Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Latest Football News and Opinions From 90 Minutes Online

Robbie Keane, are you watching?

In this week's Liga review... - 


Back to Betis for Ricardo Oliveira with his debut (No.2!) derby matchwinner. Back to basics for Real with another 1-0 victory and back to their best for Atletico's Agüero & Forlan under new boss Resino . 


Madrid, first to play this week, faced difficult opposition from an in-form Racing Santander side who had tested Barcelona to the maximum last week. 



Madrid dominated a goalless first-half before Higauin grabbed the only goal of the game just after halftime but Racing (and Pereira in particular) made life difficult for Madrid later on, and had the referee been a less leniant on the at times brutal back four of Madrid it could have been a different story. 


Still, it might not be pretty right now at the Bernabeu but it's certainly effective - this marking Real's 7th consecutive victory! 


Barcelona needed a victory then at Sporting on Sunday to ensure their 12 point lead stayed intact, and they got off to a great start on 23 minutes when Iniesta - in a run reminiscent of Theo Walcott's in last year’s Champions League clash with Liverpool - ran box to box before dishing to Henry on the left to center for the onrushing Eto'o.  


Eto added a second on 39 minutes to take his tally to 21 for the season and Dani Alves grabbed a third a half hour later skipping wide of his marker in the box and then smashing a thundering shot into the roof of the net from close range. Kike Mateo scored for Gijon moments later though from a well placed shot from the edge of the box but 3-1 was how it ended up at the Camp Nou.  


The only bad news for Barça and Spain fans was that Carlos Puyol sustained a muscle strain that will see him miss the Spain-England friendly on Wednesday. However his teammate Gerard Pique could well take his place in the Spanish backline. 


There were further set backs for the 3rd and 4th placed teams this week as Sevilla lost 2-1 at home in their Seville derby with Betis, and Valencia lost away at Pamplona 


The stalemate was broken in Seville (where England meet Spain midweek) after a red card for Sevilla's Duscher opened sufficient space on the pitch for Sergio Garcia to latch on to a long ball and put Betis ahead. Then in a ‘Robbie Keane’ dream come true, returning hero Ricardo Oliveira added a second on 83 minutes that was to be the eventual match-winner.  


Oliveira - re-signed just recently from second division Zaragoza - achieved legendary status at the club by scoring an amazing 29 goals in 49 matches in his previous stint there. His consequent move to AC Milan turned out to be a 'bad experience' for the 27-year-old Brazilian, however. After just 16 starts and 3 goals he was sold to Zaragoza where, although he re-found his scoring touch, he wasn't able to avoid relegation. And so his nightmare continued. 


But things look to be on the up now for Oliveira and Betis fans as Kanoute's injury time goal came too late for Sevilla to threaten and Betis held on for the win and 3 points that take them to the much more comfortable position of 14th.  


Miguel Flaño's second half goal was enough to ensure a home victory for Osasuna over a Valencia side who are now 3 months without a win away from home and whose season seems to be coming a little off the rails of late having crashing out of the 'Copa del rey' last week also. 


Chasing duo Atletico Madrid and Villareal both capitalized on their rivals losses though. Atleti's new boss Abel Resino got off to a flying start by beating Recreativo 3-0.  


Resino promised to push the defence up a little - a tactic that seemed to suit Kun Agüero and Forlan down to the ground as the pair combined delightfully for all 3 goals. However, Forlan had to be withdrawn with a twisted ankle later on, so no doubt Atléti fans will be hoping for his speedy recovery so that they can continue theirs. 


Villareal made harder work of their game, but 2 goals from Rossi were enough to overcome Numancia 2-1 and take them to level points with Valencia. 


Elsewhere, Salva - which translates as 'he saves' - did exactly as it says on his tin by scoring the 2nd and 3rd in his teams 3-2 win over Almeria. Almeria had been 2-0 up after goals from Uche (5 in 5 now) and Soldado, but Luque pulled one back just after halftime before the quickfire brace from Salva gifted Malaga all 3 points. 


Controversial penalty decisions enabled Deportivo to equalize at Mallorca in their 1-1 result, and  another gave Vallodollid the lead against Bilbao in a game they eventually won 2-1, whilst Getafe could only manage a 1-1 draw against 10 man Español. 


Spain Squad for England friendly:  

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Reina (Liverpool).

Defenders: Raul Albiol (Valencia),
Alvaro Arbeloa (Liverpool), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Juanito (Real Betis),Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona).

Midfielders: David Silva (Valencia),
Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Albert Riera (Liverpool), Marcos Senna (Villarreal).

Forwards: David Villa (Valencia), Daniel Guiza (Fenerbahce),
Fernando Torres (Liverpool), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao).

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