La Liga 2016-17 roundup, 25 September: Atletico Madrid edge past Deportivo La Coruna
Atletico too good for Deportivo
Atletico Madrid continued their unbeaten beginning to the La Liga season as a 70th-minute strike from star striker Antoine Griezmann saw the Champions League runners-up seal a deserved 1-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna at the Vicente Calderón.
Deportivo were left facing an uphill task for the second half in injury time at the end of the first half as Moroccan midfielder Faycal Fajr was sent off for a stupid second booking following a crazy tackle on Nicolas Gaitan.
Atletico had dominated the game and did so even more so following the red card. Griezmann had a goal correctly chalked off for a narrow offside two minutes after the interval but the home side finally made their numerical advantage count 20 minutes from time.
Griezmann, who had looked lively all day, smashed the ball into the net from close range for what was his fifth goal in the last four games after substitute Kevin Gameiro had played the ball across goal to him.
The win came at a cost however as both Augusto Fernandez and Jose Gimenez had to be substituted with a knee and thigh injury respectively and they are now both serious doubts for Wednesday’s match against Bayern Munich.
With the win, Atletico moved up to third in the La Liga table, one point off Barcelona and two points behind Real Madrid while Deportivo are 16th in the table.
Valencia overcome Leganes
Valencia did enough to beat Leganés 2-1 in a hard fought match at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque, making it two wins out of two for caretaker coach Voro Gonzalez.
Eliaquim Mangala, on loan from Manchester City, was felled by his own goalkeeper Diego Alves when an attempted clearance smashed into the centre half’s face after 18 minutes. The Frenchman required attention off the field and Valencia went 1-0 down. Omar Ramos’ inswinging cross from the right flank was met by a diving header from Alexander Szymanowski which gave Alves little chance.
Valencia’s equaliser came on 33 minutes and it was lucky. Rodrigo seized on a poor backpass, beating goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli to the ball with the Italian getting hurt in the tussle. That allowed Nani to nip in and place the ball low into the corner of the net from eight yards out despite the presence of three defenders on the goal line.
The Portuguese set up what turned out to be the winner some seven minutes after the restart. The 29 year-old’s low cross from near the corner flag was prodded home by Mario Suarez from six yards out in a crowded penalty area.
Leganes were handed the opportunity to equalise on the hour mark when Alves was adjudged to have pulled down Alberto Martin inside the Valencia six yard box. The goalkeeper redeemed himself however by diving full length low to his right to get a hand to Symanowski’s spot kick and divert it around the post. From there Valencia held out for the win with few scares.
Villarreal too good for struggling Osasuna
The Yellow Submarine made the perfect start when Alexandre Pato headed in from inside the six-yard box from Samu Castillejo’s inch perfect cross after five minutes.
The visitors were looking dodgy at the back and keeper Mario fouled Roberto Soriano as the Italian attempted to take the ball round him. Bruno stepped up to calmly score from the spot having scored a Panenka penalty against Real Madrid last Wednesday.
On 39 minutes the home side wrapped up the three points when Pato and Castillejo combined just outside the Osasuna penalty area and the latter did well to play in Nicola Sansone who comfortably beat the advancing Mario with a composed chip.
Sergio Leon tried to get the visitors back into the game when he went on a mazy dribble into the penalty area before being tripped by Alvaro Gonzalez and Roberto Torres calmly netted the resulting spot-kick.
The second half petered out somewhat as Villarreal comfortably held on to their lead to move up to fourth while newly promoted Osasuna remain rooted to the foot of the table with just two points from six games.
Celta beat Espanyol at the death
A game that had been rather tepid suddenly burst into life in injury time at the end of the 90 minutes.
Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi received a delightful angled pass from Gustavo Cabral and lobbed it beautifully over the onrushing Roberto and into the net off the underside of the crossbar in the 91st minute.
With the final whistle about to blow and Espanyol pressing but their defence tiring, Pione Sisto sprinted with the ball from inside his own half before smashing a low shot into the bottom corner.
Celta Vigo thus registered their second win on the trot to move up to 11th in the league table while Espanyol slid into the La Liga relegation zone.
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