Five things we learned from La Liga
Real Madrid remain six points clear at the top of La Liga after Sergio Ramos’s late leveller earned a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in El Clasico on a weekend in which none of the top six won.
Here, AFP Sports looks at what we learned from week 14 in La Liga.
– Madrid resistence shines through
A recurring theme of Real’s now 33-game unbeaten run has been late goals bailing out Zinedine Zidane’s men.
The Frenchman hailed his side’s heart, whilst Ramos claimed a never say die attitude is part of the club’s DNA.
That resistence is making the difference for Real this season in contrast to most of the past decade when Barca have proved the more reliable for the week in, week out grind of La Liga.
This time round a series of minor errors are mounting in a major problem for the champions. Neymar and Lionel Messi missed huge chances to kill the game off, whilst Javier Mascherano’s slip allowed Ramos a free header for the equaliser.
– Atletico suffer taste of their own medicine
A fine weekend for Real was rounded off by Atletico Madrid’s failure to break down Espanyol in a 0-0 draw that left Los Rojiblancos still nine points off the top.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone spoke admiringly of the visitors’ defensive solidity in extending their unbeaten league run to eight games.
Simeone is still to find the balance between retaining the defensive structure that has characterised his five-year reign, whilst also giving freedom to the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco.
Griezmann has now gone seven La Liga games without scoring.
– Awesome Aspas
Whilst Diego Costa continues to shine in firing Chelsea to the top of the Premier League, Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas is emerging as the naturalised Brazilian biggest rival to start up front for Spain.
Aspas scored on his international debut against England last month and scored two more beauties in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Real Betis to take his tally for the season to 12.
– Granada off the bottom
Granada sprung a huge surprise by bagging their first league win at the 14th attempt as Sevilla’s struggles on the road continued with a 2-1 defeat.
Sevilla’s focus may have been disrupted by a huge Champions League clash at Lyon on Wednesday with a place in the last 16 on the line.
However, Granada have been on a slow but steady upturn under Lucas Alvarez in his second spell at the club with just one defeat in their last four.
– Sporting win six-pointer
Sporting Gijon eased the mounting pressure on coach and former Barcelona defender Abelardo with a first win since September in the first real relegation six-pointer off the season.
Carlos Carmona scored twice as Sporting shot up to 17th with a 3-1 win over Osasuna, but a third defeat in as many games under new boss Joaquin Caparros leaves the Navarrans bottom of the table.
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