Usual business resumed in La Liga for its ninth gameweek, as Real Madrid went to the top of the table with a late win against Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona, too, managed to nick a stoppage time goal to win at Valencia as Cesare Prandelli’s first game at the Mestalla almost handed Los Che a famous win.
Here are the talking points from the weekend’s La Liga action:
Sevilla end Atlético’s unbeaten streak
Atlético Madrid lost their first game of the season as Sevilla maintained their perfect home record to move up to second in the table. Steven N’Zonzi‘s 73rd minute goal was set up by Atlético loanee Luciano Vietto, and it was a deserved win for Jorge Sampaoli‘s men in the rain.
Sevilla had the better chances throughout the game, and whatever Atlético threw at them was thwarted by the excellent Sergio Rico in Sevilla’s goal. Los Nervionses are now just a point behind league leaders Real Madrid, while Atlético dropped out of the top four, with results elsewhere not favouring Diego Simeone’s side.
Real Madrid, Barcelona leave it late
It was turning out to be another frustrating evening for Zinedine Zidane‘s Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao, but Alvaro Morata‘s 84th minute winner settled the nerves at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos took an early lead through Karim Benzema, but were pegged back by the half hour mark when Sabin Merino pulled the away side level.
Real Madrid made two attacking changes in the second half which were vindicated as Morata scored his fourth goal of the season. The win was enough to take Real Madrid to the top, as Atlético’s loss earlier in the day helped their cause.
3 – Álvaro Morata has scored more goals as a substitute than any other La Liga player this season (all competitions). Role. pic.twitter.com/f56Mb1bGKa
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 23, 2016
On Saturday, Real Madrid’s big rivals, Barcelona, also had a scare before finding a late winner at Valencia. In an entertaining game that ebbed and flowed, Barca’s first half lead via a Leo Messi goal was cancelled out in the second half by two Valencia goals inside four minutes.
But Prandelli was to suffer his first defeat in Spain as Messi’s stoppage time penalty handed the Blaugrana a vital win that keeps them on Real Madrid’s toes.
Celta dominate Galician derby
Iago Aspas was Celta Vigo’s tormentor-in-chief as they saw off local rivals Deportivo La Coruna 4-1 at the Balaidos. Aspas scored twice, and another local boy, Celta captain Hugo Mallo, found the net for the home side as Deportivo conceded four goals for the second game running.
Before today a Galician player hadn't scored in a derby for Celta since 1973… today two have: Mallo, Aspas!
— Alexandra Jonson (@AlexandraJonson) October 23, 2016
Deportivo took four points off Celta in the two Galician derbies last season, but Aspas reminded everyone of Celta’s superior quality this season. Celta’s win equaled the Liga head-to-head between the two sides, and local boy, Aspas, aimed digs at the travelling support with his goal celebrations.
Las Palmas keep on entertaining, but their wins have dried up
Quique Setien‘s Las Palmas were the early pace-setters in the Liga this season, but yesterday’s loss to Villarreal stretched their winless run to over a month now. Los Amarillos, however, served up their usual bout of entertainment with a stunning Kevin-Prince Boateng goal in the first half.
Osasuna 1-2 Real Betis
Espanyol 3-3 Eibar
Valencia 2-3 Barcelona
Real Sociedad 3-0 Alaves
Granada 0-0 Sporting Gijon
Celta Vigo 4-1 Deportivo La Coruna
Sevilla 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Malaga 4-0 Leganes
Villarreal 2-1 Las Palmas
Real Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
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