La Liga Gameweek 8: Barcelona held up by Alaves as Madid seal 2nd position in the table
Barcelona’s inefficient attack struggled to convert the chances yet again. Karim Benzema scored a brace like it’s still a routine and Eden Hazard’s shot dropped our jaws as Madrid blew us away. The story for Atletico and Sociedad was quite the same and just as exciting.
Here’s FoottheBall’s report of it all!
Deportivo Alaves 1-1 Barcelona
After Ronald Koeman put up one of the most impressive games with Barcelona against Juventus on Wednesday, Barcelona returned to the La Liga in the same pink. The result, however, was highly disappointing this time.
Barcelona succumbed to another draw in La Liga against Alaves. The Catalans have dropped 10points in the last 4 games and stand 12th in the league currently.
The culprit this time was underperforming attack and a careless goal conceded by Neto Moura.
Barcelona started the game in their regular fashion as 4-2-3-1 with Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele feeding the ball to Greizmann upfront. This however was barely suffice to break Alaves’ narrow defence.
Barcelona attempted 25 shots with just 9 of them being on target. The attacks were poor and did not threaten the goalkeeper. Despite conceding several freekicks, Alaves were able to keep it together and open the scoring themselves with a goal that Luis Rioja scored on the 31st minute after Gerard Pique’s Lose pass to Neto was stolen and rolled into the net.
Barcelona hereon lacked focus in attacking and the only player playing well on the pitch was youngster Pedri. Ansu Fati had been firing wide, Dembele losing possession and Messi was helpless and frustrated. He even picked up a yellow card for the second game in a row. He is now set to miss the next clash against Real Betis at home.
“We are very angry because we really wanted the three points and we have to improve a lot”
Barcelona forward, Antoine Griezmann in the post-match interview.
Despite all of this, Barcelona were the dominant side. They had over 80% possession and yet failed to make a difference until Alaves forward Jota was sent off. Following this, Antoine Greizmann scored his first La Liga goal and guaranteed Barcelona a draw.
Though the match ended in a draw and statistics inflate Bracelona’s performance, it’s time that the Catalans get into stride. They have failed to find form and still fumble upon tiny obstacles along the way.
If their woes are not solved soon, catching up to the top of the table shall not be easy & losing the League title is not an option for new manager Koeman.
Real Madrid 4-1 Huesca
A smile on the face of the Los Blancos as they finally found their grove and raced through La Liga Matchday 8 thrashing visitors Huesca 4-1.
The day was made all the more special with Eden Hazard finding the net after 392 days and Karim Benzema scoring a stunning brace. To top it all, new favorite Fede Valverde also found the net for the second successive league game as he scored a magnificent low shot past the keeper and into the net.
This is a matter of joy for the whites ahead of the Champion’s League clash against Inter Milan.
Zinedine Zidane had started this game 4-3-3 with Eden Hazard being the new name in the starting 11. Huesca on the opposite end had lined up 4-5-2 with a clear intent to hold the ball and control the game. This however was barely the case.
Real Madrid had been emerging on top since the beginning. Hazard’s long shot from the left brought Real their first goal and caused Huesca to fall apart right before halftime, only to concede another goal from Karim Benzema’s neat powerful strike at the near post.
“I’m happy with his game. The other day he played 20 minutes, today he started. Little by little, we know the quality Eden has. He scored a good goal. We needed it in the first half because the game was different after the goal.”
Zinedine Zidane on Eden Hazard
Post-half-time, Madrid seemed in Cruise Control. They were moving the ball effortlessly and dominating possession. This soon led to their 3rd goal in the 54th minute from Fede’s Valverde’s shot, as precise as a bullet.
Huesca however were creating chances and keeping the Real Madrid defence on it’s toes. The effort finally paid off as David Ferriero found Sergio Ramos out of position and managed to shoot past Thibaut Courtois. With 3-1 on the scoreboard, Real lost a clean sheet, but Karim Benzema managed another goal by heading in Vinicuis Jr’s cross.
This goal was a breakthrough and marked the ‘End of Conflict’ between them as stated by Benzema.
4-1 at full time is a great sign for the Madridistas as they walk into the UCL with hope and try to make a mark.
They are now placed second in La Liga trailing Real Sociedad by 2 points. Rivals Barcelona are far behind at just 8 points in 6 games.
Osasuna 1-3 Atletico Madrid
The Red & Whites of Madrid also got great action this weekend. Simeone’s side scored 3 against Osasuna in an away game to seal the 4th place in the table with their third successive win.
Atletico who lined up 4-4-2 had started neither Luis Suarez, nor Diego Costa. The entire scoring responsibility was on Felix and Angel Correa upfront.
Though Felix missed an open goal early on in the game, he very well made up for his mistakes in the remaining match having scored a penalty in the first half and another goal in the second.
“We’re doing really well. Personally, I’m happy with the two goals and collectively too because we played a great game. The first half was even, in the second we started well and we got the win.” Said Joao Felix.
The game seemed to be going Atletico’s way right when Osasuna broke through their defence in the 80th minute to make it 2-1. Substitute Ante Budimir had put the ball past Jan Oblak after Ruben Garcia delivered a delicious cross into the box.
This goal pumped life back into the game and Osasuna started moving ahead on the pitch. Their hopes for a draw however fell back after Torreira netted 2 minutes before the merk to make it 1-3 for the visitors.
The performance was overall impressive and Simeone seems to have settled down well in the new season.
Other Results & Points Table
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