Football

Published on October 22nd, 2017 | by Paco Polit

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Super, sensational Valencia light the way in La Liga title chase

While Barcelona and Real Madrid put in competent but uninspiring performances in their weekend wins, Valencia continue to be the ones to watch in La Liga

Valencia keeps marveling the world with a magical showcase at home (4-0)

In undoubtedly the weekend’s most attractive game, Marcelino’s Valencia steamrolled over a poor Sevilla side in an amazing display of one-touch football, class and flair. However, matters were quite balanced in a first half where Valencia held the initiative and Sevilla were happy waiting on their side of the pitch.

Only future world star Gonçalo Guedes was able to push the game in his team’s favor with a riotous goal in the 44th minute, one of the most spectacular strikes of the season, straight into the angle.

With that slight advantage, Valencia drove a crowd-pleasing second half full of extraordinary football, great plays and a Guedes who buzzed amongst the rest of the players, with that magic touch only owned by truly special individuals. Italian ‘bomber’ Simone Zaza scored his eighth this season, Santi Mina got the 3-0 and again Guedes rounded-off the night with a classy finish in a tremendous beat-down of a Champions League team that, against the Bats, never stood a chance. Valencia remain in second in La Primera.

Another day at the office for a confident Barça (2-0)

When you pit LaLiga’s top dog, with seven wins out of eight against LaLiga’s worst team, the outcome is more than expected. Barcelona didn’t need to push as hard as usual to bag another easy win and stay on top with an impressive 25 points from a possible 27. Anyway, game recaps will have to point out that the first goal was as illegal as they come, with the ball crossing the line when Lucas Digne crossed for Gerard Deulofeu’s finish.

Regardless of that piece of football injustice, Málaga were never a threat in the umpteenth example of a team with no future ahead of them. One point to date is an awful, awful stat. Relegation-worthy, indeed. Manager Michel González doesn’t seem able to steer the ship to safety and Iniesta’s goal in the second half only meant another nail in the proverbial coffin for them. One wonders just how much more patience Málaga’s owner, Abdullah Nasser Al-Thani, will have with the coach; if he stalls on the decision, it may be too late to bounce back to safety.

Easy win for Madrid while Cristiano shows his desperation (3-0)

In a by-the-numbers fixture at El Bernabeu, Eibar threatened but ultimately didn’t leave a scratch on Real Madrid’s championship aspirations. The Armeros were unlucky to allow an own-goal, Marco Asensio got a nice strike and Marcelo finished off the opposition in the last ten minutes. Karim Benzemà didn’t get a goal in his tally sheet, but played at a consistent level that left Zidane quite pleased in the manager’s ongoing banter feud with former striker Gary Lineker.

All in all, a pretty unremarkable night for the Madridista side, with a clear frustration showing in Cristiano Ronaldo’s recurring failed attempts to score. The Portuguese star left the pitch with anger bumbling under the surface after a grey performance.

Little Leganés’ legendary start keeps surprising the world (1-0)

Fans and pundits alike keep rubbing their eyes week after week as Leganés keep on picking up points in their explosive race for securing their spot in LaLiga for next season. And, after nine games, their fifth place and seventeen points mean that they are already almost half-way towards their objective with only a quarter of the competition being played.

Their defense remains rock-solid (only three goals conceded) and, even if their scoring ability is quite limited (only eight goals), they always get the proverbial bang for their buck: Beauvue’s lonely strike was more than enough to defeat an awful Athletic Club. Speaking of the devil… Manager Cuco Ziganda is in a tough spot both in the standings and within the fanbase, only days away from a crucial game against Barcelona.

Villarreal spanks Las Palmas but Ayestarán didn’t do “anything” wrong (4-0)

Another Bakambú strike (he’s LaLiga’s top scorer, tied with Simone Zaza), an own goal and two nice finishes by Mario Gaspar and Sansone sent Las Palmas hurtling down the standings. In the yellow vs yellow duel, the Submarine managed to strengthen their position in the European spots. Meanwhile, new manager Pako Ayestarán angered Canary Island fans with his post-game presser, where he stated that he thought he hadn’t done “anything wrong” tactically and game-wise to deserve such a beating.

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About the Author

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Paco Polit is a Valencia-based journalist with over ten years experience reporting La Liga, covering both Valencia CF and Levante’s news, signings, ups and downs. Madrid and Barcelona are huge, indeed, but the Spanish La Liga is much, much more: regarded as the top football competition in the world, he enjoys explaining why to every reader from abroad.



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