La Liga Results: Analysis for Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao & All Matches
The 2013-14 La Liga season continued with a full schedule of matches over the long weekend of Nov. 1-4.
Barcelona and Espanyol kicked off the weekend with the Catalan derby on Friday, and it wrapped up with Elche vs. Villarreal on Monday night.
In the following slides, we recap all the action.
Click here for the league table.
Stats via WhoScored.com.
Friday: Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol
David Ramos/Getty Images
Alexis Sanchez scored in the second half as Barcelona laboured to a 1-0 win at home to local rivals Espanyol on Friday in La Liga action at the Camp Nou.
The win sent Barcelona, who remain unbeaten in the league, four points clear of Atletico Madrid atop the table. Atletico host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Espanyol remained in eighth place.
For Barcelona's third match in seven days, manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino made six changes to the side that won 3-0 at Celta Vigo on Tuesday. Marc Bartra, Carles Puyol, Adriano, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Pedro all came out of the starting XI, making way for Martin Montoya, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Neymar.
Barcelona maintained their 100 percent record at home this season, winning for the sixth time in as many tries. But superstar forward Lionel Messi failed to score for the fourth straight league match, and Barca never approached the heights they hit last season in beating Espanyol 4-0 in this same fixture.
The breakthrough finally came in the 68th minute.
Neymar collected a pass from Sergio Busquets on the right and passed through the legs of two defenders. The ball found Alexis' run at the far post, and the Chilean tapped in for the game's only goal.
It was Alexis' seventh league goal of the season, one fewer than Messi's total.
On target: 5-2
Rayo Vallecano 2-3 Real Madrid
Cristiano scored twice and Gareth Bale picked up a pair of assists as Real Madrid avoided embarrassment at Rayo Vallecano, who made things close in the second half thanks to a pair of penalties in quick succession.
Fewer than three minutes had ticked off the clock by the time Madrid found themselves in front—Ronaldo latching onto Luka Modric’s exceptional pass, blazing by Alejandro Galvez and finishing inside the far post.
Bale then got in on the action in the 31st minute when his right-footed cross found Karim Benzema in the goalmouth—the Frenchman heading a second Madrid goal past Vallecano goalkeeper Ruben Martinez.
Madrid looked in the clear by the time Bale and Ronaldo combined to notch a third goal shortly after the restart, but after Pepe and Marcelo were found guilty of fouls inside the area Vallecano trailed by just a single goal—Jonathan Viera having converted both spot-kicks.
But Madrid settled from there and managed to escape Vallecas with the important three points.
On target: 6-5
Real Sociedad 5-0 Osasuna
Five different players found the back of the net for Real Sociedad, Saturday, as the Basque outfit climbed into the top half of the Primera Division table following a one-sided win at home to Osasuna.
Ion Ansotegi began the onslaught just after the half-hour mark when his header from Ruben Pardo’s delivery found the bottom, right-hand corner of the net.
Defender Inigo Martinez doubled the hosts’ advantage shortly after the restart, but it was Antoine Griezmann’s headed goal in the 56th minute that put Sociedad out of sight on this day.
Gonzalo Castro and Haris Seferovic rounded out the scoring with goals in the final 10 minutes.
On target: 8-1
Saturday’s Other Matches
Almeria 1-0 Real Valladolid
Sevilla 0-1 Celta Vigo
Getafe 0-1 Valencia
Dorlan Pabon's goal was the difference as Valencia collected a much-needed three points away at Getafe on Sunday.
The Colombian, as per The State, scored with a long-range effort towards the end of the first half.
Valencia's victory ended a run of three straight Liga defeats and also represented a first clean sheet in five matches.
Getafe are still ahead of Valencia in the table, however. They're in sixth, with Valencia in ninth.
Aletico Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Goals from David Villa and Diego Costa earned Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
The result puts Atletico just a point behind Liga leaders Barcelona, who won on Friday night, and maintains their 100 percent home record in the division this season.
Villa's goal came in the 33rd minute and was a sniper's effort inside the penalty area. Costa doubled Atletico's lead with a typically composed finish soon after.
Bilbao's afternoon was made worse by the sending off of Erik Moran, for two bookable offences late on.
Sunday and Monday's Other Results
Levante 0-1 Granada
Diego 'Piti' Buonanotte scored the winner from a 90th-minute free-kick as Granada broke Levante hearts on Sunday evening in Spain.
Piti's fine curling effort found the top corner to stabilise Granada's mid-table occupancy.
Malaga 3-2 Real Betis
Malaga waited even later for their winner than Granada, with Samu scoring deep into added time to snatch a 3-2 win against Real Betis for the home side.
Roque Santa Cruz had put Malaga ahead, before Joan Verdu equalised for the visitors just after the half-hour mark.
Eliseu reasserted Malaga's lead, but Jordi Figueras' goal looked to have secured a point for Betis, until Samu popped up to steal all three.
Elche 0-1 Villarreal
In the final game of the matchday, Villarreal stole a 1-0 win against Elche thanks to Ikechukwu Uche's 90th minute winner. The visitors dominated the contest throughout, but needed a last-minute intervention from the Nigerian to finally get the win.
Villarreal move up to fourth with the win, while Elche sit 13th.