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La Liga Round-Up Sunday | El Centrocampista
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El Centrocampista

ATHLETIC ROCKED BY RACING, COMICAL DEFENDING FROM RAYO AND PRESSURE GROWS ON MANZANO

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In Sunday’s early kick-off, Sporting Gijon secured three vital points thanks to a 3-1 win at Rayo Vallecano.

The home side only had themselves to blame for the defeat however, as some comical defending gifted the points to Manuel Preciado’s men.

David Barral broke the deadlock in the tenth minute after capitalising on some indecision in the Rayo penalty area.

Nacho Novo doubled the Asturian side’s lead after 37 minutes, again gifted the opportunity by sloppy defensive play by the hosts.

The home side began the second-half well as they looked to find a way back into the game but despite dominating possession, they shot themselves in the foot yet again by allowing Novo to bag his second of the game and Sporting’s third.

A late strike from Michu was scant consolation as the Madrid-side slipped to another demoralising defeat.

 

Getafe substitute Javier Casquero scored the only goal of the game against Granada to give the home side a much-needed victory.

It was a tight affair at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez and was only settled when Casquero struck from just inside the area 12 minutes from time.

The home side enjoyed some good possession during the game and tested Roberto in the Granada goal on a number of occasions before finally grabbing the winner.

The victory enabled Getafe to leapfrog Granada into 12th position.

 

Villarreal ended a run of four straight defeats in all competitions after coming from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Real Sociedad at el Madrigal.

Juan Carlos Garrido’s side have slipped back towards the relegation zone in recent weeks and crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday without registering a single point in their group.

There was signs of desperation to their play in the first half as they looked to break the deadlock against an in-form la Real.

Despite having a number of chances, it was somewhat predictable when Villarreal fell behind in the 52nd minute after a fine strike from Mikel Aranburu.

The game changed moments later however, as Elustondo received his marching orders following a second yellow card.

The hosts seized the man advantage and finally levelled in the 70th minute when Ruben poked the ball home following good work by Juanlu.

Garrido’s team dominated the final 20 minutes but could find no way past Bravo in the visitors goal.

 

In the battle for Europe, sixth-placed Malaga were held to a 1-1 draw by seven-placed Osasuna at La Rosaleda.

The visitors struck first through Ibrahima Balde’s 33rd minute goal, just moments after Nacho Monreal had hit the post for the home side.

Malaga enjoyed the lion’s share of possession as the game wore on and upped the tempo in the second half.

Osasuna battled valiantly but Manuel Pelligrini’s men finally broke their resistance with 20 minutes remaining thanks to a strike from Juanmi.

 

Bottom side Real Zaragoza fell to another disappointing defeat at La Romareda after  Mallorca‘s João Victor scored the only goal of the game.

The islanders moved up to tenth place with the victory while Zaragoza are stranded at the bottom, five points from safety.

 

Athletic Club were stunned by an injury time equaliser from a negative Racing Santander at San Mames.

The Basques dominated the game but struggled to find a way through a determined Racing back line.

Marcelo Bielsa was without the services of leading scorer, Fernando Llorente and his absence proved key as Athletic toiled looking for the breakthrough.

Iker Muniain and Ander Herrera both had good chances in the first half but could find no way past Toño in the visitors goal.

The home side continued their dominance in the second half but were let down by poor play in the final third.

The deadlock was finally broken with ten minutes remaining however, as Jon Aurtenetxe scored his first senior goal for Athletic after great work from Toquera down the right flank.

Despite falling behind, Racing continued to show little attacking intent as the game drifted towards its conclusion.

Deep into stoppage time however, the Cantabrians delivered the sucker punch when Alvaro grabbed an unlikely equaliser from what was his side’s only meaningful attack of the game.

 

In the final game of  week 16, Espanyol heaped more pressure on under fire Atletico Madrid coach Gregorio Manzano as they beat his side 4-2 at the Estadi Cornellà-el-Prat.

The hosts got off to a flying start when Joan Verdu grabbed two quick-fire goals in the opening seven minutes to stun Atletico.

The visitors found themselves three down in the 19th minute after Romaric all but finished the game off for Espanyol.

Radamel Falcao reduced the deficit just before half-time with his ninth league goal of the season, before Sergio Garcia restored the home side’s three-goal advantage ten minutes after the break.

Arda Turan pulled another back for Manzano’s side in the last ten minutes but it was too little, too late for Atleti who see their hosts move above them in the table into eighth position.

 




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