Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia all lost in European competitions this week in a shocking few days for the Spanish league. On the plus side however, Atletico Madrid recorded a positive 4-2 victory but only at the expense of their La Liga rivals, Valencia.
Beginning on Tuesday, Real Madrid slumped to defeat in Munich as Bayern scored a late winner to give them the advantage going into the second leg next Wednesday. Franck Ribery fired the hosts ahead in the first half but Mesut Ozil leveled the score just after half-time. Real seemed content with a 1-1 scoreline to take back to the Bernabeu and sat back for large portions of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo being largely ineffective.
But at the death Mario Gomez tapped home from a couple of yards out to send the Allianz Arena crazy and ensure Bayern travel to Madrid with a slender lead. It was the German’s 40th goal of the season despite having wasted a number of chances throughout the night.
Whilst Real couldn’t give Spain bragging rights over the rest of Europe, Barcelona could restore Spanish pride the following day at Stamford Bridge when they took on Chelsea. Shockingly however, a sole Didier Drogba strike was enough to beat the Catalans as Cheslea’s resistance was tested to the extremes.
The Ivorian striker scored just before half-time with the team’s only shot on target of the match, while Barca racked up a whopping 15 up the other end! Coupled with 70% of possession, Barcelona left England wondering just how they had come away with nothing that night as Alexis and Pedro both hit the woodwork and Fabregas saw a shot cleared off the line.
Onto the Europa League and with 3 of the 4 semi-finalists from Spain, one victory was surely on the cards and came courtesy of Atletico’s 4-2 win over country rivals Valencia in the Spanish capital.
Goal machine Radamel Falcao nodded Madrid ahead before Jonas equalised before the interval. Miranda then headed Atleti in front again before Adrian Lopez and a stunner from Falcao made the scoreline 4-1 and all but over. Valencia did however pull a late goal back and in doing so keep the tie alive going into the second leg; Ricardo Costa with a header to make it 4-2.
But over in Portugal, a below par Bilbao performance ended in defeat as Diego Capel’s superb long range strike secured a 2-1 victory for Sporting. Jon Aurtenetxe’s volley gave Bilbao a crucial away goal and the lead but ex-Liverpool defender, Emiliano Insua headed Lisbon back into it. Fernando Amorebieta struck a post for Bilbao just before Capel’s worldie stole the win for Lisbon – a goal which is well worth a view!
A disappointing week for Spain will no doubt be re-ignited with El Clasico around the corner and despite four European defeats, there is still real hope of all Spanish finals in both of the premier European competitions this season with all four matches neatly poised.