• Monday, 20 April 2009

    La Liga Round 31: Sevilla crumble in Valencia

    Almeria 2 Osasuna 1
    Espanyol 1 Racing Santander 0
    Real Betis 2 Sporting Gijon 0
    Valencia 3 Sevilla 1
    Valladolid 0 Villarreal 0
    Athletic Bilbao 0 Deportivo La Coruna 1
    Atletico Madrid 3 Numancia 0
    Getafe 0 Barcelona 1
    Malaga 1 Mallorca 1
    Recreativo Huelva 0 Real Madrid 1

    The weekend's big game was at the Mestalla where Valencia, who rather curiously (!) have started playing well since it was announced they were getting paid again, scored two late goals to down Sevilla who have now lost 2 on the trot. It had started well for the visitors after Julien Escude headed them in front, but things went downhill from there. First Adriano was sent off, then David Villa scored a penalty just before half time to level it up. Valencia pressed home their numerical advantage towards the end, Navarro handling in the area for Mata to convert their second penalty before Pablo made it 3-1. Valencia have now won four on the bounce and have closed the gap on Sevilla to five points.

    There were 1-0 wins for both the top 2 on Saturday. Barcelona could have scored a hatful at Getafe but found on-loan keeper Vladimir Stojković in top form, denying them with a number of good saves. In the end, a typical Lionel Messi goal from a jinking run as enough to deny Victor Munoz's strugglers, who are just four points above the drop. Recreativo remain third-bottom after Real Madrid, courtesy of Marcelo's second-half strike, beat them at the Nuevo Colombino. Recreativo have now lost four on the spin and are looking increasingly like relegation fodder.

    Villarreal's terrible form continues, just one win in four for the Yellow Submarine after their goalless draw in Valladolid (the hosts ending a run of three straight losses). Atletico Madrid took advantage to leapfrog them into fifth on Saturday evening with a commanding win over doomed Numancia. Second half goals from Ever Banega (he did something useful!), Diego Forlan (goal number 22 of the season) and Simao condemned the Sorians to a 5-point gap from safety.

    Two sides who looked in decent nick in January - Athletic and Racing - are in utter freefall at the wrong time of the season, Athletic have just one win in 6 following defeat to Deportivo while Racing gave Espanyol their second win in three with a limp performance at the Montjuic - just Los Pericos' 6th win of the season. An Achile Emana double sunk Sporting Gijon (their 20th defeat - miserable) which has given Betis an enourmous fillip - they are suddenly 10th after being unbeaten in 5. Almeria beat Osasuna 2-1 somewhat against the form book, and it was that man Negredo who got both for 19 goals this campaign.

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