La Liga’s title race is heating up, as Real Madrid’s slender lead in the table is creating drama at the top of the Spanish first division.
Los Blancos are a point above second-place Sevilla and hold a two-point advantage over third-place Barcelona. Real Madrid struggled at times in their 2-1 home victory against Malaga on Saturday, a significant result after two consecutive defeats across all competitions.
We highlight the crucial moments around La Liga in Matchweek 19.
A difficult first half for Villarreal
Sixth-place Villarreal stumbled to a 2-0 defeat against Valencia on Saturday thanks to two first-half goals from the visitors.
Los Che opened the scoring through Carlos Soler in the 35th minute and found a second as forward Santi Mina (42’) scored just before half-time.
With Villarreal allowing the fewest goals thus far in the league (14), the defensive struggles were surprising for the home side.
The efficient combination of Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos
Real Madrid’s 40-match unbeaten streak was brought to an end by Sevilla and was followed only days later by a 2-1 loss against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey. But Toni Kroos and defender Sergio Ramos ensured that Zinedine Zidane’s side would not be beaten again on Saturday.
Twice in the first half, a Kroos free-kick led to a Sergio Ramos goal (35’, 43’). With the Madrid attack having difficulty breaking down Malaga’s defence, the strikes from Ramos were essential.
Real Madrid now prepare to host Real Sociedad this coming weekend with more production expected from their talented front-line.
Four minutes of madness from Aythami Artiles
After leading for most of the match, Las Palmas and manager Quique Setien were disappointed to come away with a 1-1 draw Friday against Deportivo de La Coruna. After a second-half equaliser for the visitors, centre-back Aythami Artiles received two yellow cards in a span of only four minutes.
A clumsy tackle in the 77th minute reduced Las Palmas to ten men, and the hosts were unable to find the late winner.
Las Palmas now sit 11th in the table, one point behind both Eibar and Espanyol.
Griezmann rescues a point for Atletico
Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid played to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday, with Antoine Griezmann scoring a goal in the 80th minute to earn a point for Los Rojiblancos.
After Koke (3’) had given Atletico an early advantage, Bilbao’s Inigo Lekue (42’) levelled the match just before the break. The home side took a 2-1 lead in the second-half until Griezmann’s superb strike made it 2-2.
Atletico Madrid currently sit fourth, six points behind Barcelona.
Barcelona attack overwhelms late
Midfielder Sergio Busquets left with an injury in the first half, and Barcelona held a slim 1-0 advantage at half-time against Eibar. But the second half saw the Blaugrana’s attacking front-line take full control of the proceedings.
The MSN trio each scored a goal after the break, with Lionel Messi (50’), Luis Suarez (68’) and Neymar (90’) displaying their world-class abilities.
Barcelona will look to continue their strong form and secure a third consecutive league victory when they travel to Real Betis this coming Sunday.