The top of the BBVA Primera Liga table turned full circle with three different leaders throughout the course of Saturday night as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona all tasted the dizzy heights of leadership on a day when Luis Suarez again wrote the headlines.
With just a point separating the top three at the start of the day, the so-called Spanish ‘Super-Saturday’ began with Real Madrid coming back from 2-0 down away to Rayo Vallecano to claim a win which momentarily took them to the top of the table.
Adri Embarba and Miku put the home side 2-0 ahead after just 14 minutes against a Madrid side with several changes and without Cristiano Ronaldo, ahead of their Champions League semi-final next Tuesday.
A Gareth Bale header got Madrid back into the game before the break and Lucas Vazquez leveled with another header seven minutes after the break.
Madrid then pressed hard looking for a winner, but it was not until the 82nd minute when Roberto Trashorras’ dreadful error set Bale through to give his side 3 points.
The bad news for Madrid was that Karim Benzema was forced out of the game in the first half through injury and is a major doubt for Tuesday.
Madrid were top of the table for just two hours as Atletico Madrid overtook them thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Malaga.
Angel Correa scored Atletico’ s goal midway through the second half, but the home side also had coach Simeone sent off following a distasteful incident in which someone from the Atletico dugout stopped a Malaga counter-attack by throwing a second ball into play.
That left Barca needing to win at home to Sporting Gijon, who kicked off in the relegation zone, in order to go back to the top of the table.
They took the lead through Leo Messi after 13 minutes as he headed in with Sporting asking for a foul on the keeper, but with Neymar having another off night, Barca made hard work of their visitors until the 62nd minute when Andres Iniesta set up Luis Suarez for a tap in.
Suarez then completed his hat-trick with two penalties, before referee Clos Gomez amazingly gave Barca a third penalty, which Neymar nervously scored.
There was still time for Suarez to score a fourth goal to make the score a flattering 6-0 for Barca, who end the day as they started it – top of the league.