Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Spanish La Liga review - Records within reach as Barca and Real break away from the pack

The 4 goals put past Numancia on Saturday night took Barça's goal tally to 63 in just 20 games, meaning they are now well on course to break the 102 strikes Bobby Robson's Ronaldo spearheaded squad racked up in ‘97.  


Forty five of those sixty three (over 71%) have come from Eto'o (19),  Messi (14)  and Henry (12) and the sparkling trio were all over the scoreboard again on Saturday night, with Messi grabbing 2 and an assist. The Camp Nou did endure a goaless first fifty minutes in which Numancia had a goal disallowed, but within the hour they were two up, and 15 minutes later it was 4-1 and game-over. 




Real Madrid could perhaps be hoping Barcelona do match the feat of Robson’s side, seeing as they managed to snatch the title that year. But, nevertheless, Real were aspiring to theri own scoring record this weekend as Raul, with the only goal of the game, put himself within one of  Di Stefano's club goal scoring record of 307.   


The goal came just before half time with a glancing header from the flighted pass of Lassana Diarra, whose impressive start at the club looks to have won him the battle for the one available Champions league squad place. 


The other teams at the sharp end of the table all lost ground, however. Villareal, at home to Osasuna, went ahead early- Rossi catching Osasuna unawares by chesting Cazorla's firmly struck cross away from his markers before hooking it past keeper Roberto on the bounce. Unfortunately for the  'yellow submarines' they were later to be scuppered by a defensive error from former Arsenal defender Pascal Cygan, who allowed Dady through on goal to equalize.  


Atlético Madrid could also only manage a point at Malaga as their bad run of form continued. They fell behind to a wickedly deflected goal from Apoño but John Heitinga leveled matters just before halftime. However, despite good chances for both sides late on, 1-1 was how it remained. 


Sevilla and Valencia (perhaps distracted by their upcoming Copa Del Rey clash) fared even worse as they both conspired to drop all three points. Valencia's loss would perhaps appear the more suprising as in Mallorca they faced a side that hadn't won in more than 3 months - José Manuel Jurado's splendid performance and well taken brace helping Mallorca to the 3-1 win.  


Sevilla, however, although against stronger opposition, faced a 10 man Racing side for more than an hour on Sunday after Serrano¡s dismissal. Yet they were unable to avoid joining the growing list of teams to fall victim to the aerial threat of Zigic, who since his return to the Santander club has scored in nearly every game he's played in. 


Here he not only played a crucial part in their first goal - powering a far post header at goal that Palop could only claw out but into Navas's path - but he then went on to score their second too, again a header, but this one glanced in near post from a set piece. The result, after Athletico Bilbao also fell from grace this weekend, saw them leap frog them into 9th place. 


The Basque team's impressive 9 game unbeaten run finally came undone at the hands of Almeria. Athletico fans probably thought they'd been let off the hook when Negredo's rasping shot thundered off the crossbar on 25 minutes, but instead Ortiz showed great awareness and anticipation to head the deflection back past keeper Iraizoz.  Another Uche strike just before half-time (his 4th in 3 weeks) put Almeria even further in front, but despite a late goal for Del Olma, Bilbao just weren't able to claw their way back into this one. 


Getafe, in contrasting fortune, saw a spectacular reversal of their worst ever run since joining La Primera División by thumping Sporting Gijon 5-1, thanks in no small part to the hatrick heroics of subsitute Soldado. Soldado had only came on after an injury to forward Manu forced the Madid teams hand but he wasted no time, as within a minute he'd already latched onto a through ball to put Getafe 1-up. He capped his hatrick and his teams scoring from the penalty spot on 70 minutes. 


Meanwhile Vallodollid thwarted Español's efforts to rise from the relegation places after the two teams drew 1-1. Betis slipped further towards the dreaded drop zone after Recreativo's Camuñas grabbed the headlines and all three points with another spectacular goal, this one a header taken at full flight and looped into the far corner from distance.

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