Wednesday 16 January 2019

Big guns fire as La Liga table takes a familiar look

Antoine Griezmann’s brace was the difference between Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid in a thrilling 3-2 victory. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Antoine Griezmann’s brace was the difference between Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid in a thrilling 3-2 victory. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Ryan Corry

After a testing start for the traditional giants, the La Liga table continued its levelling out process this week with wins for all of the usual suspects.

Sevilla and both Madrid clubs, Real and Atletico, all added three points to their respective totals to keep pace with leaders Barcelona, who hammered Levante 5-0, with Lionel Messi helping himself to a hat-trick.

Antoine Griezmann's brace was the difference between Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid in a 3-2 thriller, while fellow French striker Karim Benzema scored the only goal in Real Madrid's clash with Rayo Vallecano, doing little to silence their unhappy fans.

"Of course we can improve but inside the dressing room we're happy," midfielder Marcos Llorente said.

"I don't agree with booing, it makes us weaker, I'd prefer them to cheer us on."

Only 55,000 supporters were in the 81,000-capacity Bernabeu stadium for the win despite it being a local derby and the club's final home game of the year.

Electric

In Germany, Borussia Dortmund continued their electric form with a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen.

Bayern Munich are looking more like themselves every week as four different players were on target in a 4-0 rout of Hannover.

Cristiano Ronaldo was on target from the penalty spot for Juventus in their 1-0 win over city rivals Torino, to stay eight points ahead of Napoli at the top of Serie A.

Ligue 1 continues to suffer in the face of the widespread anti-government protests across the country. With many fixtures still to be rescheduled, the division has an uneven look, with many teams having played two games less than others.

Lille were in action though and they consolidated second place with a 3-2 victory away to Nimes to leave the northerners three points ahead of third-placed Lyon, but still 10 adrift of runaway leaders Paris St Germain, who remain unbeaten after 16 games.

Clubs with an eye on this morning's Champions League draw will have noted Ajax's 8-0 thumping of De Graafschap, which included a second-half hat-trick for former Manchester United defender Daley Blind.

Irish Independent

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