Here's turfFootball's La Liga Weekly covering the action-packed Matchday 35 of the Spanish League.
July 11, 2020, 11:43 a.m.
Matchday 35 of La Liga was filled with action, heartbreaks and triumphs. On one hand Espanyol were relegated from the top flight for the first time in 26 years, while on the other hand, Real Madrid’s impeccable record since the return of La Liga continued. Here’s turfFootball’s Matchday 35 report of La Liga.
In the first game of the week, 8th placed Valencia hosted the 13th placed, Real Valladolid. The start of the game was not so as enthralling as one would want it to be. The first real chance at goal coming in the 25th minute for Valladolid, which finally added some spark to the game. Valencia was the first team to open the scoring with a goal coming in from the Valencia center-forward Maxi Gomez, in the 30th minute of the game. However, Valladolid came back from this one-goal deficit earlier at the start of the second half. The goal of Victor Garcia was a beautiful 360° spin, combined with a beautiful finish into the bottom right corner of the keeper. The 13th placed Valladolid were able to hang onto their 1-1 draw, until the final minutes of the game. The final goal of the game came from the South Korean, Lee Kang-in in the 89th minute of the team. A well-struck shot from outside of the D, and placed just beyond of the Valladolid skipper, Jordi Masip. Real Valladolid moved to the 14th position at the end of the gameweek but gave the Los Murcelagos as pretty solid run for their money.
The 15th placed Celta Vigo hosted the 3rd placed Atletico Madrid. The match was important for both sides as one faced the fear of relegation, while other was fighting to fix their position in the top 4. The start of the match was pretty electrifying as Atleti opened the scoring of the game as soon as the first of the game. Atleti won the possession from Celta after very heavy pressing, before the finish by Alvaro Morata from an easy Angel Correa cross. The game was pretty attacking, but not many major chances were created from either of the teams. Celta at home have been a force to be reckoned with. And so did Celta strike. At the start of the second half, Celta Vigo scored from a fantabulous chip from Fran Beltran. The match ended in a 1-1 in what was a pretty balanced game.
The match was a pretty important and an interesting one. With both the teams fighting to play in the European competition next season, stakes were high at this match. The first half of the game remained goal-less. The scoring opened as late as in the 66th minute after a stone-cold finish from the Villareal skipper and veteran Santi Cazorla. But Getafe had their fair share of chances and finally equalized in the 80th minute of the game. Hugo Duro scored an easy header past Asenjo from a beautiful cross from Portillo. But Getafe’s fate was about to turn around when Villareal won another penalty. The captain stepped up to take the spot-kick, and once again sent the keeper the wrong way. But that was not the end of the game! The Villareal played a marvelous through ball to the #20, Ruben Pena who put the ball where it needed to be.
This battle between midtable teams was a one-sided show. Betis opened in the scoring in just the 4th minute of the game through a Rodriguez strike. Betis were relentless in their attack and managed to find the net again in the 25th minute when their Left Back Alfonso Pedraza smacked the ball past Herrera. From here on it became a mammoth task for Osasuna to come back into the game and Betis’s compact defense did not help them either.
They managed to put the final nail in the coffin in the very last minute of the game, completing a 3-0 rout.
Espanyol had to win this match to avoid relegation and they started with resolve. They were organized in defense and were not allowing Barcelona’s attackers to come into the game. They even created a great chance in the first half which was denied by Ter Stegen’s superb save.
The second half had a weird start. Ansu Fati was red-carded 5 minutes after coming on after an intrusion from VAR. Espanyol’s advantage was short-lived though as Pol Lozano received a red card for a similar challenge 3 minutes later. This red card was a disaster for Espanyol as their defense went to tatters after this. Barcelona found the breakthrough in a short while after a brilliant link-up between Griezmann and Messi was finished by Suarez.
Espanyol tried to break the Barcelona defense quiet a few times after the goal, but the attack led by Raul De Thomas couldn’t beat Ter Stegen. Hence, Barcelona sent arch city rivals Espanyol to the second division with a celebration of crackers.
For Mallorca this was among those do or die matches, a defeat would have made it nearly impossible for them to stay in the top flight. The game was fast-paced with both Mallorca and Levante trying to catch the opponent on the break. The first breakthrough of the match came from a great worked up play finished by Cucho Hernandez in the 40th minute. Though both the teams attacked well, Levante failed to register a single shot on target compared to Mallorca’s four. The highlight of the match again was the Japanese sensation Take Kubo who rampaged on the right-wing created all sorts of problems for Levante. It was him who scored Mallorca’s second goal too in the 84th minute. This 2-0 victory has put Alaves just 2 points shy of Alaves and it seems like they might just edge past their way into the top flight next season.
Eibar v Leganes was, by all means, the dullest game of Matchday 35. The game was terribly slow with both failing to create any sort of goalscoring chances. In fact, the total number of shots on target in the entire game was just 1. One could say that Eibar were the slightly better side because of the 8 corners they were awarded but they did not pose any major threat either. The game ended goalless as expected and this result has all but confirmed Eibar’s demotion from the Spanish First Division.
With 3 more matches to go, Sevilla has solidified their berth in the UCL next season with a victory against the Basque Club. Sevilla now has 63 points, 6 points more than Villareal, which is in the 5th position. Consecutive losses for Athletic Bilbao at San Memes see them slip to 10th position and their chances of Europa League next season look bleak now.
Ever Banega inspired Sevilla’s comeback after the hosts picked up an early lead from a goal by their right back Ander Capa. Ever Banega scored a goal and further assisted one to Munir.
Real Sociedad’s poor run of form post lockdown continues further. La Real’s have only had one victory since the restart. This poor run of form saw them slipped to the 7th position. UCL qualification seems unlikely for La Real’s at the moment. A victory for Granada meant that they are still in the race for the 2nd berth to the Europa League group stage.
Real Sociedad were the clearly better team throughout the game leading in almost every offensive statistic. Despite being the better team, Sociedad saw themselves trailing by 2 goals at halftime with goals from Soldado and Antonio Puertas. La Real’s continued to pile up pressure on the Andalusian Club and equalized by Oyarzabal’s goal in the 83rd minute. However, there was still a twist left in this game. In the 88th minute, Granada again took the lead with a goal from Domingos Duarte.
Champions League draws were announced yesterday and with this solid performance, the Los Blancos issued a statement to Pep’s team. Real Madrid further solidified their position at the top of the table and its only a matter of time before they win their 35th league title. Alaves’s defeat has intensified the relegation battle with Celta Vigo, Alaves, and Mallorca fighting to stay in the top division.
The Los Blancos took lead from yet another spot-kick in the 11th minute scored by Karim Benzema. Real Madrid got better of Alaves in all departments of the game. Alaves failed to convert the few chances that came their way in the first half. Real Madrid doubled their lead just 5 minutes into the second half with a goal from Asensio. A brilliant team performance from the Los Blancos takes them one step closer to their 35th League title.