Spain and Italy are the focus of this instalment of the "Biggest World Football Blunders of the Weekend."
Mistakes in defense had a lot to do with several results in La Liga and Serie A on Saturday and Sunday, although a woeful display of officiating could well have reverberations in the Primera Division’s relegation race as well.
The following are five gaffes from the weekend’s action.
Both Real Madrid and Barcelona had previously stumbled at Osasuna this season, and on Sunday, Atletico Madrid became the third top-three side to fail to pick up all three points at El Sadar in 2013-14.
In fact, they returned to the capital empty-handed.
The returns of Toby Alderweireld and Filipe Luis to the Atletico defense were disastrous, and both were partly culpable for Alvaro Cejudo’s opener at the far post following an Osasuna corner in the opening minutes.
The entire back four, which also included Juanfran and Diego Godin, then allowed Emiliano Armenteros far too much space for his shot that gave the hosts a 2-0 advantage. More porous defending handed Osasuna a 3-0 lead just prior to the break when Roberto Torres scored with a simple header.
In the end, Javi Fuego’s mistake didn’t prevent Valencia from taking all three points at home to Granada, but until the first minute of second-half stoppage time, it looked very much like he had cost his side a previous victory.
With the two sides scoreless after the opening frame, Granada were gifted the opener just two minutes after the restart when Fuego generously chested Allan Nyom’s cross for Piti, who responded by lashing the ball into the back of the net.
Thankfully for Fuego, however, Valencia were back on level terms shortly after the hour mark through Paco Alcacer, and Ruben Vezo then scored the late winner to keep Los Che in the Europa League places.
Inter Milan’s struggles in Serie A continued on Sunday, when they could only draw 1-1 at home to 15th-place Cagliari.
It was the guests that struck first at the San Siro with Mauricio Pinilla converting from the spot following a Juan Jesus handball inside the area.
But Rolando pulled the Nerazzurri back to level terms in the 51st minute when he smashed a rebound conceded by Vlada Avramov into the back of the net.
Promoted Sassuolo are dead last in Serie A with 13 matches to play and sit four points back of safety following Sunday’s 3-2 loss away to Lazio.
Twice, I Noverdi overturned a one-goal deficit—Sergio Floccari cancelling Stefan Radu’s opener and then Antonio Floro Flores finding the back of the net just five minutes after Miroslav Klose’s 74th-minute, go-ahead goal.
But any hope the guests had for a result was snuffed out by defender Paolo Cannavaro with seven minutes left on the clock.
Radu’s drive had rattled off the post when the former Napoli man failed to clear the ball and ended up with an own-goal to his name.
Lazio, with the win, are 10th in the standings and level on points with AC Milan through 25 rounds.
It’s just not Real Betis’ season.
Already on their third manager of the campaign, the Seville side suffered from an appalling display of officiating on Sunday that left them 11 points back of safety in La Liga.
Early in the first half, the Verdiblancos thought they had a penalty when Ruben Castro was chopped to ground by Mikel Balenziaga, although referee Jesus Gil Manzano was unmoved and even booked Castro for diving.
Manzano then further infuriated the hosts when he awarded a spot-kick to Athletic following Damien Perquis’ challenge on Kike Sola, and just eight minutes later, Perquis was ejected for a challenge on Balenziaga.
Lorenzo Reyes joined his teammate in the dressing room just before the hour mark after picking up a second booking for a handball—his first having been presented for arguing the penalty.
And if that wasn’t enough, Betis might have had a penalty for a handball when Balenziaga blocked Castro’s shot, but once again, Manzano did nothing.