around 300 coaches laid on for the Bilbao fans to make the 90 plus km trip. This was their first home fixture and with best part of 20,000 at the Anoeta, Los Leones should have been comfortable in their surroundings. However contrary to the result they didn’t have it all their own way with Osasuna enjoying dominant spells in the game. In fact it was Osasuna’s central defender Arribas who scored the first goal, albeit in his own net. A precise ball up the Bilbao right wing was taken on by Susaeta, who made his way into the box before crossing low and hard across the face of goal, with a sliding Arribas stretching to clear, the defender met the ball and unfortunately poked it past a stranded Fernandez into the Osasuna goal. Athletic did however manage to create a goal for themselves on 82 minutes wrapping up the points with it. Play was broken up deep in their own half as the visitors pushed forward, Aduriz an outlet on the left wing surged forward before sliding a pin point pass with the outside of the boot, alluding almost the entire back four, into the step of the charging De Marcos. He took a touch and coolly finished to the keepers left thereby maintaining a perfect start to the Bilbao club’s season.
In Friday’s other game Getafe faced Almeria with both clubs looking to secure their first points of the season. The home side had already worked the visiting keeper Esteban through left footed efforts from Pablo Sarabia, before Almeria scored first on 30 minutes. Getafe clearly hadn’t taken notes as minutes before the visitors moved through the centre right and Aleix Vidal saw his angled shot go wide of the left hand post. In an almost identical move however Rodri opened the scoring this time firing home, off the inside of the post. Within a minute though the home side were level with more good work from Sarabia crossing from the right for the hirsute Lafita to glace home. Parity didn’t last though as It was Almeria again who capped a goal laden six first half minutes in regaining the lead shortly after. A tame Vidal effort goalwards saw the ball rebound off two defender’s legs and into the path of Soriano who shot past the keeper from right of the penalty spot. It was Soriano again who worked the keeper from the edge of the box as Almeria finished the half off strongly. In a second half in which Almeria increasingly looked the more likely to increase their lead creating several openings, it was Lafita who again came to Getafe’s rescue, this time earning his team a penalty. Diego Castro just about squeezed the ball into the net, on the second attempt, securing a point apiece that will on balance leave La Liga’s new boys frustrated for a second week running.
On Saturday Elche got off to a flying start against a Real Sociedad who would have been confident of picking up all 3 points. A scrambled poke home by Coro with a minute gone, following a corner that La Real failed to deal with served to intensify the home support. The home side continued to make the better openings against a labouring Sociedad and it seemed Elche would pick up their first win of the season. However a lack of concentration in defence saw Carlos Vela unmarked and able to salvage a point with a right footed strike following some good work down the right by substitute Xabi Prieto. La Real finished the stronger with Vela and Granero both going close but points were shared.
3 has regularly been the magic number for Valencia in terms of end of season ranking, however it was less magic for Los Che at Espanyol. Despite a bright start from the hosts they found themselves 1 down following Helder Postiga’s 10th minute opener. That was as good as it got for Djukic’s men as they failed to find any rhythm. Espanyol came from behind last week at Celta and again showed resolve but in truth they were the better side throughout the game. Goals from David Lopez, Christian Stuani and a late strike from substitute Thievy Bifouma rounded the points up for Aguirre’s side.
Villarreal wrapped up the points in the late kick off. Some disgruntlement from the terraces at the late start to the game was surely offset with a second victory. Long serving midfielder Cani and new signing Gio Dos Santos helped the Yellow Submarine to come from behind after Javi Guerra had set up Real with an early lead.
Is there a better, more assertive, exciting team in European football at the moment than the Rojiblancos of Madrid? We’ll probably get a better understanding when they travel to Camp Nou for the 2nd leg of the Supercopa. However their display at the Vicente Calderon suggested that at the moment they’ll give anyone a game. Rayo Vallecano were dismantled by Atletico with a brace from Raul Garcia, Diego Costa, Arda Turan and Tiago all scoring.
Levante will no doubt be satisfied with a clean sheet following last week’s demolition at Barca. Although Sevilla were the better of the teams in Valencia, neither team could break the deadlock in the weekend’s only scoreless result.
Barcelona enjoyed another win but unlike last weekend, had to work hard for the points. Bernd Schuster’s Los Boquerones are predictably very organised if less than expansive in their approach. However it was an error by keeper Caballero as he failed to get a strong hand to a curling Adriano left foot drive from the right of the area, that gave the points to Barca. Martino again left Neymar on the bench instead choosing to play with Sanchez and Pedro.
Betis need to improve on this result at home to Celta Vigo. Pepe Mel’s side found themselves 2 goals down before Ruben Castro scored in the 90th minute. Luis Enrique’s Celta scored 2 for a successive week with Charles and Nolito on 67 and 74 minutes respectively. The only blot for Celta was Borja Oubina’s red card, shown on 90 minutes for the visitors.