La Liga’s showpiece occasion did not fail to deliver the drama as Sevilla showed themselves to be comeback kings twice in a week
Emotional rollercoaster in Mestalla with shocking ref mistakes (1-1)
Barcelona showed everyone they are deservedly the current top dog in La Liga and Valencia proved their resilient nature when both titans went toe-to-toe in a supercharged Mestalla stadium, with an atmosphere unseen for many years. In front of a sell-out crowd, Valverde’s men were better in the first half, but it was Valencia who grabbed the opener. Jordi Alba, with ten minutes to go, leveled the game.
The match began with a heart-warming full minute of applause from the fans in loving memory of former president Jaume Ortí, who passed away early this week after battling lung cancer. Such a beloved icon made the game even more emotional, especially after Rodrigo Moreno scored and celebrated with the legendary orange wig that the president made famous in the most prolific years of Valencia’s modern history (2002-2004).
However, most of the saucy banter during and after the match was due to an unfortunate and plainly unexplainable call by the referee Iglesias Villanueva: a Messi missile was clumsily stopped by Neto Murara, the ball bounced under his legs and clearly went over the goal line.
None of the match officials saw it, although the crowd collectively gasped at the play and sighed after the wrong call. Ernesto Valverde, in a class act after the game, shrugged off the incident and remembered that, earlier this season, Barça benefitted from a similar play. A true gentleman.
Madrid makes the most of another lackluster evening (3-2)
Usually, hosting one of the worst three teams in the table should be a piece of cake for a team as huge as Real Madrid. Not this current version of the Bernabeu side, though. Real suffered a great deal to break Málaga down, and only managed to defeat them after Cristiano’s penalty goal. Earlier, Benzemà had added another strike to his increase his morale and, after Rolan’s excellent equalizer, Casemiro’s swift header was the 2-1 before the half time.
In the second period, Chroy Castro took advantage of a huge mistake by Kiko Casilla to deliver a powerful strike from outside the box and draw the game once again. While Cristiano’s frustration grew greater, goalkeeper Roberto excelled with a number of impossible saves, but ultimately the Portuguese was able to score with twenty minutes to go. And, due to the draw hours later between Valencia and Barça, Los Blancos are two points closer to their prey in the standings.
Levante’s ‘Thanksgiving’ stuffed Atleti’s sack with plenty of goals (0-5)
In one of the most horrendous defensive performances of the past few years, Levante managed to deliver plenty of gifts to Atletico’s forwards in the easiest game Simeone’s men have played in many months.
The French duo, Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro, left the Ciutat de Valencia stadium with a brace apiece and with a grin on their faces after such a defending horror show. The opening goal was scored by defender Rober Pier: never has an own-goal had a bigger symbolical value of how little the home team deserved a chance to compete in the game.
Sevilla wows Villarreal with the second comeback of the week (2-3)
Last Tuesday, Sevilla shocked everyone after performing an amazing comeback in the second half against Liverpool, neutralizing a tough 0-3 in the first half and with a final draw that sent their crowd skyrocketing into pure bliss. Minutes later, it was made public that their manager, Eduardo ‘Toto’ Berizzo, was suffering from prostate cancer.
Days later, Sevilla were getting once again trounced on Villarreal’s turf (2-0 with goals by Bakambu and Carlos Bacca) when football magic turned the game upside down. Lenglet and Franco ‘Mudo’ Vázquez equalized the game in a two-minute window, and a clear foul inside the box was turned converted by Ever Banega into the final 2-3. Berizzo, meanwhile, will undergo surgery on Tuesday.
The ‘De Biasi’ effect fizzles out in Vitoria (1-2)
Eibar snatched the three points in their visit to Mendizorroza with goals by Jordán and Charles. Burgui’s late 91st minute goal wasn’t a cause for concern. After having a strong impact initially, Gianni De Biasi was been unable to turn around Alaves’ luck, and they stand on the last spot with only 6 points out of 39 to date. It was no wonder that the Italian was laid off the following morning.