La Liga Stock Watch: Who Rose, Who Fell This Weekend?
With the 22nd round of La Liga behind us, it's time to take a look at who fared well this weekend and who disappointed. From an own goal to a halfway line belter, there were plenty of goals and drama to ponder upon.
Here is a snapshot of who will have started the week in high spirits and who, on the contrary, will be hoping to forget the weekend in a rush.
Stock Down: Deportivo’s Late Surrender
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Things couldn’t have started better for Deportivo La Coruña in their match against Getafe in Madrid.
The Getafe keeper Miguel Moya came in late to claim a through ball and brought Riki down in the penalty box. The referee had no doubts and gave the penalty to Deportivo and a red card to Moya. Pizzi made no mistake from the spot, and just 10 minutes into the game, the team from La Coruña were a goal and a man up.
However, they could not make their superiority count and conceded a clumsy penalty themselves with 25 minutes on the clock.
From there on it all went downhill for Depor.
In the 70th minute, Abel Aguilar was sent off for a second bookable offence and 10 minutes later, Getafe scored two goals in the space of three minutes.
Deportivo remain rock bottom in the league table and have now lost three games in a row, and they will have to do something special to avoid returning to the second division just one year after being promoted.
Stock Up: Sevilla’s Wonder Goals
Their two goals in the their victory over Rayo Vallecano were arguably the two most spectacular goals of the week. The first came from an intricate phase of play that ended with Alvaro Negredo skillfully backheeling the ball into the net.
The second was a halfway line screamer from Ivan Rakitic after the Rayo Vallecano goalkeeper had come off his line.
Another positive aspect Emery will take of this game is the good form goalkeeper Antonio Beto showed in his first league match of the season. Having lost their two first choice goalkeepers in the space of a week, one to Real Madrid, the other to injury, Sevilla fans will be happy to know Beto can deliver when called upon.
Stock Down: Mallorca and Caparros
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Mallorca crumbled to a fourth consecutive defeat in the league to Real Sociedad on Sunday, and that was enough to get their coach Joaquin Caparros sacked. Having been comprehensively beaten by three goals to nil, Mallorca now stand 19th in the league, four points off safety.
They are still yet to win in 2013, and newly appointed coach Gregorio Manzano will have a hard task of keeping the team from the Baleares in the first division for the 16th consecutive year.
His tenure at the head of the club will start with a high-pressure relegation six-pointer at Osasuna on Saturday.
Stock Up: Ever Banega and Valencia
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After a week filled with controversy, the Argentine midfielder Ever Banega proved his critics wrong and won back the support of his fans with his goal against Barcelona.
He was reported to have arrived in “bad condition” and late to training on Friday morning. A claim that the Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde then minimized by telling the press he had only been five minutes late and that he was in normal conditions (via ESPN).
Whatever he had done wrong was most likely forgotten the very second the ball he drilled past Valdés and hit the back of the Barcelona net.
After the five-goal hammering Valencia took last week, the draw against Barcelona, who had only dropped five points all season, was all-important. It may serve as a stepping stone to regain confidence and renew their fight to be in the Champions League spots come the end of the season.
Stock Up: Atlético Win Again
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At the top of the table Atlético were the ones who undoubtedly benefited most from the 22nd round of La Liga. They were the only team in the top seven to pick up all three points with their win against Betis at the Vicente Calderon.
With their hard-fought, one-goal win, they closed the gap with front-runners Barcelona to nine points and pulled further away from their city rivals Real Madrid.
Atlético fans have been in for a real treat this season, as that was the 20th straight home win in all competitions for the Colchoneros. With Diego Simeone at the helm, the fans will be allowing themselves to dream again. It seems increasingly likely that they will finish above their arch-rivals in the league, guaranteeing them prime European football next season, and they may even have a say in the title race.
Stock Down: Ronaldo and Real Madrid
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It’s the 21st minute of the game between Real Madrid and Granada, the scoreboard is still blank when the referee signals for a corner to be taken from the left side of the goal. Cristiano Ronaldo awaits at the near post when the ball is whipped in. The Portuguese jumps to reach the ball, and the ball glances off the top of his head and buries itself in the side netting, leaving the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.
You might think this is routine, just CR7’s 22nd goal of the season, but instead of wheeling away in celebration, he lifts his arms in dismay.
The problem is the keeper in question was Real Madrid’s Diego Lopez and the goal was Ronaldo’s first own goal of his professional career.
Granada went on to win that game with that solitary goal and achieved the feat of beating the La Liga champions without having a shot on target.
However, the blame shouldn’t all fall on Ronaldo alone, Karim Benzema managed an even bigger blooper in the second half, putting the ball wide of Granada’s open goal.
Los Blancos’ overall performance was so poor that you could difficulty argue they deserved much more from the game. Although they may have given up on retaining their title several weeks ago, this type of performance won’t do their image, or confidence, any good.