Tag Archives: Atletico Madrid

Shock wins for Tenerife, Valladolid and Xerez- La Liga Midweek Round-up

The bottom three in La Liga all pulled off impressive wins on Matchday 32, as each side battles to preserve their Primera Division status, coming into the final few fixtures of the campaign.

With only six games remaining Tenerife, Valladolid and Xerez all picked up another three points in their bid for survival and now the gap between Malaga in 17th and Tenerife in 18th stands at just three points, giving a few other sides above them a cause for concern.

Xerez, who have hit a good run of form in recent weeks by picking up 11 points from their last six games, continued their purple patch by upsetting Europa League semi-finalists Atletico Madrid 2-1 away from home with goals from Mario Bermejo and Emiliano Armenteros.

Tenerife scored two late goals to win 2-0 away at Sporting Gijon, and now look the more likely out of the three to survive.

Valladolid saw off out of sorts Sevilla 2-1 at the Jose Zorrilla, thanks to strikes from Diego Castro and Manucho, with Cala’s stunning 25-yard strike coming to late to salvage anything for the visitors.

Sevilla are now going to face a struggle to claim fourth place, with Mallorca a point clear of them following a 1-1 draw at Zaragoza.

At the top Barcelona remain three points clear of Real Madrid after coasting to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo at the Nou Camp, with Pedro scoring the pick of the goals from 40 yards. Real also won their fixture, but made hard work of it as they overcame Almeria 2-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo on the score sheet with a brilliant solo effort.

Meanwhile Valencia strengthened their case for third spot with an easy 2-0 over Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla.

Elsewhere Malaga and Osasuna played out an exciting 2-2 draw, Racing Santander beat Espanyol 3-1 and Getafe brushed aside Villarreal 3-0.

Spanish pair clash in Europa draw

Atletico Madrid and Valencia have been drawn to face each other in the tie of the round in the Europa League Quarter-final draw.

The two La Liga sides meet for the first leg at Valencia’s Mestella on Thursday 1st April, with the return in Madrid just a week later on April 8th.

It ruins any dreams of an all-Spanish final, but promises to be an intriguing battle nonetheless.

The winners of the tie face a tough semi-final draw in which they will be paired against the winner of Liverpool’s encounter with Benfica.

In the Champion’s League Barcelona face Arsenal in their quarter-final, which will see Thierry Henry return to face his former club for the first time since his move to the Catalan giants in June 2007.

The winner of that tie will face either Inter Milan or CSKA Moscow in the semi-finals.

Champion’s League Draw:

Lyon vs Bordeaux

Bayern Munich vs Manchester United

Arsenal vs Barcelona

Inter Milan vs CSKA Moscow

Europa League Draw:

Fulham vs Wolfsburg

Hamburg vs Standard Liege

Valencia vs Atletico Madrid

Benfica vs Liverpool

Valencia and Atletico edge through in thrillers

Valencia and Atletico Madrid ensured there will be two La Liga representatives in this season’s Europa League Quarter-Finals, after both sides snuck into the next round on the away goals rule.

David Villa was on top form, netting a hat-trick with Juan Mata scoring the other for Valencia as they played out arguably the game of the tournament so far with a 4-4 draw away to German side Werder Bremen, the scores 5-5 on aggregate.

However, it should have been a lot more comfortable for Los Che on the night.

Valencia led 3-1 at half-time and survived a late rally from Bremen, who clawed back to 3-3, only for Villa to restore the lead before Pizarro’s late leveller set up a tense finale. After surviving the late scare, it is Valencia who will take their place in Friday’s draw where they will be joined by Atletico Madrid after their impressive performance in Lisbon.

Sergio Aguero showed why he is one of the hottest properties in Europe at present, as he bagged a brace for Atletico as they held Sporting to a 2-2 draw. Atletico like Valencia, made it hard for themselves by leading twice on the night, allowing their hosts to level both times.

A gritty second half performance from Quique Flores’ men though was enough to put them  in the hat with their La Liga rivals, with both sides hoping to avoid favourites Liverpool, who saw off Lille 3-1 on aggregate, and Wolfsburg, who defeated Rubin Kazan 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a winner in the last minute of extra-time from Christian Gentner.

Friday’s draw will not only include the draws for the Quarter-finals but also the Semi-finals, so if both sides can avoid being placed in the same half of the competition then they could potentially face each other in an all Spanish final in Hamburg on 12th May.

The draw will follow the UEFA Champion’s League draw which takes place at 11am, with Barcelona the only surviving La Liga hopefuls in the competition.

Barca sole survivors for Spain, as Sevilla crash out

Sevilla were dumped out the Champion’s League last night by CSKA Moscow 3-2 on aggregate, leaving reigning World and European champions Barcelona as the country’s sole surviving club in the competition.

Goals from Tomas Necid and Keisuke Honda free-kick, gifted by a mistake from Andres Palop, sandwiched a close range strike from Diego Perotti as the Russian side sent Manolo Jimenez’s man tumbling out of the competition.

It has a been a disappointing show from Spanish sides other than Barca in recent years in Europe’s elite competition, with Real Madrid already on the scrapheap after their defeat to Lyon last week and Atletico demoted into the Europa League after their 3rd placed finish in the group stages.

Barcelona had no such problems progressing, after being dominated for large periods of the first leg at the Gottleib Daimler Stadion, they took Stuttgart apart at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night with a 4-0 victory and look well on course for the Bernabeu final on 22nd May.

They remain favourites for the big trophy, but you have to feel that overall it has been a very mixed showing from Spanish sides in the competition this season, especially with the side Real spent vast sums to assemble over the summer months falling so short of the finish.

I would partly put it down to poor defending.

The La Liga sides no longer have the impressive backlines of previous years gone by and away from home have looked somewhat fragile. Other than Barca, who tend to defend from midfield due to wealth of talent they possess through their central and wide positions, questions can be posed of all of the other sides competing in Europe as to the abilities to win ugly and grind out results away from home.

Real Madrid spent in excess of £200 million last summer, bringing in a wealth of talent in attack. In my opinion they have failed to build a team from the back, similar to what they did with the last line-up of galacticos at the turn of the millenium, and because of this should re-think their spending strategies in the next window if they wish to achieve continental success. The likes of Sergio Ramos and Raul Albiol have not performed well enough and as shown against Lyon, if their strikers misfire then Madrid can be exposed.

Atletico and Sevilla cannot be placed in the same bracket of expectancy as the other two but their supporters would still expect a better showing with one falling out of the group stages even though they have one of the brightest stars in football, Sergio Aguero at their disposal, and the latter falling at first knockout stage to the unfancied CSKA Moscow.

In the Europa League, Atletico and Valencia both look unlikely to progress having both only mustered draws in their home legs and facing tough trips to Sporting and Werder Bremen respectively.

You can’t help but feel that if La Liga still considers itself to be the top domestic league in European football, then a few more of their representatives are going to have to start dominating on the big stage once more.

Atletico edge past Osasuna

A wonder strike from Atletico Madrid midfielder Jose Jurado lit up the Vincente Calderon, as they saw off Osasuna 1-0 last night.

Jurado struck a beautiful curling 25 yard strike past Osasuna keeper Ricardo 11 minutes from time to seal the three points for Quique Flores’ men.

It was a victory made even more impressive, given the fact that the home side saw out the final half  hour without Simao, who was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a foul on Cesar Azpilicueta after 57 minutes.

Had it not been for the heroics of teenage keeper David De Gea, Osasuna may have salvaged something from the game as he produced a string of classy stops, including a one handed save from Josetxo in the dying moments as Atletico clung on for the victory.