By Lewis Irons

Vilanova

Tito is Flying high in his first season

Barcelona now sit eight points clear at the top of La Liga after Real Madrid slumped to a shock defeat at the hands of Sevilla, condemning Jose Mourinho’s side to their worst start to a La Liga campaign in over a decade.

 

For Barcelona however, it was a routine 4-1 victory over Getafe that saw the Catalans maintain their 100 per cent record this season.  And unlike Madrid there was no stutter in Barca’s performance, when Xavi fed a delightful chipped ball through to Tello on three minutes it seemed the scoring would begin immediately for Tito Vilanova’s side, but a great stop by Getafe keeper Miguel Angel Moya saved his side from suffering an early set back.

 

The game settled slightly after that, the next time the Getafe goal was threatened came 20 minutes later when Thiago went on a mazy dribble and struck the woodwork despite the despairing efforts of the Getafe backline.

 

It was just past the half hour mark when Barcelona finally broke the deadlock.  Fabregas weaved his way past two challenges on his way into the 18 yard box, before being barged off the ball. The defence could not prevent Adriano from slotting it home though, after the ball fell free from Fabregas’ run just eight yards from goal.

 

Moya was then immediately called upon after half time, limiting the score line to 1-0 on a number of occasions until past the hour mark.

 

Getafe were lucky to not concede a penalty on 65 minutes, when newly introduced Messi ran past Miguel Torres forcing a last ditch challenge from behind. He had only been on the pitch a minute and straight away ‘the Flea’ was changing the game.

 

Not long after, ‘the Dark Blues’ weren’t so lucky. Pedro was picked out on the left flank, before setting off on a direct run, cutting inside and out, and being clipped by Valera inside the area which forced the referee to finally give a penalty in favour of Barcelona.

 

Messi stepped up… and doubled his sides lead.

 

Five minutes later and he doubled his goal tally for the game, tapping in a threatening ball from Montoya and sealing all three points having only been on the pitch for just under twenty minutes.

 

A consolation goal was grabbed by 20 year-old Getafe substitute Pablo Sarabia when he struck an effort against another of the fixture’s substitutes, Javier Mascherano, which redirected the ball past Valdes and was credited as an own goal.

 

David Villa, yet another substitute, had a major impact in injury time when he ran through the defence and latched onto a lobbed through ball, bringing it down with his chest, and taking a perfect touch away from the outstretched leg of Valera and stroking the ball through the legs of Moya.

 

A comfortable victory for Cataluna saw the comfortable gap between fierce rivals Real Madrid extended to eight points. Amazingly, Real failed were to narrow the gap when they faced Sevilla in the later fixture on Saturday night.

 

Mourinho’s men struggle again

Trochowski, 1-0. A horror story painted all around Spain the day after Sevilla grabbed all three points at home to Madrid, aka the Galactico’s.

 

Sevilla began on the front foot, going close straight after kick off, but had to settle for a corner. It was a well worked corner however, as an inch perfect cross found the perfectly timed, unmarked run of Piotr Trochowski. Angel Di Maria, as shown by his teammates reactions, was the man at fault due to poor marking.

 

It was time to park the bus. Mourinhoesque tactics from Sevilla boss, Michel Gonzalez.

 

This of course, got the Real Madrid players riled. Gonzalo Higuain kicked out at Fernando Navarro prior to a bust up involving a number of players from both sides. Later still, Di Maria had a petty swipe at Ivan Rakitic, the two Argentinians were lucky to remain on the pitch.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo had a well struck free kick denied by Andres Palop, before Higuain turned well from a perfectly threaded pass by Mesut Ozil, but blazed high from 7 yards.

 

And the chances kept coming, like new faces into the Bernabeau. One of those new faces, Luka Modric, had a delightfully struck effort from 25 yards tipped onto the upright. Higuain on the follow up continued his rich vein of form that evening, and mishit horrifically wide.

 

Sevilla had a golden opportunity when Alvaro Negredo was gifted space by the deftest of touches from Jesus Navas, but the opportunity was wasted as he failed to hit the target.

 

But it was to be Sevilla’s day after a volleyed cross flew past Palop leaving Sergio Ramos with an open goal two yards out, but he fluffed his header onto the post and out for a goal kick.

 

From then on it was just sheer desperation form a Real side who had no luck on the day, and it leaves the Galacticos in a must win position week in, week out, as they attempt to claw down the gap that seems to be beyond repair.

 

Elsewhere in la Liga, second placed Malaga took on Levante at home and came out 3-1 winners.  Ex Barca and Real man Javier Saviola gave the hosts a valuable lead on 27 minutes.

 

And Malaga seemed set to take that lead into the interval, but Levante man Michel Herero and a thumping right peg thought otherwise when the Spaniard beat Malaga keeper Willy Caballero from nearly 25 yards.

 

Sanchez Jaoquin reinstated Malaga’s lead just before the hour mark and Francisco Portillo sealed the deal in the 90th minute, with a fantastic volley that he hit into the ground before it clipped the underside of the bar and found the top corner.

 

Thrilling encounters at the Vicente Calderon and the Estadi Cornella-el Prat (home to Espanyol) were the games of the weekend. Atletico Madrid found themselves 4-0 up with eight minutes to play, but narrowly escaped with a 4-3 victory. The fourth, and ultimately winning, goal came from the world class, Radamel Falcao.

 

Bilbao travelled to face Espanyol and had to battle from behind on two occasions in order to escape with a point. Fernando Llorente found his name on the score sheet on his return fixture which proved to be an unlucky evening for Espanyol, who would have been disappointed to lose the opportunity of their first win of the campaign.  However the thrilling draw at the weekend was the sides first point of the season, and means they remain alongside Osasuna and Granada in the drop zone, with Valencia and Real Madrid stuttering mid-table, and Barcelona and Malaga flying high at the top.

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