Friday, April 03, 2020
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Real Madrid 1-0 Valencia

Juande Ramos' Madrid came roaring out of the blocks to kick start this week's round of La Liga. Only 3 minutes had passed when Robben recieved the ball wide-right, only to cut back on a clever diagonal path threading between 2 markers to the heart of the box where he laid the ball back for Higuain to score with an impressive finish with the outstep of his left boot . 


Former Chelsea defender Del Horno endured a long night at the tough task of marking Robben, but it was Valencia's Marchena who would suffer worst when in the 67th minute Robben drew a soft foul , that perhaps unfairly, resulted in a second yellow of the night and dismissal for the Spanish international. 


Madrid should then have made easy work of Valencia but instead Robben's increasing reluctance to pass, failure to finish chances (Van der Vaart and Higuain both hit the woodwork) and an espirited Valencia revival meant Madrid were made to see out the last quarter of an hour firmly on the back foot.  


Español 2-3 Atletico Madrid  

Meanwhile the Atleti side of Madrid, in typically dramatic fashion, ensured they'd enter the new year in the champions league positions with a 3-2 win at Español. The scoring was opened early again here with Maxi Rodriguez finding the net after connecting on to Agüero's assist. 


Español were to level matters in the 58th minute through Sergio Sanchez and it remainded so until an incredible finale saw 4 goals scored in just 9 minutes. Agüero first proved the old adage right by rifling 3 shots at goal on his run at goal, the first was blocked, the block volleyed at goal, the second also , but the third found it's way through, in off the post to Carmeni's right.  


Español then had a goal disallowed for offside and from the resulting counter-attack Maxi made it 3-1. Español clawed one back in stoppage time but had no time to find an equalizer. 


Villareal 1-2 Barcelona  

Both Madrid rivals winning meant Barca needed a win to protect the lead they had fought so hard to open recently. But after a goalless first half, things turned for the worse when, mid-pitch, Rossi nicked a loose ball away to the right, then turned back to chip a high ball over to meet teammate Cani's clever run round the back, clear through, he controlled well and finished with composure to go one up.  


Barca bounced back minutes later though; Alves broke down the right, swung a high looping cross round the back of his marker and into the box, Lopez the Villareal Keeper lunged fists first to punch clear but the arriving Keita beat him to it with a bravely taken header. 


A second came 10 minutes later when Xavi's sharp cut inside and turn of pace drew 4 out to him, his pin-point cross was immediately fired into the resulting gap and met by Henry with a crisp low volley into the net. Barca saw Gerard Pique sent off for a second bookable offence not long after but held onto their lead despite heavy pressure from Villareal in the closing stages. 


Mallorca 0-0 Sevilla / Racing 1-1 Malaga / Sporting 1-1 Almeria / Racing 1-1 Malaga / Osasuna 5-2 Getafe / Depor 4-1 Recreativo / Numancia 3-4 Vallodolid

Meanwhile a disappointing Sevilla were held to a goalless draw at Malaga but it proved sufficient to maintain their claim on 2nd spot. 


Likewise Racing Santander seemed drained from their mid-week UEFA disappointment and were lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw, Valera's goal (66) cancelling out Baha's opener (38), Tchite did have a last minute chance to steal all 3 points for the Santander outfit and redeem for his crucial mid-week miss but it wasn’t to be as keeper Goitia denied him. 


One-nil wins for Sporting against Almeria, and for Athletico Bilbao over Español saw them rise to 11th and 12th respectively. Maldonado's headed goal and a series of remarkable stops late on from Gijon keeper Sergio Sánchez's sentenced Almeria coach Gonzalo Arconada to the sack. While Javi Martínez increased his growing reputation with a well taken header for Bilbao's win. 


Elsewhere, goals were less hard to come by- Deportivo La Coruna moved into seventh with a 4-1 victory over second from bottom Recreativo Huelva at La Riazor.While there were 7 goals to be found at the both the Osasuna-Getafe and Numancia-Vallodolid games.  


4-0 up at half time Osasuna let their foot off the gas a little in the 2nd allowing Soldado to pull back 2 for Getafe , but by then Font had already found Osasuna's fifth and the game was all but over.  


But the height of the day's drama saw Numancia 3-1 down with 5 minutes to go pull back 2 goals from Javier Del Pino (85) and Carlos Aranda (88) before Gorka Brit, having come on as subsitute, headed an injury time winner to send Numancia 4 points clear of the drop zone.

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