La Liga Round-Up: Real Madrid slip and Malaga finally win

La Liga

An enthralling weekend of action in La Liga has provided plenty of impact at both ends of the table, with things looking extremely tight in certain places- except the top, where Barcelona have established an eight-point lead over Real Madrid.

At the bottom, Athletic Bilbao and Celta Vigo run the risk of being sucked into the relegation battle whilst Malaga, in their tenth attempt, finally managed to win and move off the bottom table- although they remain a way off safety.

Here’s your weekly round-up, fresh from Spain!

Alaves 1-2 Valencia

Valencia kept up the pressure on leaders Barcelona, consolidating their position in second-place, with a 2-1 victory on the road against Alaves – although they perhaps had more of a challenge than they were anticipating.

Former West Ham flop Simone Zaza continued his fine run of form by netting ten minutes before the break, his ninth La Liga goal in ten games, but former Valencia man Alexis Ruano equalised just four minutes into the second-half.

Ex-Bolton loanee Rodrigo netted from the penalty spot with less than 25 minutes remaining to give the visitors all three points, with struggling Alaves now rooted to the bottom of La Liga with just three points to their name.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Villarreal

Atletico Madrid slipped to eight points behind leaders Barcelona, and four behind second-place Valencia, after being held to a 1-1 draw by Villarreal- a result that also saw Diego Simeone’s side fail to push away from Real Madrid in the standings.

Angel Correa finally broke the deadlock after the hour mark, following a spectacular assist from Antoine Griezmann, but the Rojiblancos had to settle for their fifth draw in six competitive matches after Carlo Bacca‘s late equaliser.

The result sees Villarreal remain three points behind both Madrid sides, who occupy the Champions League spots, with the Yellow Submarines continuing their run of recent form against Atletico.

Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Barcelona

Athletic Bilbao’s woes continued as their poor run extended to just one win in 11 competitive matches, following a 2-0 defeat at the San Mames to Barcelona- although it’s a result that didn’t surprise many, given the form of Luis Enrique’s side this season.

Barcelona were made to work for it though, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen regularly called into action, but Lionel Messi broke the deadlock nine minutes before the break with his 16th goal of the season. Paulinho then added his name to the scoresheet late on, having earlier hit the bar.

Barcelona’s win sees Enrique’s side remain four clear at the top, whilst his former club Athletic now sit five points above the relegation zone.

Sevilla 2-1 Leganes

Sevilla kept up the pace with their rivals in the Champions League with a crucial victory, that sees them move to just one point behind both Madrid sides- setting up a crucial clash with Barcelona ahead of the upcoming international break.

Wissam Ben Yedder netted his sixth goal of the season to give the hosts the lead heading into the break but they were pegged back three minutes after the restart, with Alexander Szymanowski equalising from the penalty spot.

Sevilla regained their advantage just six minutes later, Pablo Sarabia the scorer, with Leganes missing the chance to draw level with both Atletico and Real Madrid as a result.

Getafe 2-1 Real Sociedad

After an impressive start to the season, Real Sociedad’s slump continued as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away from home against Getafe- a result that saw the hosts push away from the relegation spots in La Liga, leapfrogging the likes of Celta Vigo and Athletic Bilbao.

Mikel Oyarzabal got Sociedad off to a flying start, scoring after just five minutes, but Getafe completed a late turnaround with goals from Angel and Jorge Molina, the latter scoring from the spot five minutes before the final whistle after a foul from Inigo Martinez.

The result leaves Real Sociedad sat ninth in the table, three points behind sixth-placed Villarreal and six behind the Champions League spots.

Girona 2-1 Real Madrid

The shock result of the weekend came from La Liga newcomers Girona, who stunned Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid to win 2-1 against the defending champions- crucially leaving Los Blancos eight points behind arch-rivals Barcelona.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly for the visitors as Isco opened the scoring after just 12 minutes but second-half goals from ex-Middlesbrough man Cristhian Stuani and midfielder Portu secured a historic victory for the Spanish minnows.

Significantly, Girona moved six points clear of the relegation zone as a result after their third victory of the season.

Eibar 2-2 Levante

Struggling Eibar came from two-goals behind to secure a vital point against Levante, which sees them sit two points above the relegation zone- although they did see one of their rivals elsewhere pull ahead of them.

Two goals in as many minutes from Jose Morales and Enis Bardhi looked to have the visitors on-course for a routine victory but a different Eibar side emerged for the second-half, with full-back Anaitz Arbilla pulling a goal back six minutes after the break.

Veteran striker Charles then completed the comeback with an equaliser after 74 minutes, with Levante missing the chance to climb into the top-half of the table.

Malaga 2-1 Celta Vigo

On their tenth attempt, struggling Malaga finally secured a victory this season- moving themselves off the bottom of the table and dragging Celta Vigo into the relegation fight in the process.

Adrian Gonzalez put the hosts ahead in added time in the first-half but Iago Aspas equalised with 14 minutes to play with his fourth goal of the season. It seemed the hosts would have to settle for a draw but midfielder Recio stepped-up to snatch all three points, restoring Malaga’s lead with seven minutes to go.

Malaga now sit four points from safety, whilst Celta Vigo slumped to 14th in the table.

Las Palmas 1-3 Deportivo

Deportivo scored a crucial victory against fellow La Liga strugglers Las Palmas to pull themselves away from the relegation zone, whilst their opponents remain in the bottom three and are now two points off safety.

Las Palmas had beaten Deportivo in the Copa Del Rey during the week 4-1 and the side from the Canary Islands looked on course to secure another win after Loic Remy fired them ahead after just seven minutes. However, a brace from Celso Borges turned the game around as he netted either side of the half.

Arsenal loanee Lucas Perez then rubber-stamped the victory from the penalty spot, giving Deportivo their third win of the season.

Espanyol 1-0 Real Betis

Espanyol pulled within three points of last night’s opponents Real Betis with a 1-0 victory, with the visitors missing the chance to rise to fifth in the table to put themselves level on points with Sevilla.

Real Betis failed to score in La Liga for the first time since the opening day of the season, with Gerard Moreno netting the only goal of the game to move Espanyol seven points clear of the bottom three and ending Betis’ magnificent run.