FOOTBALL – The La Liga title race just got a whole lot more exciting following the events this weekend. Leaders, Atletico went into the weekend knowing the outcome of the matches could make a dramatic difference to the table.
The weekend started on Saturday with El Clasico! Old rivals, Barcelona, and Real Madrid – both teams desperate to win and claim the 3 points with the title race in mind. However, with Barcelona denied a penalty for a foul on Braithwaite, Real Madrid were the victors in this 2-1 defeat.
Real Madrid scored twice in the first half. They opened the score with Benzema putting the ball in the net in the 13th minute. This was followed 15 minutes later by Kroos. The Madrid side finished the first half in control as Messi was denied a goal in the final minutes. As the torrential rain continued into the second half, Griezmann played a dummy and Jordi Alba crossed the ball for Mingueza. Oscar Mingueza scored for Barcelona after 60 minutes of play. Barcelona continued to put pressure on Real Madrid but failed to score. A magnificent effort from substitute Moriba hit off the bar in the final minute of stoppage time. Real Madrid´s Casemiro was sent off due to two yellow cards one after the other. in the final minute of the game. This ended Barcelona´s record of having won the last 19 “El Clasico” matches. Real Madrid have now won their last 4 La Liga games.
Barcelona will not have any La Liga action next week due to their final match in the Copa del Rey.
The title race
With Atletico playing away on Sunday to Real Betis, this should have given them the psychological advantage. A win for Atletico would put them 3 points ahead of now 2nd place Real Madrid, and 4 in front of Barcelona. However, Real Betis had other plans! Atletico started strong with a goal after just 5 minutes from Carrasco. Real Betis fought back and Tello produced an equaliser 20 minutes into the game. Atletico were fortunate not to have lost any further goals to Betis.
As Atletico managed to grab a point from this game, they also gained some. Joao Felix plus right-back Kieran Trippier were injured during the second half. This adding to absentees, Luis Suarez, Thomas Lemar and latest signing Moussa Dembele will make the next few games even tougher.
Sevilla in 4th place is still in contention for the title race, especially if they can take 3 points from their game against Celta Vigo tonight. This would take them to 6 points of leaders, Atletico.
Liverpool lost the first leg against Real Madrid, but although they have a mountain to climb, due to their away goal, they should feel more confident in their match at Anfield on Thursday afternoon. Real Madrid are winning 3-1 on aggregate after the first leg.
Following the Liverpool v Real Madrid match in the afternoon, Thursday evening has a lot going on;
- Arsenal v Slavia Praha
- Dinamo Zagreb v Villarreal
- Manchester United v Granada
- Roma v Ajax
All games kick off at 9pm
Copa del Rey
The 2021 final of the Copa del Rey takes place on Saturday 17th April at 9.30pm between Athletic Club and Barcelona.