Spanish League Round Up Week 6

Barça became the fifth team to head the La Liga over the weekend after a round of games that saw Betis start on top before Valencia, Malaga and then Llevant momentarily occupied first place in the table.

Image: UD Llevant.

Image: UD Llevant.
Valencia beat Granada on Saturday evening to move a point ahead of Betis who began the weekend on top, before Malaga overtook them with a 3-2 win over Getafe to ensure they were in top spot overnight. On Sunday evening, Llevant then wrecked Betis’ hopes of holding on to first place with a 0-1 win that took them a point ahead of Malaga, but Barça’s victory over Sporting ensured that their better goal difference takes them ahead of Llevant going into the international break. 

Narrow win for Valencia 
Sergio Canales scored his first league goal for Valencia to give them a 1-0 win over Granada with a great strike from outside the box after just 4 minutes, but the home team were unable to add to that goal and Granada had the chances to sneak a draw late on. Just after the Valencia game finished, Malaga kicked off against Getafe in La Rosaleda, knowing a win could also take them top, but after a goalless first half, it was Pedro Leon who opened the scoring for Getafe. Van Nistelroy equalised for Malaga before Miku put away a cross with what appeared to be his hand for a controversial second for the visitors. In a frantic last few minutes, Maresca equalised and in injury time with almost the last kick of the game, Baptista scored a spectacular overhead volley to make it 3-2 and leave Malaga on top for 24 hours at least. 

Llevant go top! 
Llevant put in a great defensive performance to keep out Betis on Seville on Sunday evening, grabbing the only goal of the game on 32 minutes (Junalu) to inflict a second successive defeat on Pepe Mel’s team, maintain their own unbeaten record and leapfrog ahead of Malaga. Llevant may have scored just 8 goals –compared to Barça’s 23, but they have actually conceded just three –one less than Guardiola’s team and together with Seville, they have the best defensive record of the league. 

Madrid move into third 
Real Madrid also head Malaga in the table, though only on goal difference, and sit in third- a point behind Barça- following their 0-4 win against Espanyol on Sunday night. Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat trick for Mourinho’s team, with ex-Espanyol man Jose Callejon getting the other. With Malaga in fourth and Valencia in fifth on, Seville sit sixth –still unbeaten – a point behind on 12 points, ahead of Betis on goal difference, after their goalless draw at Atletico Madrid. Manzano’s men head the rest of the teams behind the leading group, four points behind Betis and one ahead of Mallorca and Osasuna, who drew 2-2 in Pamplona, as well as Real Sociedad. 

Basque derby goes Bilbao’s way 
Real lost the Basque derby 1-2 against Bilbao, with Fernado Llorente getting both the visitors’ goals to give Bielsa his first league win at the helm and take them out of the bottom three –places occupied by Sporting, who have just one point, Granada and Racing Santander, who drew 1-1 with Rayo, for whom Raul Tamudo bagged his 138rd career league goal.

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