Barca loss, Real draw send Atletico top

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

ATLETICO Madrid moved top of La Liga on Oc­to­ber 2 as Celta Vigo edged Barcelona in a 4-3 thriller while Real Madrid’s run of draws stretched to four against Eibar. Three goals in 11 min­utes in the first half doomed a Barca side again miss­ing the in­jured Lionel Messi as Pione Sisto, Iago As­pas and a Jeremy Mathieu own-goal put Celta in com­mand.

Ger­ard Pique and a Ney­mar penalty re­duced Barca’s deficit, but Mar­cAn­dre ter Ste­gen teed up Pablo Her­nan­dez to re­store Celta’s two-goal lead be­fore Pique headed in his sec­ond goal home.

Barca boss Luis Enrique’s heav­i­est de­feat in charge came in a 4-1 ham­mer­ing at the hands of Celta last sea­son and the for­mer Celta coach suf­fered an­other em­bar­rass­ing re­turn to Balai­dos.

“I can’t be sat­is­fied be­cause we have thrown away the op­por­tu­nity to go top be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break,” said Enrique.

Real Madrid, mean­while, re­main two points ahead of the cham­pi­ons, but were booed off at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu af­ter a 1-1 draw against the Basque min­nows.

Atletico lead their city ri­vals on goal dif­fer­ence at the top of the ta­ble de­spite miss­ing two penal­ties as An­toine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro scored in a 2-0 win at Va­len­cia.

Enrique in­tro­duced An­dres Ini­esta on his 600th Barca ap­pear­ance for the sec­ond-half and his pres­ence trans­formed the Cata­lans in the sec­ond half.

Pique headed home Ini­esta’s cross to give the visi­tors hope and a bril­liant pass into An­dre Gomes pro­voked a penalty just af­ter the hour, which Ney­mar con­verted.

How­ever, all of Barca’s good work was un­done when Ter Ste­gen chipped the ball into the path of the on­rush­ing Pablo Her­nan­dez to head into an un­guarded net.

Pique set up a grand­stand fin­ish three min­utes from time and the cen­tre-back was inches away from an in­cred­i­ble hat-trick when he glanced a header wide in stop­page time.

Ear­lier, Eibar was ju­biliant over scor­ing their first-ever goal and point against Madrid.

Fran Rico headed the visi­tors into a sixth-minute lead be­fore Gareth Bale’s 50th La Liga goal res­cued a fourth con­sec­u­tive draw for Real.

“The game is 90 min­utes long and lately we have started matches very badly,” said Madrid boss Zine­dine Zi­dane.

It is the first time Madrid have drawn four suc­ces­sive games since Zi­dane was a Real player in 2006. Real Madrid coach

“It is not a cri­sis. It is still Oc­to­ber and I am not go­ing to go crazy, but some­thing is wrong,” added Zi­dane.

The Euro­pean cham­pi­ons badly missed the pres­ence of Luka Mo­dric, who is side­lined for a month af­ter un­der­go­ing knee surgery on Oc­to­ber 2.

Real took al­most an hour to get firm con­trol of the game and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo squan­dered a chance to go ahead, blast­ing the ball over from point-blank range.

A su­per Bale header also came back off the post, and sub­sti­tute Al­varo Mo­rata had a goal ruled out for off­side.

Ear­lier, Va­len­cia goal­keeper Diego Alves’ hero­ics couldn’t stop Atletico as he ex­tended his ex­cep­tional penalty record with stops of Griezmann and Gabi be­fore Gameiro fi­nally sealed a de­served three points for Atletico in stop­page time in sight of Va­len­cia’s new coach Ce­sare Pran­delli, who was watch­ing from the stands be­fore of­fi­cially tak­ing charge of the team yes­ter­day. Alves took his record of saved penal­ties to 22 from 45 faced in Span­ish foot­ball. –

‘It is not a cri­sis. It is still Oc­to­ber and I am not go­ing to go crazy, but some­thing is wrong.’

Zine­dine Zi­dane

Photo: AFP

Barcelona for­ward Luis Suarez (right) fights with Celta Vigo de­fender Hugo Mallo for the ball dur­ing a match in Vigo on Oc­to­ber 2. Celta won 4-3.

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