Real Madrid have well and truly rediscovered their championship seeking form that they showed from earlier on in the season, by taking their tally up to 9 goals without reply in their last two matches. This week’s victim, Real Sociedad.
Even without the absent Cristiano Ronaldo through injury, Real Madrid went in ahead at the break. It looked unlikely after a slow start from Real, and an encouraging lively display from a Sociedad team proving that they are more than capable of taking the challenge to their opponents. It was just on the stroke of half time though, that Illarramendi fed off a fierce Benzema shot, that was well saved by goalkeeper Bravo, but pushed out right into his path for the first goal of the night.
Real re-emerged for the second half buoyed from their opener, and took the game firmly into their grasp from there on in. Gareth Bale continued his goal scoring run of late, albeit from a terrible misguided pass from goalkeeper Bravo, taking advantage to convert into an empty net for two-nil.
Real were made to wait until the final ten minutes until they made the game safe. Pepe linked up with Ramos to send Real three goals to the good on 85 minutes, and just three minutes later Morata put the icing on the cake, cooling converting Di Maria’s through ball.
Despite Real Madrid’s goal rout of Sociedad, it gained them no advantage over their Madrid rivals Atletico, or Barcelona for that matter.
Altetico hosted a Villarreal team who have been inconsistent of late after a strong start to the season. Despite the unpredictability of their opponents, Atletico were determined not to give up top spot in the league, and made home advantage count early on as Raul Garcia scored what would turn out to be the only goal of the game. It was a narrow victory, but it’s a victory that keeps Atletico right where they want to be, and keeps asking questions of their nearby rivals in this late stage of the season.
Barcelona also did what was expected of them, inviting bottom club Real Betis to the Camp Nou. Betis could have wished for a better start, giving away a penalty inside the opening 15 minutes which Lionel Messi duly converted.
It was another Betis mistake that would extend Barcelona’s lead on the night to two, when Jordi put through his own net. However, Betis did reply through Castro in lightening quick time, just one minute later, to send a couple of nervy tremors bouncing around the stadium.
It was to prove in vein though. Betis made a spirited attempt of a comeback, but it wasn’t to be on the night, and Lionel Messi did what he does best and saw Barca home with just 4 minutes on the clock remaining.
These results at the top then, leaves thing as they were with Atletico top and one point clear of Barcelona in second, and Real Madrid two points further adrift in third.
At the bottom end of the table, Osasuna travelled to Almeria in Friday night’s evening kick-off. It was a relegation six pointer, with the winner jumping out of the relegation zone.
Come the final whistle, it would be Osasuna who took the chance to inflict pain onto one of their rivals, and help themselves in the process. First half goals from Magem and Arribas did the damage on Almeria, who did well to mount a second half challenge by Soriano pulling a goal back. But a terrible evening for Almeria was made worse by the end, with Ramos Lozano seeing red in second half stoppage time.
Rayo also took their chance to escape relegation danger, and now join the team they beat, Celta Vigo, on 36 points in the league after winning by three goals to nil on the night thanks to Rochina, and a Bueno double.
Friday, 4th April
Almería 1 Osasuna 2
(Soriano 73, Ramos Lozano so.90+4, Riera Magem 19, Arribas 33)
Saturday, 5th April
Atlético Madrid 1 Villarreal 0
(Raul Garcia 14)
Barcelona 3 Real Betis 1
(Messi pen.15, 86, Jordi og.67, Castro 68)
Real Sociedad 0 Real Madrid 4
(Illarramendi 45, Bale 66, Pepe 85, Morata 88)
Rayo 3 Celta Vigo 0
(Rochina 26, Bueno 49, 60, Rat-Dinca so.64)
Sunday, 6th April
Málaga 4 Granada 1
(Camacho 14, 37, Amrabat pen.50, Jimenez Lopez 74, El-Arabi 78)
Elche 1 Getafe CF 0
Sevilla 4 Espanyol 1
(Mbia 18, Gameiro 44, 84, Rakitic 89, Garcia de la Fuente pen.47)
Valladolid 0 Valencia 0
Monday, 7th April
Levante v Athletic 21:00