A lot of news came out of the last round of fixtures in Spain for 2012. Some teams go into the holidays with their Christmas wishes granted, others with harsh defeats.
The first game of the weekend saw Rayo Vallecano earn a surprising victory over Levante. That they won wasn’t the surprise, as the game was held in Vallecas; the most surprising part was the 3-0 score line at the final whistle. Rayo’s attacking style of play usually leaves them quite open at the back. At halftime, both teams were about even in ball possession with Levante looking the more likely to score in the second half.
The first goal deflated the Levante attack and energized the crowd in Vallecas. A fantastic free kick from captain Medina Piti vaulted Rayo into delirium, as they were sure to win the game. The third goal, like an extra special Christmas treat for their fans, came in injury time. It’s a sad way for the Europa League contenders Levante to end their great year, but I’m sure Rayo and their fans will go into the new year with excitement and energy.
Barcelona carry their unbeaten streak into the new year thanks to a decisive 3-1 win over Valladolid. Sevilla failed to pull off a win against and fell to Real Sociedad 2-1. Since their 5-1 smashing of Real Betis in the Sevillian derby, Sevilla have only managed 1 point in 5 games. Hmm, something’s going to have to change by the new year.
Málaga finished 2012 in high fashion by defeating Real Madrid 3-2 in La Rosaleda. (I was devastated by this result, but kudos to Málaga for their stunning performance.) Their spirits have been dampened a bit by the news that UEFA have put a one-year ban on the team as punishment for their financial troubles at the beginning of the season when they failed to make several payments. The club are appealing this decision in hopes of lifting the ban. And really, Málaga have been quite a novelty in the Champions League. Do we really want to see them sit next year out?
After the winter break, La Liga resumes the weekend of Jan. 5, so enjoy your holidays, and here are the full results from week 17:
Rayo Vallecano 3-0 Levante
Real Sociedad 2-1 Sevilla
Espanyol 2-0 Deportivo
Valencia 4-2 Getafe
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Celta Vigo
Real Betis 1-2 Mallorca
Valladolid 1-3 Barcelona
Málaga 3-2 Real Madrid
Osasuna 1-2 Granada
Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Real Zaragoza
¡Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo a Todos!
Photos courtesy of LigaBBVA.com.