It was quite an impressive Sunday of football in the Spanish Primera. Barcelona and Real Madrid both thrashed their opponents with the now famously nicknamed MSN and BBC both getting on the scoresheet, the first time it has ever happened on the same matchday. Real got off to a sizzling start, the first 3 goals coming in just over 12 minutes, all of them well constructed and finished with immaculacy. Bale fired in a header for the first goal, beating his man to the near post during a corner and heading the ball past the keeper, who had now come tempted to try and fetch it out of the air but failed, into the empty net. For the second, we saw a sign of the redesigned Real Madrid under Zidane, as all of Real Madrid’s attackers, including the BBC, pressed high up the pitch. This resulted in Bale winning the ball back for his side after suffering from a crunching tackle. Carvajal immediately finessed the ball into the feet of Karim Benzema just outside the box, who then controlled it and passed it without even having to think twice about it, to his buddy Cristiano.
And then, Ronaldo volleyed it with such power into the net that the ball was barely visible.
After that, Benzema almost eclipsed his teammate’s superlative goal with a reverse half-volley of his own, converting on a cross from the lively Gareth Bale. So, Real were 3-0 up after just 12 minutes, and they cruised at that same pace for the rest of the half though they did not produce the same amount of goals per twelve minutes from then on.
Barcelona were, at least that’s what I thought, going to be facing a stern test against Athletic Bilbao, who had been on a good run of form as of late, even with their main man Aritz Aduriz missing. Iñaki Williams was set to lead the line for this game, and little did he know he was going to have such a Sisyphean task in his hands.
Bilbao started brightly, forcing a mistake from Pique and intercepting the ball from his presumptuous backpass to Bravo. The interceptor, Muniain, then fed to the hurriedly arriving Eraso, who, instead of going for power, went for the chip into the empty net, but missed it. Right after that miss, Barcelona were on the counter and Luis Suárez was chasing a through pass which you probably thought he was never going to get to, but he did, with the help of some tugging and shoving along the way. However, right after he got his first touch, the goalkeeper bundled him over, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.
Now, though I think the penalty decision was without question the right one, I also feel that the ref could’ve called it right when Suárez had started the slight tug back of his on the defender so that he could get to the ball. It was really a bit harsh to have a player sent off right at the very get-go of the game (3 mins), especially a goalkeeper. Anyways, that sort of destroyed any hope that Bilbao still had of getting, at least, a point from this game, as well as robbing us of the competitive football that we were bound to have.
Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid visited Las Palmas and secured the three points with the help of three goals. Antoine Griezmann scored a brace, and Filipe Luís got the other with a wonderful left-footed strike. I really do wonder when someone’s going to come with a serious offer for this Frenchman, as his form seems to be getting better and better. With that win, Atleti are now top of the La Liga table, in front of Barcelona who have a game more to play. It would be absolutely magical if they could keep this going till the very end of the season, and defying the odds once again by claiming the trophy.