La Liga competition took a disastrous turn away from football this week after Spanish star striker and Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres suffered a terrible head injury in the 84th minute against Deportivo La Coruna at Riazor. Diego Simeone’s side spent a scary 15 minutes on the field, after Torres collided with substitute Alex Bergantiños and suffered a nasty fall, slamming hard on the ground turf.
Fans waited with bated breath for updates after the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker was taken to a hospital for treatment after he appeared unconscious. But the striker was soon confirmed to be out of danger, and released from the hospital within the next 24 hours.
Coming to action on the field of play, Torres was rested for the weekend game after midweek scare. Atleti’s fixture against Valencia at home saw the Rojblancos dominate with Antonio Griezmann putting two goals in the net, while Kevin Gameiro added another to give an easy 3-0 victory to his side. But Atletico’s hopes of gaining a comfortable lead over Real Sociedad for the fourth position failed as La Real also won their fixture against Real Betis by 3-0. With just one point between the two, Simeone’s side need to ensure they do not slip up in upcoming fixtures, or they might give away their European competition ticket to Sociedad.
Real Madrid slips up again in defence
Eibar Vs Real Madrid. 68th minute. Sergi Enrich puts the ball in the back of the net after the away side fumbles up in the defence. But an offside flag raised by the assistant referee had the home fans frustrated. Three minutes later, a cross from Pedro Leon saw Ruben Pena pushing one in the back of the net to give Eibar its first goal in the game. In a match, completely dominated by Madrid, Eibar were able to put the ball back in the net on a couple of occasions – but with only one of them counting.
Zinedine Zidane’s side scored four goals, after an out-of-form Karim Benzema scored twice in the first half an-hour. James Rodriguez and Marco Asensio also found their names on the scoring sheet as the away side made it 4-0 with 30 minutes left to play. A late goal, however, stole a clean sheet from Keylor Navas’ records.
In spite of Zidane resting Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos for the upcoming Champions League fixture against Napoli, trio of Benzema, Rodriguez and Asensio were up for the task and took the game away from Eibar. “We brought a few players in who haven’t played so much recently and they did a great job. I’m pleased with our reaction and the way we played the game,” Zidane said in his post-match press conference.
But leaks from the defence are becoming a cause of concern for the Frenchman as Real saw Eibar scoring their first ever Liga goal against them at Ipurua. In last four games, the Blancos have conceded eight goals. On the upside, they’ve managed to score 11 goals as well to even out the damage. In that space, Real have lost out on five crucial points, because of their inability to defend their goal. Zidane needs to address the issue, especially with Barcelona finding the right footing once again in the league.
Barcelona back on top of things
Catalans restored their top position in the table, just few hours after Real’s victory, with a dominant 5-1 hammering of Celta Vigo at Camp Nou. Lionel Messi again led the team from the front by scoring two goals, while Neymar, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti also found their names in the score sheet.
The victory took Barca’s unbeaten streak in the league to 19 games. Regaining top position, against a side that thrashed them 4-3 in the reverse fixture last year, is a big boost for the Cules, especially after announcement of Luis Enrique’s departure earlier in the week. Rakitic described the victory as the “perfect preparation” prior to the arduous task of beating PSG convincingly in the Champions League fixture on Wednesday. “We maintained high intensity throughout the match… We need to keep this up. We will keep attacking until the very last minute (against PSG) and hopefully we can make a miracle happen,” the Croatian said after the game. The miracle in question is coming back from a 4-0 first leg deficit.
With Real slipping in defence, it is the perfect chance for Barcelona to take away Blancos’ best chance in years to win the La Liga trophy. It would be the perfect way for the club to bid farewell to the outgoing manager who gave the club two consecutive La Liga victories, including a treble in his first season.
Is Sevilla still a contender for the league?
Amid the battle between the perennial rivals in Real and Barcelona, the outside chance of Sevilla cannot be ignored. They’re slowly mounting towards the top of the table. With 55 points, Jorge Sampaoli’s side has already taken a huge lead over fourth-placed Atletico Madrid. With an away fixture yet to be played against Deportivo Alaves, Sevilla might find themselves at 58 points, just two points below Barcelona, by the end of the week.
Other results: Real Betis 2-3 Real Sociedad; Leganes 1-0 Granada; Villarreal 2-0 Espanyol; Sporting 0-1 Deportivo; Atletico Madrid 3-0 Valencia; Las Palmas 5-2 Osasuna; Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Malaga