Falcao blow mars Atletico triumph
There were wins for both Madrid teams in La Liga last night, but Atletico’s was marred by an injury worry for star striker Radamel Falcao.
Real Madrid grabbed the spotlight with a five-goal demolition of Valencia, but they remain seven points adrift of neighbours Atletico who beat Levante 2-0 earlier in the day.
Adrian Lopez opened the scoring in the 32nd minute by firing into an empty net after an excellent run and cross by teenager Javier Manquillo.
Koke then ended the game as a contest with a stunning strike from outside the box on the hour mark, but the hosts’ joy was tempered by the sight of Falcao limping off with what looked like a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a number of weeks.
The win moves them to within eight points of Barcelona, who suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to Real Sociedad on Saturday night.
Madrid took out their frustrations on Valencia with a stunning first-half display powering them to a 5-0 win at the Mestalla.
Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring early on and then Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria helped themselves to braces during a devastating 11-minute spell just before half-time as Madrid ran riot.
Valencia battled back after the break and had a number of chances to pull a goal back but Madrid’s defence, with Iker Casillas selected ahead of Antonio Adan in goal, held firm to complete a great night for Jose Mourinho’s men, who moved back to within 15 points of Barca.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was gracious in defeat after Real Sociedad produced an amazing fightback to end the Primera Division leaders’ unbeaten record on Saturday.
Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodriguez had put the visitors two goals up within 25 minutes at the Anoeta, but Gonzalo Castro’s brilliant strike gave Sociedad hope before half-time and then, after Barca had lost centre-back Gerard Pique to a red card, Castro’s curling effort was deflected into his own net by Barca substitute Javier Mascherano.
That sent the home fans wild, but it got even better in stoppage time when Imanol Agirretxe poked Carlos Martinez’s cross from the right past Victor Valdes.
“We congratulate them,” said Vilanova. “It is more credit to them than due to a fault of ours. I have no reproaches for my players.’’
In Italy, Napoli failed to make up ground on Serie A leaders Juventus yesterday, instead settling for a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
The Bianconeri banished talk of a crisis by dispatching Udinese 4-0 on Saturday night, with Paul Pogba netting twice, but Napoli could not repeat the trick at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Facundo Roncaglia’s spectacular, if unintentional, goal from within his own half gave the home side the lead in the 33rd minute, but Edinson Cavani replied within 10 minutes to join an exclusive club of players with 100 Serie A goals.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the second half, but a draw was a fair result for two sides who remain in the hunt for a Champions League place.
In France, Paris St Germain returned to the summit of Ligue 1 as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 18th goal of the season provided the Parisians with only their second victory in the Stade Chaban-Delmas since 1988.
Defeat for Bordeaux ended their nine-game unbeaten run and saw the hosts slip down to seventh in the league with a difficult trip to Nice up next.
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