Monday 11th of October 2010

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La Liga, Round 3: Who's ready for Derby Time?
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Written by Elisa   
Sunday, 19 September 2010 23:58

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho gestures during their Champions League Group G soccer match against Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, September 15, 2010. REUTERS/Andrea Comas (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

This weekend in La Liga was packed with plenty of derbies and oodles of morbo, or intense rivalry.  The games contained all the ingredients for a proper derby as they were heated, tight, controversial, and very physical.

In the Battle Real, a team that defended and attacked as a team (Real Sociedad) were very unfortunate not to get a draw, against an individualistic, slow starting team (Real Madrid).  Moments of individual brilliance (Di Maria's goal) a lucky deflection (Ronaldo's free kick), and three missed clear-cut, early opportunities by a young startlet (La Real's Griezmann) was the story of the game.  That's two dropped points by the team from San Sebastian.  Mourinho's brood are still a work in progress.  FT 1-2 (RS: Tamudo, RM: DiMaria, Ronaldo)

The Northern Spain derby, Sporting Gijón v Athletic Club Bilbao, was another exciting game.  The Basque club started off with a goalkeeping blunder.  Gorka Iraizoz is normally solid between the sticks, but the early howler, which costed them a goal by De las Cuevas, shocked the rojiblancos (red & whites).  Sporting took advantage of this shocker and the slow start, and Sangoy bagged a second goal.  The rojiblancos managed a comeback in the second half to steal a point.  If only they could have displayed the attacking power from the get go.  But alas, Athletic still has self esteem issues to address.  FT 2-2 (SG: De las Cuevas, Sangoy; AB: Gurpegui, Llorente (has scored every game))

In the return of the Valencian derby, the mighty giant killers, Hercules, faced the flashy nemesis and neighbor, Valencia.  Valencia, thus far undefeated, were intent on showing who was the sheriff of this town and how.  Los Che were like a bull in the china shop, the trifecta of Pablo Hernandez, Mata and Joaquin linked up beautifully to create two sweet opportunities early on.  From then on, Valencia looked clearly superior and dominated play.  Unfortunately, referee Ramirez-Dominguez started to make some appalling decisions, that would effect the rest of the game.  He called a extremely soft penalty on David Navarro, claiming their was contact on Trezeguet in the box, towards the end of the first half.  Trezeguet preceded to score his first league goal. 

In the second half, Ramirez-Dominguez decided that a 50-50 challenge between David Navarro and Abel Aguilar was cause for a yellow card.  He preceded to caution Valencia's Navarro, who was already on a yellow, so he was sent off.  Aguilar came through, scott free.  Add to that, Navarro got injured as a result of the clash, was stretchered off, and substituted.  I have never seen a player foul another player and injure himself in the process — very strange call.  As a result, Valencia was down to 10 men.  On the bright side, Valencia kept fighting and still won all three points.  The key was Cesar made some amazing saves in goal.  In the recent past, when Valencia went down to 10 men, the team would collapse or melt down psychologically due to the unfair calls.  This was not the case.  Now they are top of the table — and unbeaten to boot.  FT 1-2 (Her: Trezeguet [pen]; Val: Mata, Pablo H)

Later on Sunday, Barçelona traveled to the Vicente Calderon, to play their bogey team Atlético de Madrid.  Normally a banana skin for the Catalans, this time they came out on the pitch, chomping at the bit and raring to go.  Messi scored early on.  Atléti answered on a set piece, courtesy of Raúl Garcia.  Then "Piquenbauer," the wannabe striker, netted the second.  All of the goals took place in the first half.  The second half was an entirely different game.  Barça, especially Villa, kept pommeling Atléti's goal.  But David De Gea was an amazing shot stopper.  Shortly thereafter, the game plan changed from attacking each other at 180 miles per hour, to a defensive, Holland World Cup style game.  Atléti were very impressive in that they stopped Barça from keeping any possession, or building their passing game.  They did this by foulling, body checking, giving little space, and basically getting away with whatever they possibly could.  The Catalans decided to go ahead and play along and the game got extremely physical.  Fernandez-Borbalan, the referee lost control of the match and the unfortunate result was Atlético's Ujfalusi stomping on Messi's ankle.  Early reports indicate that it was not broken, but the golden boy will be out 3-4 weeks at a minimum.  FT 1-2 (AM:  Raul Garcia; Bar: Messi, Piqué)

The mini Valencia derby also took place between Levante and Villarreal.  Not much to report as Levante is still woeful, even though their coach Luis Garcia believes they deserved a point.  FT 1-2 (Lev: Calceido; Vil: Nilmar (2))

Last, but not the least, the Andalusian derby between Málaga and Sevilla was hotly contested.  This new rivalry is the closest thing to the crazy derby game between Real Betis and Sevilla.  Jesualdo Ferreira's new improved Málaga has been very impressive of late and Sevilla, with their latest poor performances in Europe, had much to prove to the naysayers.  Málaga drew blood first — Eliseu with a sweet pass to the Venezuelan striker Rondon.  However, Sevilla retaliated shortly thereafter, as Argentine winger extraordinaire, Diego Perotti, delivered a pin point cross for youth player Alfaro, to head into the net.  With the adrenalin pumping for regional bragging rights, Sevilla continued to attack.  Sevilla, extremely effective on the set piece, got their second goal via another header, courtesy of two newbies, Guarente to Martin Caceres.  The Malaguistas put on a valient effort, but ran out of steam as well as into Andres Palop, in the second half.  FT 1-2 (Mal:  Rondon; Sev: Alfaro, Caceres)

Other Results:  Mallorca 2-0 Osasuna (1st win), Espanyol 1-0 Almería, Racing Santander 2-0 Real Zaragoza (1st win), Deportivo - Getafe (Monday)

Elisa Uranga is the La Liga correspondent for Global Football Today. You can hear Elisa spread her love for La Liga, La Furia Roja and the beautiful game on the Forza Futbol podcast at and itunes.   You can follow her on twitter: elisaU or find her on facebook @\medelliae where she loves to debate and discuss football 24-7.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 September 2010 12:53

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