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one: Pow! Ronaldo can strike a ball. Obviously. His fifteenth Real Madrid hat trick, his seventh of the season. And all in an El Derbi where Atleti began to believe. When Falcao headed in a second half equaliser the Vicente Calderon was electric. They believed Jose would be bettered by Diego. Cristiano had other ideas; a marvellous free kick, a magnificent second, a penalty and an assist for Callejon mean the ‘red and whites’ are still without a win over their city rivals this century.
one: Six points, ten games, hay liga! Real Madrid: Three red cards (Mourinho, Ramos, Ozil), one goal (CR7), one point. Barcelona: Five goals (Messi x3, Xavi, Tello), three points. Gap: Six points. Our verdict at futbolgrande? Game on. Los Merengues’ ‘slump’ continued with a bout of de ja vu, as they again conceded a late free kick to draw 1-1. This time it was against Villarreal at El Madrigal. A good night’s work for Miguel Angel Lotina in his first game in charge.
two: Forget fourth, Levante are three points off third. An extremely solid 1-3 win in San Sebastian against La Real not only tightens Martinez’s men’s grip on fourth, it also moves them three points behind city rivals Valencia. Emery’s side did nothing to appease the booing Mestalla fans with an embarrassing defeat to nine-man Zaragoza. The bottom club are now six points from safety and just two behind Sporting and Racing. Will still be a tall order mind.
three: Athletic continue to stutter away from Europa. Since back to back wins against Sociedad and Manchester United, Bilbao’s La Liga form has read LLL. Their latest setback came courtesy of a Falcao brace inside the Vicente Calderon. Simeone’s Atleti displaying decent ‘bouncebackability’ to recover from their weekend defeat to Mallorca. Javi Martinez added a late consolation but it was Los Rojiblancos who enhanced their European credentials.
four: Sporting’s loss ain’t no good. One win in ten isn’t pretty for Javier Clemente’s Gijon, although admittedly he’s not responsible for all those games. Mallorca the most recent side to put a dent in their survival hopes. Twice, through Colunga and Botia, Sporting had battled back before eventually succumbing 2-3 at El Molinon. As for Mallorca? With 36 points in the bag they’ll surely have one eye on their summer holidays.
five. If you missed it, Messi’s been breaking things. No, not bones, because he’s never injured. And no, not plates, because…just because. Records obviously. At 24 he’s smashed the all time Barca scoring record, and he did it the only way he knew how: with a hat-trick. There was even, obviously, a chip thrown in too. The previous record of 232 was set by Cesar Rodriguez in the 50’s and, in all honesty, it was just a matter of time before the- as seen on twitter- ‘unsuperlativeable’ Messi nicked it off him. We take our hat off to Lionel at futbolgrande.
still to come: Malaga v Rayo, Racing v Sevilla and Real Betis v Espanyol
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one: Pellegrini makes his point in Madrid. And Malaga left the Bernabeu with one too, which, coupled with Barca’s 2-0 win against Sevilla, cuts Los Merengues’ lead at the top to eight points. One time Madrid manager Pellegrini’s Malaga were the better side in the first half but trailed 1-0 to a Benzema header. Madrid were the better side in the second half but were pegged back via a fantastic free-kick from Santi Cazrola in stoppage time. Malaga’s good run continues, Spanish press announce the title race is back ‘open’.
two: Levante are still hanging around. Remember when Levante were fourth yet couldn’t buy a win? Well, it seems whenever they drop out of fourth they find themselves right back there. Yesterday’s 1-0 win over Villarreal was thanks to an extrememly late tap in from Xavi Torres. At futbolgrande we cant think of anyone who expects them to be in the Champions League next year, but they keep plugging away. Maybe?
three: Villarreal move onto their third coach this season. Courtesy of the above mentioned defeat to Levante, Villarreal moved quickly to sack their coach Jose Molina. And as early as this morning they had a new man at the helm- their third this season. Former Depor boss Miguel Angel Lotina will take the reigns for the run in. His first task? Welcoming Jose Mourinho et al to El Madrigal on Wednesday.
four: Granada edge towards safety. Abel Resino’s side took a massive step towards safety and, in turn, leave Clemente’s Sporting in the mire. Saturday evening’s 2-1 win lifts El Grana seven points clear of Gijon. They may have been many people’s tip for the drop but it looks like Granada will still be knocking around La Liga next season.
five: Soldado has a ‘fiesta’ at San Mames. Athletic may have felt inclined to complain of a European ‘hangover’ but for Valencia being in the same boat. Roberto Soldado stole the show with a hat trick, his second in the last month following his treble for Spain in February. Valencia improve their stanglehold on third while Athletic lose ground in the race for fourth. Fellow Europa League Quarter Finalists Atleti went down 2-1 to Mallorca. Simeone’s second defeat since taking charge at the Calderon.
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