Category Archives: Spanish La Liga

SPain La Liga League Cup

Barca one win away from title after Atletico collapse at Real Sociedad

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FC Barcelona are one win away from a 25th Spanish La Liga title after Atletico Madrid lost by 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Diego Simeone’s side team second best throughout and fell behind when Willian Jose turned home a cutback by winger Adnan Januzaj, while substitute Juanmi made it 2-0 late on when he drove in before getting his second in stoppage time with a chip.

Barcelona will win the La Liga title with victory at Deportivo La Coruna on 29 April, after finishing second last season, three points behind rivals Real Madrid.

Atletico hosts fifth-placed Real Betis on Sunday with the chance to close the gap to Barca back to nine points, but only if Barca does not win.

Second-placed Atletico, who are now 12 points behind Barcelona with five games remaining, would travel to Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on 26 April but carry a concerning streak in regards to away games, as demonstrated by their rout at Real Sociedad, with Simeone putting the blame on concentration issues.

“We have to take a good look at our away form and be more alert and attentive because we are letting ourselves down on the road,” Simeone said after the game.

“Today we did not play a good first half. We improved at the start of the second half, but we did not have the consistency to get closer on the scoreboard.”

“We have to look at what happened, but congratulate Real Sociedad on their deserved win.”

Sergi Roberto sees red but Barca keeps unbeaten run

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A second-string FC Barcelona side were held at Celta Vigo by 2-2 as Ernesto Valverde rested players before Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Sevilla.

Key players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez started from the bench and Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta were rested, although Valverde started Ousmane Dembele.

He and Philippe Coutinho came into the Barca squad as part of eight changes for the night, with the goalkeeper Marc ter Stegen captaining them for the first time.

Dembele, 20, then fired Barca ahead with his first La Liga goal since joining the Catalan team in the summer before the defender Jonny Castro Otto equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Paulinho put the visitors ahead again just after the hour, by which time Messi had been sent on, but Sergio Roberto saw red on 71 minutes for pulling down Iago Aspas, who made it 2-2 with eight minutes left.

Paulinho also hit the post for the La Liga leaders on what was a frustrating night for Valverde’s side.

Still, they held out to extend their unbeaten run to 40 matches, however, and move 12 points ahead of Atletico Madrid who stays at second place, who have a game in hand.

Fernando Torres set to leave Atletico by end of the season

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Fernando Torres has revealed his plans to leave Atletico Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the season to seek more game time.

The Spaniard is in his second spell at the club he left in 2007 to sign for Liverpool, and also had stints at Chelsea and Milan before returning to Spain in 2015.

Torres, 34, has only made three starts in La Liga this season and made 17 appearances from the bench, scoring two goals.

“I want to take advantage of this opportunity to say this will be my last season at the club,” Torres said at a promotional event. “It has not been an easy decision. Looking at the reality, the circumstances, perhaps it’s for the best. I accept that I’m not having much of a role, so perhaps this is the moment to step aside for others.”

“It’s difficult to say goodbye for a second time because I wanted to retire here but things don’t always go as you want. I feel physically and mentally able to keep playing. I am in good shape and I will look elsewhere for games.”

“I still feel I can play, and want to keep playing,” he added. “I have not listened to any offers [from other clubs] yet, but I will now. We will sit down and look at what we have, before making a decision when the time comes.”

Atletico will honour Torres at their last home game of the season against Eibar on 20 May and will make it an “unforgettable” occasion.

“Fernando is a legend of our club,” said Atletico president Enrique Cerezo. “The doors of Atletico de Madrid will always be open for him.”

“We have always said that he would have the decision about his future because this is his home and if he has decided to continue his professional career from the next season in another place, I can only thank him for everything he has given us, which is a lot.”

Barca on steady course to La Liga title after Madrid derby ends in draw

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FC Barcelona is on a steady course to win their 25th La Liga title after the match between their two closest rivals, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid ended in a 1-1 draw.

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick for runaway leaders Barcelona as the Spanish giants equalled the La Liga record of 38 games unbeaten with a 3-1 victory over Leganes. The previous record by was held Real Sociedad, across 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons, a record that Barca could yet break next week at home against Valencia.

Messi began the scoring when he curled home a stunning 30-yard free-kick before latching onto Philippe Coutinho’s through ball to make it 2-0.

Although Leganes winger Nabil el Zhar pulled one back Messi scored once more, this time from Ousmane Dembele’s pass to complete a 45th career hat-trick.

They are also just seven games from an unbeaten La Liga season, and were 12 points above Atletico Madrid for a brief moment.

Although Atletico could have reduced the deficit, the Madrid team were held to a stalemate against their neighbouring rivals Real.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for a 10th consecutive match for Real when he volleyed home Gareth Bale’s left-wing cross for his 20th goal in 10 club appearances, but Atletico was able to respond through Antoine Griezmann, who equalised on the rebound after Vitolo’s shot was saved by Keylor Navas.

While it meant that Atletico would be four points above Real, they are eleven behind Barca.

It came as a surprise when Ronaldo was replaced by Karim Benzema for the final 26 minutes, perhaps with Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Juventus in mind.

“We’ve got a lot of games and from time to time he has to rest,” said Real coach Zinedine Zidane. “He’s clever and there are times when you have to rest. Nowadays he needs it and every time it does him good.”

“I’m happy with the match and how we performed because we clearly deserved more. It was a shame we didn’t get more from it but we could have even lost the game at the end.”