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Barcelona stunned by lowly Alavés: La Liga 2016-'17 week three roundup:

James Clancy
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 11 Sep 2016, 09:17 IST
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Barcelona stunned at Camp Nou

Barcelona were shocked at home to newly promoted Alavés. Head coach Luis Enrique brought Neymar and Paco Alcacer into Barca’s starting XI with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta were left on the bench following international duty after the Catalans had enjoyed consecutive wins from their opening two La Liga games of the season.

The home side went into the dressing room trailing at half-time as Deyverson scored his first goal for his new club as he fouBd the home rearguard wanting with a neat finish six minutes before the interval.

However, the defending champions fought back. Less than two minutes after half-time the home side were unjustly awarded a corner kick which should have been a goal kick. The resulting set piece saw Jeremy Mathieu send a header goalward which evaded Fernando Pacheco before nestling in the back of the net.

In fact, Mathieu should have netted his second in barely three minutes but instead smashed a much easier chance wide when the ball fell his way from a corner.

Alavés thought they had gone ahead again five minutes into the second half but Edgar Mendez’s stike was correctly ruled out for a marginal offside as Barcelona flirted with danger by playing a very high line while defending set pieces.

Messi was brought on to widespread cheers on 60 minutes with Iniesta brought into the fray four minutes later as the home side sought the winner. However, before the Spanish World Cup final winning midfielder had even touched the ball, the visitors retook the lead.

Mascherano messed up a clearance and Ibai managed to get away from the Argentinian and Vidal on the left-sided edge of the area before guiding a controlled strike past Jasper Cillessen in the home goal.

The prolific Luis Suarez was immediately brought on as Enrique sought to redress the balance but Alavés defended resolutely as a unit until the dying moments when a Lucas Digne cross was planted wide by Messi deep into stoppage when arguably the world’s best footballer should really have scored.

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The stunning win sees Barcelona drop one place to fourth in the table with newly promoted Alavés jumping five places to seventh.


Atletico get their season up and running with a bang

Following a lacklustre start to the season, Atletico Madrid earned their first win of the 2016-17 La Liga campaign away to Celta Vigo courtesy of a 4-0 thumping . The Rojiblancos took the lead eight minutes after the restart and didn't look back after that. 

Celta had given as good as they got in the first half and might even have nicked a goal but once Atletico went in front there only ever looked like being one winner.

The first sign of danger in the second half came when star man Antoine Griezmann had a shot blocked down and then big centre-half Godin came close to scoring having joined the attacked for a corner.

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The breakthrough eventually came from a familiar source with Griezmann floating in a fantastic cross from the right flank. Koke powered into the box and shot on the half volley from ten yards out past the helpless Oblak in goal.

With 17 minutes to play, Atleti wrapped up the points. Saul played a cross for that man Griezmann who got to the ball in front of Jonny and sent a precise header into the top corner of the net.

On 81 minutes Griezmann bagged his brace. This time, Juanfran crossed from the right wing and the Celta defence was marked absent as Griezmann planted another header into the net.

With time running out and the home team wanting the final whistle to be blown, Altético sealed the rout in the last minute. With Celta once again found wanting on the right flank, Koke sent over a weak cross which managed to find its way to the back post which Correa finished to the net from a tight angle.


Ronaldo scores on return from injury as Madrid prove much too strong for Osasuna

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Cristiano Ronaldo hadn’t played since an injury suffered during the European Championship final in Paris on 10th July. The Portuguese star wasn’t long in making up for lost time as he opened the scoring from a simple tap-in at the Bernabéu with Gareth Bale having done the hard work to set him up after just six minutes of play.

Unai Garcia came close to equalising later in the first half when his header crashed off the crossbar. The home side were two up however on 40 minutes when Nauzet parried Alvaro Morata’s header from Ronaldo’s cross but Danilo hammered the resulting rebound into the net.

The European champions appeared to have wrapped up the points in injury time at the end of the first half when Sergio Ramos came up from the back to smash home a header from a Toni Kroos corner.

Having looked solid and after making some good saves, Nauzet was to blame for the fourth goal. Another precise Kroos corner caused unease in the visitor’s defence and Nauzet could only help Pepe’s header into the net when the custodian should really have done better.

Madrid were showing no mercy and scored the fifth just past the hour mark when Morato held off his marker before feeding Luka Modric who sent an excellent curling strike into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.

Two minutes later though the visitors had some consolation as Miguel de las Cuevas’ cross allowed Riera to powerfully head home.

Osasuna had the ball in the net again ten minutes later but the referee had already blown his whistle to award a penalty for the visitors following Ramos’ push on Jaime Romero. Roberto Torres stepped up to take the spot-kick but saw it well saved by Kiko Casilla.

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The visitors managed to score again 12 minutes from time when David Garcia sent an excellent header over Casilla and into the net.

Madrid were in cruise control though and Benzema had two efforts which hit the post with time running out.

Osasuna finished the game with ten men as Tano received a second yellow card in the 81st minute but the game had been well and truly decided as a contest by then.

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Published 11 Sep 2016, 09:17 IST
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