Big city of Barcelona derby between the two main Clubs. RCD Espanyol hosted FC Barcelona & after 90 mins of intense Football battle the home team lost 0 - 1. A defeat under controversial circumstances that once again has Barcelona at the centre of the "referee decisions" debate.
The Barça goal ( & winner ) came in the 77th min from a penalty that Lionel Messi converted. A controversial decision that has Espanyol "steaming" because Neymar clearly hand-balled first before Espanyol player Javi Lopez touched the ball.
But there was more, Espanyol claimed a "clear penalty" in their favour & a goal ( disallowed), while Barcelona also claimed a penalty of their own. Lastly, Espanyol goalie Casillas received a red card late in the match. As you can read, tense stuff.
The three points to Barcelona, & another week of Spanish Sports media focusing on the referee decisions & not the Football. Said this, they keep themselves 2º on the Liga ladder just 1 point behind Atletico de Madrid.
Celta de Vigo hosted Sevilla FC & ended the visitors run of 6 victories with a 1 - 0 result. Celta de Vigo goalkeeper Yoel played an important role in his teams victory making some impressive interventions & saves during the match. The game was so even that the stalemate was only broken by a penalty given to Celta which Nolito converted in the 87th min.
Entertaining game of Football that could have seen it go also the way of Sevilla FC & could have had more goals.
Important victory by Atletico de Madrid away at the Athletic Club Bilbao "stronghold" of the "San Mames Stadium". A 1 - 2 final result that keeps Atletico de Madrid as Spanish League leader another week with a 1 point advantage over second placed FC Barcelona.
As expected Bilbao started strong & got themselves ahead early in the 6th min when Muniain got himself between the Atletico defenders & chipped over for the opening goal. Atletic de Madrid reacted & began to find their Football with spearhead Diego Costa equalizing in the 22nd min.
Counter-punching thereafter with Atletico de Madrid getting an upper hand thanks to their ever reliable goalkeeper Courtois who managed two game savers tonight. The visitors then were rewarded for their efforts in the 55th min when Koke headed in the second goal & the eventual winner. Koke who put in a grand game to help steer his team towards the three points. In the 86th min Bilbao went down to 10 men when Laporta saw a 2nd yellow ( red card ) fouling Diego Costa.
From an Atletico perspective, that only bad news was Diego Costa limping off late in the match. It could be an important injury ( awaiting diagnosis ) & loss as Atletico play FC Barcelona next week in the 1º st leg quarter-final game of the Champions League.
Real Madrid keeps in touch with Atletico de Madrid & FC Barcelona at the top of the Spanish Liga ladder after defeating follow city of Madrid Club Rayo Vallecano 5 - 0. A relative comfortable match with Real Madrid being effective with deadly counter-attacks. The game also worked to clean the image of some questioned players from the Sevilla FC loss, Gareth Bale & Carvajal being some of them, as both got onto the score-sheet, the former putting in a good match with pace, assistance & two goals (great second).
The goals for Real Madrid fell in the following order:
- Cristiano Ronaldo 15th min ( Bale assist ) , 1 - 0
- Carvajal 55th min ( Cristiano Ronaldo assist ) , 2 - 0
- Gareth Bale 68th min ( Di Maria assist ) , 3 - 0
- Gareth Bale 70th min ( a 70 mt run & goal ) , 4 - 0
- Alvaro Morata 78th min ( a curler shoot ) , 5 - 0