Atletico Madrid had been top by three points, their first time on top in eighteen years, but their form has dipped since the new year. On Saturday, they slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat at lowly Almeria. Goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia saw red with four minutes left. Midfielder Gabi put the gloves on but couldn’t keep out the penalty from Verza. It was a brace from the Spanish midfielder that sunk Diego Simeone’s men.
Real Madrid had earlier gained a 4-2 victory over Villareal. Atletico’s defeat saw them slip behind their city rivals on the tightest of goal differences. Read a match report on another impressive performance from Los Blancos here: http://www.laligablog.com/?p=3808
Barcelona knew what they had to do on Sunday. Tata Martino’s charges knew that victory of any kind at Sevilla would put them top on goal difference. They didn’t disappoint. It was the home side who took the lead on 15 minutes from Alberto Moreno, after good play by Rakitic. Left back Moreno had been a transfer target for Manchester United. Moyes could regret letting him slip through the net.
Alexis Sanchez equalised for Barca on 34 minutes. It was a lucky goal, as he was clearly offside before he headed the ball in. There was nothing fortuitous about the next two goals. Lionel Messi scored either side of the break. He looks back to his best, and the maestro will surely be tormenting defences for fun as the season approaches its climax.
Cesc Fabregas prodded home a fourth on 88 minutes. The 4-1 away victory was well deserved, despite a strong showing by Sevilla. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are now locked together on 57 points, with only 6 goals separating their goal differences. Hold onto your hats, there are more twists and turns to come than on the Sochi luge course.