Barcelona’s winning streak came to a close against an obstinate Atletico, but Valencia keep on making waves in La Liga with free-scoring football
Luis Suárez brought down Atleti’s wall (1-1)
It is actually amazing that the Atletico crowd joyfully celebrated a draw. After all, they’re a traditionally noisy lot, demanding with their players but also incredibly grateful when they see their team performing at the peak of its capacity.
Against LaLiga’s leaders, though, the Colchonero side only had survival in mind. Saúl Ñíguez’s opener in the 21st minute prepared the terrain for a wild evening.
Barça tried absolutely everything to score. They created chances, circled Atleti’s box and tested Jan Oblak consistently, but the keeper was touched by magic. The second half was as unbalanced as anyone could remember when these two teams have clashed. In the nick of time, Luis Suarez managed an opportunistic header to bag the equalizer. The Wanda Metropolitano suddenly went silent. And fear began peeking its ugly head within the stadium when Leo Messi had a free-kick just outside the box. Fortunately for them, his strike went straight into Oblak’s chest.
Heart-stopping game in Benito Villamarín: Valencia are formidable again (3-6)
Valencia have yet to lose a single game. In their dramatic toe-to-toe against Betis, Marcelino’s team didn’t mind handing the ball to the opposition. With possession and a clear game plan in hand, Quique Setién’s side attacked Neto Murara’s goal, but Betis efficiency wasn’t up to the task. With the pieces of the puzzle perfectly arranged, Valencia began its demolition: a header by Geoffrey Kondogbia and a fantastic strike by sensational Gonçalo Guedes put Betis on the mat just before half-time.
Still dizzy from both blows, Betis didn’t recover until the opening minutes of the second half. But with Dani Parejo commanding the game in midfield, Rodrigo headed in the 0-3 and lucky Santi Mina scored the fourth. With fifteen minutes to go, Betis were destroyed. But, alas, things were about to change in just five minutes: Joel Campbell took advantage of a passing mistake, Sanabria dribbled past Neto, and Cristian Tello scored a beauty inside the box. Suddenly, it was a 3-4 game. Fortunately for the Valencianistas, Simone Zaza and Andreas Pereira (again, a beautiful goal) polished-off the game and sent their team straight into second in LaLiga.
Cristiano saves the day again for a struggling Madrid (1-2)
Madridistas are used to these type of fixtures. Games where the local team over-performs, Real under-performs and ultimately matters get settled with a late Cristiano goal that allows his side to stroll away with the three points. They’re used to playing within that fine, fine margin that separates success from failure. They are, let’s face it, the best at what they do.
Las Palmas comes crashing down in Ayestarán’s bench debut (2-5)
Pako Ayestarán lived through a nightmare in his first game as manager of the Canary Island side. Celta de Vigo completely obliterated them with an eye-catching display of great football and effectiveness. Iago Aspas left with a hat-trick that he dedicated to the people suffering the gigantic fires that are blighting Galicia. The 0-5 scoreboard was humiliating in the 90th minute, so Vitolo Machín and Remy pressed to make the score a bit tidier for the local side, who were booed and whistled by their fans on a terrible Monday night.
Málaga sinks after another loss against Leganés (0-2)
One point from the first 24 available. Another poor showing by Míchel’s side at home was cunningly taken advantage of by a sparkling Leganés, which has a much clearer idea of what they need this season and how to achieve it: they have only conceded three goals so far, and with skilled players such as Gabriel Pires or Szymanowsky they shouldn’t have problems remaining in LaLiga one more year. Málaga, meanwhile, reeks of promotion. Worst team this season, hands down.