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La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 36 [UPDATE]

May 8th, 2014

Last night Real Madrid played Valladolid, which could have easily seen FC barcelona knocked into third place in the league. The match had been postponed from April to allow Madrid rest time because of the Copa del Rey final and Champions League semi-final.

The result, a 1-1 draw thanks to a late goal from Valladolid, means Real Madrid took just one point, leaving them trailing the Catalans by a point. While not mathematically out of the running to take the league title, the chances slipped away last night.

At the weekend Barça plays Elche, while Atletico faces Malaga, while the last match of the season is against Atletico at the Nou Camp and may be the decider.

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La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 36

May 5th, 2014

While Barcelona’s Saturday afternoon clash was disappointing, Sunday evening also saw both the club’s rivals for the Spanish league title frustrated too. Levante beat Atletico 2-0, meaning Barça at least closed the gap by one point, which leaves them three points behind; and Valencia secured a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu leaving Real Madrid two points behind Barcelona with a game in hand.

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Late goal from Getafe frustrates Barça

May 5th, 2014

Saturday afternoon saw a disappointing result for FC Barcelona after when a match that looked like it was in the bag resulted in a draw due to a last minute goal from Getafe. The first home match since the death of Tito Vilanova last month started off slowly, while the Getafe defence prevented anything happening when the Catalans did get things together.

Although Barça was denied from playing their normal flowing style, finally Alves and Messi got together for a decisive move. Messi started to move, passing to Alves who powered up the right hand side of the pitch, crossed to Messi who put the ball in the net. After 22 minutes the deadlock was broken and Barcelona ahead!

Barça’s lead lasted 14 minutes, until a free kick awarded against them resulted in the visitors equalising. And despite a good move by Alexis towards the end of the first half the break came with the two teams level.

The second half started with Barcelona looking in much better form that before the break and started creating problems for Getafe. Bringing on Cesc Fabregas in place of Mascherano 20 minutes in quickly yielded results, with Cesc starting a move that saw Alexis score Barcelona’s second goal of the afternoon.

However, time and time again as the minutes counted down Barça was unable to score again, despite being given space to do so. And then, well into injury time, just before the final whistle blew the visitors scored again to level with Barcelona.

1-0 Messi (min 22)
1-1 Lafita (min 36)
2-1 Alexis (min 68)
2-2 Lafita (min 93)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 35

April 28th, 2014

Atletico Madrid remains at the top of the table after beating Valencia, while Barcelona is in the number two spot only by virtue of Real Madrid having played one match less. Madrid beat Osasuna 4-0 on Saturday and play the return leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

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Barça stages comeback against Villarreal after going 2 goals down

April 28th, 2014

Sunday’s match was bound to be a tough one after the shock of Tito Vilanova’s death from cancer on Friday. The players knew him well, having worked with him since he was Pep Guardiola’s right hand man prior to taking over the top job himself, and as a product of the club’s youth programme himself, he was Barça through and through.

After a minute’s silence for their much respected former coach, FC Barcelona dominated from the start but despite high possession they were unable to break through to Villarreal defence. Messi looked like he might do something for the Catalans to no avail; and when the hosts got the chance they really went for it too.

However, just when the first half looked like it would end goalless a last minute counter attack from Villarreal resulted in them going into the break ahead.

Back on after the break things started unravelling further for Barça when the home side scored a second goal 10 minutes in and it started to look like their slender league hopes would be dashed completely. However, two own goals from Villarreal in the space of a quarter hour levelled the score, a huge piece of luck for Barcelona; the second was a fantastic header by Musacchio that he is unlikely to forget any time soon.

Now on an even keel it was down to Messi five minutes later to put Barça ahead and completely turned around the match from the disaster it had looked at one point.

1-0 Cani (min 45)
2-0 Manu Trigueros (min 54)
2-1 Gabriel (min 64)
2-2 Musacchio (min 77)
2-3 Messi (min 82)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 34

April 21st, 2014

Atletico Madrid remain four points clear of second place FC Barcelona this weekend, with the Catalans in second place at least temporarily as Real Madrid’s match has been delayed until May due to Champions League commitments.

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Win against Athletic ends Barça losing streak

April 21st, 2014

Nothing much has seemed to go right for Barça of late, with FIFA’s transfer ban shortly preceding the club’s ejection from Champions League by Atletico Madrid and then the loss against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final last week. And then there are the league woes.

Athletic Bilbao are always a tough opponent and, standing fourth in the table, well up to strength this season. With Barça suffering three straight losses, Messi not performing lately and a number of players unavailable through injury last night’s match was always going to be tough. Messi did appear to have overcome at least some of his woes and appeared to have scored 18 minutes in. However, the ref ruled the goal offside and despite some chances the first half ended goalless.

It didn’t take long after the players came back on for the first goal of the match, when Aduriz scored for the Basque team four minutes in. The visitors looked to have scored a second soon after but, like Messi’s goal, it was ruled offside.

However, as Barcelona started to pile on the pressure things started to look better and finally, 25 minutes into the second half, Pedro scored the equaliser. Just two minutes later Messi blasted a free kick through the wall to put the Catalans ahead and seal three points.

0-1 Aduriz (min 49)
1-1 Pedro (min 71)
2-1 Messi (min 73)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 33

April 14th, 2014

FC Barcelona slipped into third place in the league after losing against Granada on Saturday. The result came at the worst possible time, with just five matches to play and coming four days after Atletico Madrid ended their Champions League hopes.

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Granada delivers blow to Barça’s league hopes

April 14th, 2014

A complete disaster. There is no other way to describe Saturday’s result again Granada and what should pretty much have been a formality for Barça turned into a humiliation for the Catalans as the team completely failed to make an impact on the pitch.

Granada scored the opener at the quarter hour mark. Brahimi slipped through Barça’s defence in the host’s first attack of the match and suddenly Granada was a goal ahead. While not the best position to be in, normally a one goal deficit wouldn’t be match deciding. However, it turned out to be the only goal of the night and the Barcelona players left the pitch with their tails between their legs.

Once again Barcelona completely dominated possession, with the home side registering a measly 14% throughout the match, yet the visitors were unable to do anything with the ball. According to the stats Barcelona shot at the goal 29 times, but they lacked their normal spark.

It has been a tough 10 days, following first the decision by FIFA to ban the club from completing any transfers during the next 14 months and then being knocked out of Champions League by Atletico Madrid. But the result from this weekend looks like they’ve now blown any remaining chance to take home the league title too.

Gerardo Martino said that the team lacked killer instinct on Saturday. But the question is, where has it gone?

For the last few matches even Leo Messi is has been lacking the creativity and passion that makes him such a pleasure to watch. It may indicate things are amiss behind the scenes either with the coach, or with the club directors. But whatever it is things need to be resolved in order not avoid this kind of meltdown happening next season.

1-0 Brahimi (min 15)

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 32

April 7th, 2014

While Atletico Madrid achieved a narrow victory against Villarreal on Saturday and Barcelona looking lacklustre against Betis, Real Madrid convincingly beating Real Sociedad 4-0 away. Barça is a single point behind Atletico, with Real Madrid trailing by two points leaving the league title open.

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