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Lighting up La Ciudad del Futbol in Las Rozas - a municipality near Madrid and the home of the RFEF - are two European Championships, one World Cup and countless trophies from under-age successes. Domestically there’s the small matter of Real Madrid and Barcelona too, the two teams who were pretty much solely responsible for FIFA’s team of the year and who’s regular meetings - known as El Clasico - regularly draw millions of viewers worldwide.
one. Real Sociedad end Barca’s unbeaten season.
We should have seen it coming. Anoeta has hardly been the happiest of places for Barca to visit in recent years, and on Saturday night that again proved the case. Familiar circumstances dominated the early exchanges, first Messi and then Pedro putting La Blaugrana 2-0 up. Game over? No. Just before half time Chory Castro pulled one back, then in the second half Pique saw red for two (silly but deserved) yellow cards. Castro soon added his second and then in stoppage time Imanol Agirretxe nicked it for La Real - who were very good. It’s the first time Barca have surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose since they lost 4-3 to Atletico in March 2009.
OK, we admit it, we’ve been negligent. Week eighteen admittedly passed with us failing to register a look back on what had actually happened. To all eight of our readers, we are sorry.
BUT. We’re back with a round up from week nineteen - the half way mark in La Liga - and promise not to leave you hanging again. So here it is, the five main talking points from the weekend’s (Friday and Monday included) action…
Following on from Part One last week, here is the second - and final - part looking at each club’s most recognisable achiever in the first half of 2012/13…
With one final twist - if they were’t already damned as it was - the 2012 half of the La Liga season came to an end with another Real Madrid defear in Andulucia.
‘BUT WHAT ELSE HAPPENED?’ We hear you scream. Read on friends…
one. Messi breaks Mullers record. The woodwork took a beating, Betis were good but Barcelona still won. Lionel Messi’s brace in the 1-2 win took him above Gerd Muller’s record of goals in a calendar yet set in 1972. Here are some more numbers thanks to @MessiStats: 86- goals for club and country in 2012; 63- minutes per goal; 21- most hat-tricks by a Barca player in all competitions; 17 most goals scored by a Barca player in El Clasico matches.
one. Pellegrino pushed from Mestalla bench. It has been a bad week for people called Mauricio; first Pochettino and now Pellegrino. Of those with MP initials only Manuel Pellegrini remains in a job. Journalists, sub-editors and bloggers can at least breathe a sigh of relief.Valencia decided enough was enough this weekend following a 5-2 defeat at home to Real Sociedad. Couple that with no league wins away from home and President Llorente felt it was time to wield the axe on the man who only replaced Unai Emery in the summer.
one. Beñat y brilliant Betis beat Los Blancos. Jose Mourinho is surely sick of the sight of Seville. Having already fallen to Sevilla earlier in the season it was Betis’ turn on Saturday tonight. Their main man Benat scored the only goal in the first half as they put last weekend’s derby defeat behind them. Most worryingly perhaps was how pedestrian Madrid were in chasing the game. That and also the fact Cristiano Ronaldo now has scored just one in six.
one. Unlikely sources seal Seville derby. Sevilla’s need was perhaps greater; out of the traps like you would not believe- goal scorers which you might not believe too. Reyes and Fazio, a forward and a centre half who have struggled to regularly start this season had helped themselves to two goals each by half time. Ruben Castro pegged one back after Ruben Perez had seen red for Pepe Mel’s side, but Ivan Rakitic ensured a four goal margin would be recorded in the history books.
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