maandag 7 november 2011

La Liga

Real Madrid 7-1 Osasuna: Ronaldo fires hat trick as Jose Mourinho's men destroy visitors and extend lead at La Liga summit

The Portuguese attacker inspired his side to go goal crazy against Jose Luise Mendilibar's men who really struggled to compete with the stars of Madrid

Real Madrid cruised to an emphatic 7-1 win against 10-man Osasuna at the Bernabeu to extend their lead at the top of La Liga to four points.

The home side opened the scoring on 23 minutes minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo found the back of the net. Ibrahima Balde equalized eight minutes later before Pepe restored the lead on 34 minutes. 

Higuain gave Madrid a 3-1 lead at the break before Ronaldo completed his hat trick early in the second period with two quick strikes as Osasuna were reduced to 10 when debutant Satrustegui was shown a second yellow. Karim Benzema added another two to complete the rout.

Jose Mourinho's men will remain as the league's leaders although rivals Barcelona can reduce the deficit to one point if they are victorious on Sunday evening versus Athletic Bilbao. 

Despite looking a little casual in the early stages, Madrid took the lead in the 23rd minute through a slight defensive lapse from Osasuna. Angel Di Maria curled an inviting ball into the box from the right wing which was met with a precise header from Ronaldo, who diverted the ball over Andres.

The home team looked comfortable after going a goal up yet were pegged back on 31 minutes after a quick set piece from Osasuna. Madrid expected its opposition to shoot from the edge of the box until Raul Garcia quickly slid the ball to Ibrahima Balde who placed the ball between the legs of Iker Casillas and into the net from 12 yards out - amid complaints from Los Blancos players.

However, an angry Madrid did not have to wait long until they took the lead for a second time. Jose Luis Mendilibar's men failed to clear a corner which led to Di Maria whipping a cross to the back post which was headed into the bottom corner by Pepe, despite Ronaldo's best attempts to steal the goal.

Mourinho's men certainly had their tails up and added a delightful third on 40 minutes following some great build-up play. Mesut Ozil slid the ball to Di Maria on the edge of the box who then played a through ball to Gonzalo Higuain. The striker turned his marker before curling the ball into the top corner from 15 yards out - a wonderful goal from the in-form frontman, to give his side a comfortable half-time lead.

Madrid did not have to wait long in the second half to extend its lead when Satrustegui was shown a second yellow card in the 55th minute for bringing down Ozil in the box. Ronaldo stepped up to smash the ball into the bottom corner, sending Andres the wrong way.
Ronaldo grabbed his 12th Real Madrid hat trick three minutes later as Madrid scored its fifth of the game. Alvaro Arbeloa did well to make his way into the box before clipping a cross over to the Portuguese attacker to head into the top corner.

Madrid added another on 63 minutes when Fabio Coentrao beat Damia before clipping the ball into the box for substitute Karim Benzema to smash the ball past Andres from six yards out.

On 81 minutes the home side added a seventh goal after some good play by Arbeloa. The full-back won the ball in midfield before sliding it into the path of Benzema who lashed it home from 12 yards out past the helpless Andres to complete the scoring.

With an international break interrupting domestic fixtures next weekend, Madrid returns to La Liga action in a fortnight's time when it travels to Valencia. Osasuna will entertain Rayo Vallecano on November 20.

Athletic Bilbao 2-2 Barcelona: Injury-time Messi strike salvages point for champions at rain-soaked San Mames

The Argentina striker was at hand to save the Catalan giants from their first defeat of the season as los Leones pushed La Liga Champions to the last

Barcelona's unbeaten streak extended to 24 matches in all competitions, but the Catalan giants fell further behind their el Clasico rivals at the top of La Liga after being held to a 2-2 draw by Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. 

Los Leones took the lead with a wonderful strike from Ander Herrera, only for Barcelona to peg them back four minutes later when Cesc Fabregas headed home the equaliser. 

The rain continued to fall relentlessly, impacting on the match in the second half, and Gerard Pique shinned the ball beyond his own goalkeeper to give Bilbao the lead with just over ten minutes remaining.  

Lionel Messi rescued Barcelona at the death with his first away goal of the season to ensure the Catalan giants continued their unbeaten start. 

Pep Guardiola opted to leave David Villa on the bench for the second consecutive match as La Liga Champions welcomed back Andres Iniesta and Xavi for the trip to San Mames. 

And club captain Xavi combined with Adriano inside the opening five minutes, but the Brazilian's effort was held at the second attempt by Bilbao's 'keeper in treacherous conditions. 

The opening quarter of a hour passed with neither side able to gain a upper hand in the match until a moment of magic from Herrera. 

After 898 minutes of Victor Valdes' goal being impenetrable, Markel Susaeta took advantage of Javier Mascheranos' slip to slide the ball across to Herrera. The Spanish midfielder took a touch to set himself before expertly curling an effort beyond the Spanish shot stopper. 

Bilbao's lead lasted only four minutes before Eric Abidal swung in a beautiful cross toFabregas who generated enough pace on his header for the ball to nestle in the top corner.

Neither side was able to dominate possession with both teams surrendering the ball repeatedly as the conditions worsened at San Mames, with the rain falling relentlessly during the interval and it took a defensive error to bring about the game's next goal. 

Iker Muniain swung a corner across and after several ricochets in the six yard box Piqueinadvertently touched the ball beyond Valdes to gift Bilbao the lead with little over ten minutes remaining. 

The Catalan giants went in search of a late equaliser and it came in the 93rd minute whenMessi was on hand to score with a swipe of his left-foot, registering his first goal at San Mames in dramatic circumstances. 

Guardiola's side are three points behind Real Madrid at the top of La Liga and will hope to return to winning ways when Zaragoza visit Camp Nou following the international break. 

Bilbao, meanwhile, stretched their unbeaten run to ten matches and will be full of confidence ahead of their trip to Sevilla with both sides hunting the Champions League spots.


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