Real win with late goals against Valladolid
Real Madrid ended their long wait for a La Liga victory by beating Real Valladolid 2-0 on Saturday with two late goals in interim coach Santiago Solari's first home game in charge of the struggling European champions.
Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr. gave the new coach and an impatient Bernabeu crowd a lift in the 83rd minute by cutting in from the left and firing a shot which was heavily deflected into the net off Valladolid's Kike Olivas and awarded as an own goal to the defender.
Real had been fortunate not to go behind on two occasions in the second half when Ruben Alcaraz and Toni Villa hammered the crossbar, but the home side sealed a first win in six league games when captain Sergio Ramos netted an 88th-minute penalty.
The win lifted Real provisionally from ninth place up to sixth in the standings on 17 points, four behind leaders Barcelona who play at Rayo Vallecano later on Saturday.
Still reeling from their humiliating 5-1 defeat at Barca last week, Real made an impressive start against a Valladolid side unbeaten in their last six outings but their early chances soon dried up and they were loudly booed off at halftime.
Gareth Bale was given particularly rough treatment from the home fans when he was substituted and not even usual favourite Marco Asensio escaped the howls of unhappy supporters when he made way for Vinicius, who had barely played under Solari's predecessor Julen Lopetegui.
Vinicius had excited fans in the Copa del Rey against Melilla in midweek and his flair and bursts of pace injected some verve into Solari's side which led to them finally breaking the deadlock, even though the goal owed a lot to Olivas' unfortunate attempt to block the shot.
The goal was harsh on Valladolid and sucked the life out of the visitors, whose defender Nacho gave away a clumsy penalty by falling into Benzema and Ramos cooly converted from the spot, transforming the earlier boos into relieved celebrations.
Suarez strikes late as Barca snatch victory at Rayo
Late goals from Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez earned La Liga champions Barcelona a 3-2 win at struggling Rayo Vallecano on Saturday to keep them clear at the top of the standings.
Suarez slotted in a cross from Jordi Alba from close range to give Barca a deserved lead in the 11th minute after they had made a flying start at a ground where they had eased to victory in their previous five visits and had not lost since 2002.
But Rayo, 19th in the table and with only one win all season, fought their way back into the game and midfielder Jose Pozo smashed an equaliser in off the post in the 35th minute.
Rayo winger Alvaro Garcia sent the raucous home fans into delirium early in the second half by stabbing his side in front on the rebound after striker Raul de Thomas had struck the post with a diving header.
Barca might have had a sense of deja vu from their shock 2-1 defeat in Madrid by Leganes two months ago in which they also threw away the lead, and the Catalans adopted no nonsense tactics to get back into the game, throwing defender Gerard Pique up front and playing frequent high balls into the box.
Substitute Dembele got Barca out of trouble with a perfectly struck half volley in the 87th minute after a knockdown by Pique.
Suarez, who scored a hat-trick in last week’s drubbing of Real Madrid, completed the comeback three minutes later by arriving at the far post to steer in a cross from Sergi Roberto, striking a fifth goal in two games and a ninth in total to move top of the league’s scoring charts.
“Obviously, we are happy because the game was going uphill for us,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde told reporters.
“We were good at the start but as they continued to lock up at the back we started to have difficulties so we approached the game in a different way. We might not have had the game under control, but in the end we got our reward.”
Valverde did not think his side should be criticised for making hard work of a trip to a team fighting relegation.
“When Rayo are at home they have a lot of reasons to believe they can do something, they have quality players and it’s not like it’s only us playing and that’s that, the opponents play too and they fight very hard,” he said.
Valverde’s side lead La Liga with 24 points, four ahead of Atletico Madrid. Alaves can move within one point if they beat Eibar on Sunday.
Rayo coach Michel meanwhile cursed his side’s inability to deal with Barca’s late onslaught.
“Football is sometimes unfair but we have a lot of things to improve,” he said.
“Barca may be a great team but they beat us tonight with basic football and we need to do a lot better we keep on conceding goals like the ones we let in tonight.”
Atletico blow chance to top La Liga after draw at Leganes
Atletico Madrid threw away the chance to go top of La Liga by conceding a late equaliser to draw 1-1 away to neighbours Leganes on Saturday as their miserable run at the Madrid minnows dragged on.
France forward Antoine Griezmann had given Diego Simeone's side the lead with a sizzling free-kick in the 69th minute in a typically tight game at the Butarque stadium.
But Leganes hit back when striker Guido Carillo stabbed a loose ball over the line in the 82nd after full back Rodrigo Tarin's cross thumped off the underside of the bar.
Atletico have failed to win their three games at Leganes since the latter were promoted to the top flight for the first time in 2016, drawing their last two outings at Butarque 0-0.
Atleti are second with 20 points, one point behind champions Barcelona who visit Rayo Vallecano later on Saturday.