Barcelona, Atletico take advantage of Real’s absence in La Liga weekend
Madrid, Dec 18 (IANS) FC Barcelona enjoyed an easy 4-0 win at home against Deportivo la Coruna to stretch their lead at the top of the La Liga football championship to six points over second placed Atletico Madrid, eight over Valencia and 11 over Real Madrid.
Barcelona led 2-0 at halftime thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Paullinho, before Suarez made it 3-0 soon after the break on Sunday night, reports Xinhua news agency.
Lionel Messi had a penalty saved and Paulinho netted his second after a Suarez shot hit the post and the final score would have been bigger if the former hadn’t hit the woodwork on three separate occasions.
The only setback for Barca was a muscle injury to Paco Alcacer which means he will miss next weekend’s Clasico against Real Madrid, who didn’t play this weekend as they were in the World Club Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, Fernando Torres scored the only goal of the game as Atletico Madrid moved to second place in the La Liga on Saturday night following a 1-0 win at home against Deportivo Alaves.
Atletico’s win took them above Valencia who fell to their second consecutive away defeat as they lost 1-2 against Eibar in a rainy Ipurua Stadium.
Girona’s incredible season continued as they defeated Getafe 1-0 to move into contention for a place in Europe thanks to Cristian Stuani’s fifth minute goal.
The Catalans’ win momentarily lifted them into sixth place in the table, but that only lasted for four hours before Villarreal reclaimed the final European place with a 1-0 win away over Celta Vigo.
Both sides were missing key players, but Celta suffered without Spain international Iago Aspas and Pablo Fornals’ first ever goal for Villarreal was enough to give them all three points.
Espanyol looked to be cruising to an away victory as they led 2-0 away against struggling Las Palmas with just 13 minutes remaining only to allow the home side to draw level through Loric Remi and Calleri.
Las Palmas would have won had it not been for Pau Lopez’s stunning 96th-minute save to deny a Jonathan Viera penalty.
The Basque derby in Bilbao’s San Mames between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Sociedad was less thrilling and ended 0-0 in a match where tension and tackles held the edge over football.
The best news from the 0-0 draw between Sevilla and Levante was the former’s coach Eduardo Berizzo’s return just 17 days after a cancer operation.