Conor Smith brings you all the action from Matchday 8 in La Liga
Where better to begin this review of Matchday 8 than at the Riazor in the north-west of Spain, where it was an absolute goal-fest between Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna. The game looked to be over within the first twenty minutes when Barcelona bossed proceedings and went three goals up, with goals from Jordi Alba, Tello and who else but Lionel Messi. The Deportivo La Coruna players had obviously watched the Germany and Sweden game during the international gameweek (to be honest, who hadn’t heard about this unbelievable comeback) and knew that a game isn’t over until the final whistle. They managed to pull two goals back through a Pizzi penalty and an excellent finish from Alex Bergantinos . Barcelona replied with another goal from Messi to make it 4-2 but the scoring see-saw continued as Pizza curled a wonderful free kick around the Barcelona wall that Victor Valdes could only graze with his finger tips. Lionel Messi continued his unbelievable scoring record with yet another hat trick which looked to finally kill off Deportivo but a bizarre own goal from Jordi Alba left Barcelona having to be on their toes for the final few minutes. The match ended 5-4 in Barca’s favour.
Real Madrid didn’t let the international break unsettle them as they cast aside Celta Vigo 2-0 in front of their home fans. A cross cum shot from Gonzalo Higuain ended up out-smarting the keeper and landing in the back of the net. This was followed after the break by yet another penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to ensure that Real climb up the table into 4th place.
A goal in the final few minutes of the game from Joaquin secured a crucial 2-1 win for Malaga against Valladolid, which kept their La Liga hopes alive and prevent the league completely turning into a two-horse race between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The away side took the lead when Manucho scored in the 9th minute but Malaga responded just before the break, thanks to a fine finish from Isco. The match looked to be heading for a draw until Joaquin popped up in the box and finished at the second time of asking.
A great game at the Mestalla between Valencia and Athletic Bilbao left the away side feeling aggrieved that they didn’t come out of the match with any points. Bilbao were leading the game 2-1 up until the final few minutes, with Aduriz scoring a brace of goals. However, Valencia pushed forward to salvage something and actually ended the match with all 3 points, thanks to late goals from Tino Costa and Nelson Valdez. The loss heaps more pressure on Marcelo Bielsa as his side teeter one place above the relegation zone.
A damp squib in front of the live television cameras in Pamplona where neither Osasuna nor Real Betis could muster up a goal and both teams had to settle for a 0-0 draw. The away side will be undoubtedly disappointed as the contrasting situations would have suggested that Betis would get the victory to take them into the top four. Ruben Castro had a goal disallowed because of an offside decision which was the closest they came to breaking the deadlock. The point will satisfy Osasuna but they still went bottom of La Liga after Espanyol’s first win of the season. A brace for Leo wasn’t enough for Rayo Vallecano to hold off Espanyol as they went down 3-2 to Los Periquitos. Espanyol were determined to finally register a win in front of the expectant home crowd, who were becoming restless with the sides recent performances. The home team left it incredibly late when substitute Christian Stauni headed in the goal that gave them a vital win in their relegation battle.
A marvelous last minute goal from Colombian hitman Falcao earned a priceless away victory for Atletico Madrid against Real Sociedad. The game needed a touch of class to separate the two sides and who else could provide it but arguably, the most wanted man in the European transfer market. From 25 yards, Falcao curled in a wonderful free kick to give his side their 6th successive victory and keep them level on points with Barcelona at the top of the table.
Granada couldn’t level matters against Real Zaragoza as goals from Helder Postiga and Victor Rodriguez gave the away side the lead before half time. Granada pulled one goal back through Yussef El-Arabi but the away side held on for an important win in their battle in the bottom half of the table.
An incredible long-range strike from Michel earned the points for Levante against Getafe. The match was a very scrappy affair and not pleasing on the eye but this goal in the final few minutes from Michel was world-class and proved the difference between the two teams as Getafe held on for a 1-0 win.
Sevilla had to work hard in their game against Mallorca to salvage the points and dug deep to earn a 3-2 win. Goals from Bigas and Tomer Hemed gave Mallorca the lead in two instances but a brace from Alvaro Negredo cancelled out the away side’s lead both times. The sides were level going into the final 15 minutes of the game but Sevilla defender Cicinho scored the winning goal to seal a marvelous comeback from the Rojiblancos to keep them in the hunt for a Champions League place.