I knew it! I told you so! The Málaga-Barcelona game was incredible. Both teams brought their A-game and what a spectacle it was!
It was always a far off chance that Málaga would be able to beat Barcelona. Nevertheless, Málaga came out strong and matched Barça attack for attack, each side looking equally likely to score first. Demichelis, Isco, Buonanotte, Eliseu and Willy Caballero all had a fantastic game for Málaga, but their heroics were no match for the brilliance produced by Iniesta, Busquets, Messi, and Xavi. The speed at which they pinged the ball around the field was jaw-dropping. Willy Caballero made sure the scoreline stayed even. That was until Messi snuck up on the defense and stole a pass to Caballero and, with a quick feint sending Willy in the wrong direction, scored into the gaping net.
Considering Barça’s smothering dominance, the game went into the halftime break with a 1-0 scoreline. Unfortunately for Málaga, further brilliance from Fabregas and Thiago Alcântara put the game beyond their reach. Buonanotte put a stunning free kick into Victor Valdes’s to give his team a bit of pride. What a performance.
Down at the other end of the table, last-placed Osasuna managed to hold Real Madrid to a disappointing, ugly 0-0 draw that saw Kaká make an appearance after several months on the bench only to be sent off with two yellows after 17 minutes. Mallorca, also strugglingly heavily, fell away 3-1 to Valladolid. After a wonderful start to their season, Mallorca hit a long-lasting period of bad luck and poor form to drop them into the relegation zone.
Valencia received a boost after defeating Sevilla 2-0 at home. However, this season’s Valencia-Sevilla city rivalry hasn’t focused on Valencia and Sevilla; instead it’s Real Betis in Sevilla and Levante in Valencia who have produced the better results so far this season. Sevilla now sit in 12th place with only 19 points. The club’s directors have had enough with the poor showing, fired the manager, and brought in Unai Emery (formally of Valencia) to turn their season around.
To wrap it up, Rayo Vallecano pulled off another incredible win beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in San Mames. The tiny team from Madrid now sits in a European spot, even on points with Málaga. Truly inspiring. Here are the rest of the results from the weekend:
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Rayo Vallecano
Osasuna 0-0 Real Madrid
Valladolid 3-1 Mallorca
Espanyol 1-0 Celta Vigo
Valencia 2-0 Sevilla
Málaga 1-3 Barcelona
Real Betis 2-0 Levante
Real Sociedad 1-1 Deportivo La Coruña
Atlético Madrid 2-0 Real Zaragoza
Getafe 2-2 Granada
The quarterfinals for the Copa del Rey kick off this midweek. Málaga travels to the Camp Nou to take on Barcelona again as Madrid and Valencia start their 3-match duel. These two games could quite possibly lead to an El Clásico for the semifinals yet again. On the other side, Sevilla travels to Zaragoza as Real Betis attempts to win in the Vincente Calderon where Atlético Madrid has been so lethal this season.