La Liga Weekend Soccer Review: Barcelona 2016

la liga weekend soccer review barcelona 2016 images
FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez, right, reacts after scoring with his teammate Lionel Messi against Atletico Madrid during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

la liga weekend soccer review barcelona 2016 imagesLast weekend of La Liga action saw the top of the table clash between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou. The match had the makings of a cracker, and it certainly lived up to the expectations – at least until the half time whistle. A goal from Koke gave the initiative to the visitors and Augusto Fernandez went close to doubling his team’s lead not long after. However, Barcelona slowly rose in the game and worked out a brilliant goal that was finished by the irrepressible Lionel Messi following a beautiful ball by Jordi Alba. A glorious long ball from Dani Alves saw Luis Suarez beat his markers and guide the ball between the legs of Jan Oblak to put the hosts 2-1 ahead.

Before the half time whistle blew, Filipe Luis saw red following a reckless challenge on Messi, who escaped unharmed. Even after a man down, Los Rojiblancos fought valiantly, but the sending off of Diego Godin meant that initiative was firmly in Barcelona’s hands. With the win, Barcelona are now three points clear of Atletico Madrid in the title race and are the favourites to win their second successive league title under the stewardship of Luis Enrique.

Malaga were 2-1 winners over Eibar while a Bruno penalty gave a 1-0 win to Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine have done exceedingly well this season and have built up a substantial eight-point lead over Sevilla, who won 3-1 against Levante on Sunday, in the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

An Inaki Williams goal gave Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 win over Getafe and the Basques have now moved to the sixth spot in the table with 34 points. Meanwhile, Real Sociedad registered a 2-1 win against Real Betis, which puts Eusebio’s men in 13th. Xabi Prieto and Inigo Martinez were the goalscorers for the winning team.

Manchester United great Gary Neville was greeted with loud jeers and boos after his team were beaten 1-0 by Sporting Gijon at the Mestalla. Neville, who was given the reins of the club following the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo last year, is yet to guide his team to a league win, and the Valencia supporters aren’t too happy with the way things are heading at the club under the current management as they sit 12th in the standings.

Las Palmas were 2-1 winners against Celta Vigo, who ousted Atletico Madrid from the Copa del Rey in the midweek. The win has moved Las Palmas out of the relegation zone and into 16th spot.

Real Madrid were back to their winning ways at the Santiago Bernabeu as they put six goals past Espanyol for the second time this season. Cristiano Ronaldo, much maligned for his poor record against the big teams this campaign, answered his critics with a hat-trick as his team romped home to a comfortable win and gained all three points. Real Madrid are now four points behind Barcelona and just one point adrift of Atletico Madrid, although the Catalans have a game in hand.