La Liga Week 3: Real Madrid go three points clear as Barcelona drop points again

Real Madrid made it three wins out of three with a 3-1 win at home to newly promoted Almeria. Javier Saviola opened the scoring with his first goal for Madrid since signing from rivals Barcelona. Wesley Sneijder scored his fourth of the season with another superb free kick to make it two-nil after 68 minutes. Uche pulled a goal back for Almeria, but Higuian made it 3-1 lobbing the keeper with three minutes to go.

The result suggests an easy game for Madrid but it was far from it. Almeria took the game to the champions and were unlucky to have what seemed a perfectly good equalizer disallowed after 54 minutes. The referee then unjustly sent off Almeria’s Crusat after 62 minutes. Even so ten man Almeria managed to pull a goal back and they caused Madrid quite a few problems.

Barcelona‘s problems continue as they could do no more than a 0-0 draw away to Osasuna. Neither side created much and there was a very disappointing 90 minutes from Thierry Henry who was never in the match. Giovani dos Santos made his first start in the team, and he was substituted near the end by Bojan Krkic who made his first team debut aged just 17 years and 20 days. Read the full match report on the Osasuna-Barça game here.

Sevilla are the only team apart from Madrid with a 100% record. They easily disposed of Recreativo winning 4-1 with two goals each from Kanoute and Kerzhakov. There should have been a hat-trick for Kerzhakov, but he blasted a penalty over the crossbar. Recre’s consolation goal came from Aitor.

Atletico Madrid are still without a win this season after they could only manage a 1-1 draw away to Murcia. Aguero gave Atletico the lead after 14 minutes, but Gallardo equalized for Murcia with ten minutes remaining. It is Atletico’s worst start to a season since 1994/5.

Athletic Bilbao and Zaragoza also drew 1-1. Susaeta gave the Basque team an early lead with an excellent direct free kick but Diego Milito equalized soon after for Zaragoza.

Valencia had to wait until the 89th minute for their winner at home to Valladolid. Kome put the visitors ahead early on, and Morientes equalized when he pounced on a rebound after 23 minutes. With the seconds ticking away, a long shot from Silva ballooned off a defender and over the goalkeeper to make it 2-1 at the final whistle.

Espanyol also left it late to beat ten man Getafe. With half an hour remaining, substitute Granero was sent off after only being on the field for six minutes. Johnathon Soriano scored the only goal of the game with just three minutes to go.

Villarreal returned to winning ways after their home defeat to Real Madrid two weeks ago. Nihat scored a great free kick in the 85th minute to beat Mallorca 0-1.

Finally, there were 1-0 home victories for Racing and Deportivo. Pedro Munitis scored with a cool finish for Racing against Levante, and an early goal from Guardado was enough to secure the points for Depor against Betis.

Nic writes at the Barcelona blog.

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