The events at the Camp Nou on Sunday dwarfed almost all else that happened in La Liga over the last few days. Real Madrid’s collapse and Barcelona’s ‘manita’ certainly took all the headlines as Julen Lopetegui edges ever closer to the sack. Elsewhere in Spain, a hat-trick in Vigo, two stunners in Valladolid and yet another draw for Los Che. Here are five key points from the weekend’s action:
When, not if, for Lopetegui
The Real Madrid boss has been the job for just over four months but looks to be on the brink of departure after a heavy defeat in the Clásico. Los Blancos hauled themselves back into contention after half time but ended up capitulating in the latter stages as Luis Suárez took home the match ball. Madrid’s board seem to have made their mind up regarding Lopetegui’s future with reports in Spain suggesting that he said his goodbyes in the dressing room after the game. Antonio Conte, Roberto Martínez and Santi Solari are being lined up as possible replacements when Lopetegui discovers his fate.
Luis Suárez’s hat-trick in the Clásico came just a few days after he became a father for the third time. A radio journalist told the Uruguayan ‘Congratulations on the hat-trick’ after the game, to which Suárez jokingly replied, ‘Which one?’. However, Suárez wasn’t the only dad performing on the pitch this weekend. Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas spent the whole of Friday night in hospital with his partner as she gave birth to their second child. The following day he bagged a hat-trick as Celta battered Eibar at Balaídos. When asked about his night’s sleep he replied, ‘the sofa was a bit hard’.
Valencia draw again
Valencia’s trip to struggling Athletic didn’t promise goals galore or much excitement. Both teams had won just once all season heading into the game and that’s the way it stayed as they played out a goalless draw. That was Valencia’s 5th draw in a row in all competitions and their 10th in total this season. As well as that, only Real Betis have scored less than Valencia’s 7 goals in La Liga this season as Los Che languish in 14th place. The only positive for Marcelino is that Valencia are unbeaten in 8 league games stretching back to August.
Friday night stunners
Two of Spain’s in-form sides met at José Zorrilla on Friday night as Real Valladolid hosted Espanyol. The Catalan visitors opened the scoring in the first half through Borja Iglesias’s thumping strike from distance that flew past Jordi Masip in the Valladolid goal. Heading into stoppage time, Espanyol looked to be going temporarily top of the table but were denied by another piece of brilliance. Daniele Verde, on loan from Roma, hit a swerving, dipping 35-yard free kick that left Diego López rooted to the spot. You’d do well to find a game with two goals as good as that anywhere in Europe this season.
Filipe Luis the goal machine
Marcelo wasn’t the only Brazilian left back finding the net for the second successive week this weekend. Filipe Luis followed up his header at Villarreal last week with a stunning strike as Atlético Madrid beat Real Sociedad 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano. Diego Godín had put the hosts in front before Luis cut inside on his weaker right foot and bent a curling effort into the far top corner leaving his teammates, manager and probably himself speechless for the second week in a row. The former Chelsea defender has already doubled his goal tally for last season and it’s not even November yet.