Matchday 21 of the Spanish Liga Santander was truncated by the the severe weather which affected the north of Spain and the high winds which damaged the roofs of the Riazor and Balaidos Stadiums. This lead to the postponement of matches between Deportivo la Coruna and Betis, along with Celta Vigo’s clash at home to league leaders Real Madrid.
With Madrid out of action, it was an opportunity for FC Barcelona and Sevilla to close the gap on the top of the table. Barcelona took that chance on Saturday with a 3-0 win at home to Athletic Club Bilbao in a game marked by the talents of Leo Messi and Neymar and a poor display from visiting goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.
Paco Alcacer took advantage of great work from Neymar to score his first league goal for Barca in the 17th minute with a near post shot that Gorka might have stopped.
There was no doubting the keeper’s blame when Leo Messi doubled Barca’s lead five minutes from halftime with a free kick from a narrow angle.
Athletic created chances of their own, but were denied by Ter Stegen and some wayward finishing before Aleix Vidal sealed Barca’s win in the second half.
Meanwhile, Sevilla wasted their chance to go to within a point of Madrid when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Villarreal. Sergio Asenjo saved a Samir Nasri penalty and produced two other fine saves to deny Wassim Ben Yedder and Vicente Iborra.
Fernando Torres scored his first goals since September as Atletico Madrid defeated struggling neighbors Levante in the Vicente Calderon Stadium, netting a 15th minute tap in after Iago Herrerin had saved Antoine Griezmann’s penalty and a chip over the Leganes keeper five minutes after the break.
Espanyol made it three wins out of three as they won 1-0 away to Malaga thanks to a 32 yard goal scored by Pablo Piatti. Malaga forced 18 corners but have now gone 8 games without a win.
Sporting Gijon’s future in the top flight is in serious danger as they lost 4-2 at home to Alaves, who rested nine first team regulars ahead of next week’s Cup semi-final return leg.
Ruben Soriano put Alaves ahead after nine minutes, and second half penalties from Cristian Santos and Edgar Mendez made it 3-0. Lacina Traore scored for Sporting with six minutes left only for Alexis to almost immediately restore Alaves’ 3-goal advantage to render Carlos Castro’s second goal for the home side irrelevant.
Real Sociedad’s excellent season continues as they came back from a goal down to defeat Osasuna in a rain-swept derby by 3-2.
Raul Navas, Carlos Vela and Juanmi got on the scoresheet for the home side to leave Osasuna with just 10 points from 21 games.
Finally, Eibar inflicted a humiliating 4-0 home defeat on Valencia to end the team’s timid recovery under Voro Gonzalez.
Valencia were reduced to 10 men early in the game as Carlos Soler was given his marching order. Eibar showed no mercy as Sergi Enrich scored a brace, Adrian converted a penalty and Dani Garcia hit the net with a spectacular volley. Enditem