FC Barcelona’s title aspirations suffered a major blow as they were handed a 0-2 defeat by a jubilant Villarreal side, while Atletico Madrid secured an easy win. Granada, Real Sociedad bag full points in the respective matches while Real Betis and Celta Vigo play out a goalless draw.
Celta Vigo 0 - 0 Real Betis
A hard-fought battle between two Spanish clubs in the bottom half of the table saw them each take a point in a 0-0 draw. In a match which did not have anything eventful, it was Celta Vigo who had the better chances to convert and even came close in the 9th minute. Their players took 6 shots on target but failed to convert none of them, which pretty much sums up the day.
On the other hand, Real Betis only had 1 shot at the goal while the other six were off target. They spent an average of 13 seconds per attack, which were largely ineffective. Even though Betis played better football in the second half, they were never in a position to score the winner.
Levante 0 - 2 Real Sociedad
Two strikes in the second half ensured that Real Sociedad walked away with full points in the weekend kick-off against Levante. The visitors played with authority in the first half and even registered quite a few shots on target, but they never managed to score. Levante, on the flip side, had nothing to boast about except a few shots, which meant the score was untouched at the half-way mark.
Real Sociedad’s second-half display was far better than the first period as they controlled the game throughout and hardly gave their opponents any scope to re-group. The visitors broke the deadlock in the 71st minute of the match and there was no looking back since then. The second goal in the 78th minute ensured they took back three points from the away fixture. The winning registered as many as 9 shots on target, 5 more than Levante, while they also accounted for 58 dangerous attacks.
Granada 2 - 1 Valencia
Granada stunned Valencia by registering a 2-1 over them after trailing by a goal at the halfway mark. Granada’s initial resistance from the attacks of the visitors was laudable, but they could not contain them too long. Valencia took a step forward in the 33rd minute by netting the first goal of the match, following a spell of play in which they toyed with Granada’s defence. The hosts showed no such improvement in their play following the goal and went into the dugout with a one-goal deficit.
The half-time managerial tips seemed to have worked perfectly for Granada as they came out a changed team in the second phase. If the 51st-minute strike was anywhere close to being a fluke, the second goal in the 84th minute was a result of repetitive attacks from the explosive forward line. Surprisingly, they ended up with two shots on goals, both of which they converted.
Atletico Madrid 4 -1 Mallorca
Atletico Madrid cruised to a 4-1 victory over a hapless Mallorca on Saturday evening. Atletico did not look lethal at all with their star-studded line-up, but they did manage to register their name on the scoresheet in the 8th minute. Even though it was an evenly poised game following the goal, Mallorca never managed to penetrate the final third in a threatening manner. The hosts, on the other hand, did not shy away from making most out of their opportunities, having doubled the lead in the 33rd minute.
There was no respite for Mallorca in the second half as well, with the hosts constantly pressing in their defensive half. It was the 78th minute that Atletico scored their third goal and subsequently the 85th minute to draw curtains to the game. Even though Mallorca pulled one back in the dying minutes of the game, the show was over by then. Both the teams took 5 shots on target each, but Atletico converted four of them, marking the difference between the sides.
Villareal 2 - 0 Barcelona
Barcelona were stunned by an upbeat Villarreal as they fell behind in the championship race. Villarreal meant business from the moment go and never allowed the away side to have the upper hand in the game. Even though it took 44 minutes for them to change the scoreline in their favour, it was better late than never. The Catalans had much to worry about as they went into the break with a one-goal deficit.
Villarreal managed to play with the same tempo after the re-start and quite justifiably doubled the lead in the 61st minute to take the game away from the second-placed team. Barcelona, with their infamous forward line, fought till the very end to script a rescue act, but the hosts kept the scores unchanged. Villarreal bagged full points from the match, having taken 7 shots on target, same as Barcelona, except that they converted two of them