Not exactly a vintage performance in the opening 45 minutes for Madrid, with the crowd murmuring in discontent - which was some attempt at noise, at least - with their side going in at half-time with just the one goal lead.
Ã¢ÂÂI didnÃ¢ÂÂt like the first half as it is always hard against teams fighting for their lives,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted a fairly relaxed Mourinho, who managed manfully not to say anything too headline-worthy or downright offensive in his post match chat. Madrid picked up the pace in the second half and picked off an HÃÂ©rcules team who have only won once and scored just three times on their travels this season.
The Madridista press very much believe that Ã¢ÂÂthe league is on!Ã¢ÂÂ for los Blancos, with Barcelona drawing at Sevilla on Sunday to bring the gap down at the top of the table to five points, but it is Mundo Deportivo who note astutely that MadridÃ¢ÂÂs final five away games of the season are AtlÃÂ©tico, Athletic, Valencia, Sevilla and Villarreal.
A double day of joy for Paul from Barcelona - the chance to witness another win for Espanyol and also survive nearly two hours in the presence of Deportivo without resorting to jumping from the top tier of Cornella El-Prat to end the pain. A good show all round.
Ã¢ÂÂOur beloved LLL gives Depor a load of stick and on this performance IÃ¢ÂÂm with the blog. They were woeful. A first half memorable for two things. DeporÃ¢ÂÂs lilac shirts and the sending off of Pablo ÃÂlvarez, Lotina thought this unjust, the second card was an awful foul from behind, looked yellow to me.
"The game went from coma to drowsy in the second half thanks to the introduction of MOM Ivan Alonso. Great work down the left by David GarcÃÂa and his cross was powered home by the head of Alonso. Espanyol were in complete control and the second was a great strike from VerdÃÂº, yet another against his old team and worth looking out for.
"Kameni made his second save of the match in injury time. That Dear Readers says it all. Ok performance from Espanyol and a shocker from shot-shy Depor or maybe the shirts made them Shrinking Violets, (cÃ¢ÂÂmon thatÃ¢ÂÂs a good one).
"30-odd Depor fans deserve serious praise for traveling from wherever to see their team. Across the street would have been too far.Ã¢ÂÂ
David de Gea
Fortunately for the Rojiblancos, the AtlÃÂ©tico goalkeeper was probably the only one of the eleven players who hadnÃ¢ÂÂt passed the first half-an-hour of the clash against AlmerÃÂa in the doziest of dazes as if they had spent the past 1000 years in stasis on a space freighter. It was De Gea who kept the home side out with three fine stops that allowed Kun AgÃÂ¼ero to give his side the lead with the first of his two goals in a 2-2 draw that AlmerÃÂa coach, JosÃÂ© Luis Oltra, described correctly as Ã¢ÂÂa fair result.Ã¢ÂÂ
AtlÃÂ©tico have now gone five matches unbeaten which looks all fine and dandy, but three of those clashes have been draws. Still, it does keep QuiqueÃ¢ÂÂs comedy troupe in contention of a Europa League finish despite SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs impending defeat against Real Madrid.
With the Mexican managerÃ¢ÂÂs flat-top hair-do primped and preened to perfection, Javier Aguirre knew that it was a limping and lame Valencia coming to la Romareda late on Saturday night after the Mestalla menÃ¢ÂÂs distressing Champions League dumping by Schalke.
The Zaragoza coachÃ¢ÂÂs hunch that there were three points for the taking turned out to be a good Ã¢ÂÂun, with Jiri Jarosik opening the scoring after just four minutes and his team-mates adding three more including two penalties.
Having suddenly turned into a Levante supporter after being won over by their remarkable survival campaign, the small sentimental side of LLL was more than a tad irked to see Mallorca cancel out an opening effort for Levante from Juanlu that left the heroic home team picking up just the single point on Sunday.
But, with its bottom lip a-quiver, the blog will admit that the point is a positive one leaving Levante with just the single defeat from eight and probably needing just three more victories to stay up.
All in all, itÃ¢ÂÂs quite lucky that Osasuna are so strong at home with just the one league defeat this season considering how blooming awful they are away from home with just the one win. Fortunately for Osasuna, this weekend, the side were playing in Pamplona and it was Racing who were put to the sword in another performance of tiger blood and thunder.
The MÃÂ¡laga boss admitted that he has offered to resign twice in response to his teamÃ¢ÂÂs recent dreadful run of form. The Chilean wonÃ¢ÂÂt need to suggest falling on his sword for at least a week now with MÃÂ¡laga beating Real Sociedad 2-0 in San Sebastian - a result that still isnÃ¢ÂÂt good enough to lift the southern side off the bottom of the table.
Tough to know where to stick Barcelona in todayÃ¢ÂÂs section. It was two points dropped - which a concerned Pep Guardiola would have probably taken before the clash - but it was a match that could easily have been won in the final minutes with BarÃÂ§a having efforts crashing against the bar and being cleared off the line.
Barcelona were suffering from a little bit of bad luck in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n rather than any adverse effects of their midweek clash against Arsenal. An ever-so-slightly controversial decision from referee, PÃÂ©rez Lasa, to cancel out a Leo Messi free-kick after a supposed shove in the wall by Sergio Biscuits, has given the Barcelona press a good chance to hit back at JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs complaints over referee favoritism with some cracking conspiracies of their own.
Ã¢ÂÂHe seemed under the influence of MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs campaign,Ã¢ÂÂ tutted Josep MarÃÂa Casanovas in Sport. Even AS have backed BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs grumbles - not that the Dream Boys camp did complain - with Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o noting that Ã¢ÂÂneither Madrid, nor Barcelona, nor anyone deserved a referee like this.Ã¢ÂÂ
The ever excellent Roberto Palomar had a fine anti-Mourinho rant in Marca on Monday, airing the notion that Ã¢ÂÂyou can imagine Mourinho at home on his sofa watching the game and dying of shame. Both teams turned up at the allotted time and didnÃ¢ÂÂt complain that it was too late or too early and dedicated themselves to playing football.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Valencia coach had barely stopped his sobbing from WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League defeat when his side went one nil down to Zaragoza in a game in which Valencia imploded in a style not seen for some time. Ã¢ÂÂOur match was a disaster with no possible excuse,Ã¢ÂÂ blasted Unai after the 4-0 thwacking by their relegation-threatened rivals.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs never a good sign when you get bored watching Villarreal games, but thatÃ¢ÂÂs what happened on Sunday with their home clash at Sporting. Villarreal have been more than a little Ã¢ÂÂmehÃ¢ÂÂ in the league of late but the side have a perfectly good excuse in that the club appears to be giving priority to the Europa League.
Nevertheless, Villarreal were both a tad lucky and unlucky on Sunday. Sporting were good for their point in a 1-1 draw, but that only came about after an outrageous dive from David Barral deep into injury time. It was a double blow for Juan Carlos GarridoÃ¢ÂÂs men who missed the chance to close the gap with Valencia in third to just one point.
It was the lack of sending off of an Espanyol player that prevented Miguel Angel LotinaÃ¢ÂÂs dastardly plan of another goalless draw for Dull Depor according to the manager himself who saw his cunning scheme busted by the ref. Ã¢ÂÂHad VerdÃÂº been sent off then it would have been 0-0,Ã¢ÂÂ groaned Lotina.
Always fun to be reminded from time to time of the general uselessness of the former Real Madrid and current HÃÂ©rcules forward.
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