La Liga Week 32 Review: Barcelona Set New La Liga Record With Another Win
Barcelona set a new all-time La Liga record
They’ve come close to blowing it a few times, but Barcelona can bask in the glory of setting a brand new mark of 39 consecutive La Liga games unbeaten after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Valencia.
Bogey team Celta Vigo lie in wait in midweek, but if the Catalans can remain undefeated there, they’ll set another record of the most amount of games unbeaten from the start of a La Liga season. Not to mention that they’d then only be five away from going an entire league season without losing.
On the day, Philippe Coutinho’s star shone the brightest.
A delicious outside-of-the-foot pass played in Luis Suarez, and his low shot deceived Neto at his near post to put Barca one up.
Valencia, to their credit, came to play football, and on another day they might’ve had two or three goals themselves. Not for the first time this season, Ernesto Valverde’s side were indebted to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Samuel Umtiti powered a second-half header home to allow Barca some breathing space, but Los Che were never out of it. When Dani Parejo slotted home an 87th-minute penalty, it meant a nervous last few minutes for the hosts.
Much changed Real Madrid ease past Malaga
With nothing to play for other than pride in La Liga for the rest of the season, Zinedine Zidane took the opportunity to rest a number of his star players with the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich in mind.
It’s perhaps no wonder that the game at Malaga was a little flat for the most part, though a couple of moments of class won the visitors the match.
Returning to the club where he enjoyed much personal success, Isco showed his former employers no mercy when firing home a superb first-half free-kick, a goal he refused to celebrate.
Los Boquerones had a couple of chances of their own, but some wonderful inter-play by Real just after the hour mark saw Casemiro stroke them further ahead.
With the game already won, Zidane rotated still further, giving some much-needed minutes to Borja Mayoral and Dani Ceballos.
Perhaps the only sour notes for Los Blancos were Karim Benzema’s inability to hit the target yet again, and the mistake by Jesus Vallejo that allowed Rolan to score a consolation with the final touch of the game.
Torres begins his leaving party early
Football is often about timing. Being in the right place at the right time.
Fernando Torres probably knows that better than most having had a stellar career in Spain and England.
On a day when Atletico Madrid comfortably saw off opponents Levante, all of the talk was about El Nino after he notched his 100th goal for the club in his 275th game.
It took just after the half hour for Atleti to make inroads, but once Angel Correa put them ahead, there was only one winner in this game.
Antoine Griezmann doubled the lead just after the break, and Torres’ goal took the roof off of the Wanda Metropolitano.
As long as the Rojiblancos keep their form up, then they’ll finish the season above local rivals Real, something that Diego Simeone will be reminding his players in order to keep them motivated.
Sevilla grab an unlikely point
Not long ago, Sevilla were winning 2-0 at home against Barcelona with three minutes left, but contrived to end up drawing the game.
On this occasions, Villarreal were two up at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with 12 to play, but two late Sevilla goals saw the hosts grab an unlikely point.
Daniel Raba’s header on 36 saw the Yellow Submarine go ahead and then, in the space of six second-half minutes, Wissam Ben Yedder was sent off for Sevilla and Carlos Bacca put the visitors two up.
Jaume Costa was dismissed for Villarreal on 76 but Nolito missed the resulting penalty.
Fortunately, he atoned for his error within two minutes to give Vincenzo Montella’s side some hope, and then the excellent Steven N’Zonzi scored to knock the stuffing out of a spirited opponent.
Betis have an eye on Europe after win at Girona
When you consider that both Real and Atletico Madrid were unable to win at Girona’s Estadio Montilivi, it makes Betis’ 1-0 win on Friday night quite remarkable.
Only two teams in the Spanish top flight have conceded more goals than Quique Setien’s side, and both are in the bottom three.
However, the green and whites never looked troubled by a side that are going out with a whimper at the end of their debut season.
Loren Moron fired the only goal, which keeps Betis right in the hunt for a Europa League place. He connected with Joaquin's assist on 36, and thereafter, the visitors never looked back.
The expansive game so beloved by Setien was once again in evidence, and with the back four looking solid, they ensured a well-deserved victory.