Good Day, Bad Day: Triumph and Disaster for top two
RESULTS Sat 16 Apr Getafe 1-0 Sevilla, MÃÂ¡laga 3-0 Mallorca, AlmerÃÂa 0-3 Valencia, Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona Sun 17 Apr Real Sociedad 2-1 Sporting GijÃÂ³n, Levante 2-1 HÃÂ©rcules, Deportivo La CoruÃÂ±a 2-0 Racing Santander, Osasuna 1-2 Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol 2-2 AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid
Real Madrid, Barcelona (see also Bad Day)
A glorious moral victory for Real Madrid in the face of refereeing bias once again! Proof positive that the Catalan machine can be stopped in its dastardly referee-assisted tracks through the use of longer grass! A superior Real Madrid even when the side were down to 10 men! Spirits higher than ever in the camp ahead of WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Copa clash!
The league title in the bag for PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys! Barcelona as solid as a rock and refusing to stoop to Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs evil spoiling tactics! Leo Messi showing fire and spirit for the Catalan clause by pinging balls into the stands!
Kept LLL entertained for the first half an hour when what was happening on the pitch was hardly tantalising.
Mrs Roberto Soldado (again)
A seventh strike in three matches for Soldado. Three wins from three for Valencia. And yet more good times aplenty for the good lady wife of the Mestalla marksman, who claims that he always needs Ã¢ÂÂsatisfactionÃ¢ÂÂ after scoring goals.
Not just for the win at Osasuna: Sevilla, Espanyol and AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid all dropped points too.
And so the Team Of The Second Half Of The Season all but completes its marvellous survival mission with some six matches left. Their current 42 points should easily be enough to see Levante through after an eight-match unbeaten run continued with a 2-1 victory over HÃÂ©rcules.
Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre ninth and IÃ¢ÂÂm super proud,Ã¢ÂÂ beamed coach Luis GarcÃÂa, whose new task is to keep Levante on the hunt for an improbable European place. Seventh spot is just four points away, but more importantly occupied by the reliably unreliable AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid.
ClichÃÂ© dictates that SundayÃ¢ÂÂs 2-1 victory over Sporting was a Ã¢ÂÂmassiveÃ¢ÂÂ win for la Real after five defeats. Four more points from the final six games probably needed to complete a successful return from la Segunda.
A lucky 2-0 win, apparently.
A blooming awful start to the weekendÃ¢ÂÂs football in the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon in a dreadful match between two teams who took to the field without anyone of any quality to liven things up a bit.
The encounter got close to something resembling a thrill and maybe an inkling of a spill in the final 15 minutes after Miku scored for Getafe Ã¢ÂÂ but up to that point it was stodgy stuff from a Getafe side who huffed and puffed to little avail and a Sevilla team who simply couldnÃ¢ÂÂt be bothered, despite all the pre-match talk of Ã¢ÂÂseven finalsÃ¢ÂÂ and the Champions League places.
The big beast has returned from a couple of months out just in time to perhaps steer MÃÂ¡laga out of trouble. Two goals in a fairly predictable 3-0 win over nothing-to-play-for Mallorca sees the southern side sneaking out of the relegation zone Ã¢ÂÂ at least until third-from-bottom ZaragozaÃ¢ÂÂs trip to Villarreal on Monday night.
Real Madrid, Barcelona
The league title surrendered before a ball had been kicked by deploying clogging Pepe instead of Mesut ÃÂzil! JosÃÂ© Mourinho once again blaming referees for Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs sixth successive failure to beat Barcelona! More indiscipline from the Madrid defenders who lose the plot when the going gets tough!
BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs passing machine breaks down at introduction of an imperious Pepe! David Villa without a goal for BarÃÂ§a in 10 games! Leo Messi loses cool and kicks a ball into the crowd in frustration at Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs overwhelming dominance! Dani Alves in no yellow card, stays on the pitch shock!
Defensive blunders! Errors ahoy! But this time, they largely came from Espanyol and not AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid in SundayÃ¢ÂÂs strange 2-2 draw. And Paul from Barcelona was there to see everything.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs soul-destroying when you outplay one of your direct rivals and only get a point. Certain Espanyol players did everything they could to help AtlÃÂ©tico win. From minute one, Mr Weak Link himself, Galan, gently passed the ball to Koke (Do they call him Ã¢ÂÂOkayÃ¢ÂÂ?) who scored more by surprise than skill. Could it get any worse? Oh yes.
"Espanyol must be taking defensive coaching from BlackpoolÃ¢ÂÂs Craig Cathcart Ã¢ÂÂ the Galan mistake was that bad. To be fair he did redeem himself with a fantastic tackle later, but every time EspanyolÃ¢ÂÂs defender started passing the ball around the other team looks like scoring.
"The crowd really got behind Espanyol, who created a few openings before a great pass over the defence found Osvaldo who raced clear and his deflected shot made it 1-1.
"Then the first of two genuine moments of class in the game. The pass of the season from CallejÃÂ³n: a beautifully weighted curl along the ground from the halfway line to Kun, who chipped Kameni to make it 2-1. Xavi and Iniesta would have killed to make a pass as good as that. Regular readers might have spotted the Ã¢ÂÂbutÃ¢ÂÂ: CallejÃÂ³n plays for Espanyol not Atletico, although Ã¢ÂÂplaysÃ¢ÂÂ is being generous.
"The second moment of class came when a defence-splitting cross from VerdÃÂº found the unmarked Osvaldo, whose flying header made it 2-2. A great finish from the man of the match.
"So, two points dropped by Espanyol rather than a point gained. Usual rubbish refereeing. Raul GarcÃÂa got the fÃ¢ÂÂDani AlvesÃ¢ÂÂ get out of jail free card. Basic maths: two yellow card offenses = two yellow cards = one red = get off the pitch."
The Osasuna keeper came flying out of his goal to chase down a long ball in the final minute of the clash with Athletic Bilbao with the score at 1-1. Unfortunately for the hapless goalie, all he managed to do was take out his full-back Nelson and leave an open goal for Iker Muniain to give Athletic the win. Osasuna now on a run of three straight defeats.
The Ã¢ÂÂDjukicÃ¢ÂÂ effect lasted just two games, with HÃÂ©rcules losing out to Levante and probably needing four wins from six in the clubÃ¢ÂÂs final run-in. Doomed! Doomed! Doomed!
Two defeats from two now for bottom-of-the-table AlmerÃÂa boss Roberto Olabe has LLL musing over whether the club will be about to fire its third coach of the campaign.