Madrid, Jan 18 (IANS) Atletico Madrid remain top of Spain’s BBVA Primera Liga while both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona enjoyed easy wins on Sunday. Atletico produced another commanding defensive performance against Las Palmas and opened the scoring through left back Felipe Luis after 17 minutes, Xinhua reported.
Las Palmas struggled to break Atletico down and Antoine Griezmann’s 10th and 11th goals of the season in the 68th and 89th minutes of the game sealed another comfortable win for the leaders. Barcelona’s task against Athletic Club Bilbao was made a whole lot easier when Athletic goalkeeper was sent off for a foul on Luis Suarez in just the fourth minute of the game.
Leo Messi converted the resulting penalty and from then it was relatively straightforward against 10 men. Neymar doubled the lead before half time and in the second half, Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick and Ivan Rakitic also got on the scoresheet as Athletic tired.
The two sides will meet again in Bilbao on Wednesday when they face each other again in the quarter-finals of the Kings Cup. Zinedine Zidane had an easy win in his second game in charge of Real Madrid as they stormed past struggling Sporting Gijon 5-1.
Two goals each from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, as well as one from Gareth Bale saw Real lead 5-0 at the break, after going 4 ahead in just 17 minutes. Real Madrid took their foot off the gas in the second half and Sporting pulled back a consolation goal through Ismael Lopez, but perhaps the main worry for Zidane were injuries suffered by Bale and Benzema which take some gloss off the victory.
Gary Neville has still to win a league game as Valencia coach and he was lucky to see them scrape a 2-2 draw at home to struggling Rayo Vallecano, who totally outplayed them in the first half and were unlucky to only lead by a 15th minute Jozabed goal. Alvaro Negredo scored from 50 yards to tie the scores, but when Diego Llorente again put Rayo ahead with just 10 minutes remaining it looked as if the Che’s were heading to defeat until Paco Alcacer’s 89th minute equalizer.
Getafe came from behind to beat Espanyol 3-1 with goals from Pedro Leon, Pablo Sarabia and Moi Gomez after Marcos Gullon had opened the scoring for the visitors. Villarreal were unable to tighten their grip on fourth place in the BBVA Primera Liga on Saturday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Betis. Goals from Kevin Gameiro in the 40th and 42nd minute of Sevilla’s derby at home to Malaga to put them 2-0 ahead against a rival that had not lost in seven matches.
Celta Vigo got back to winning ways with a 4-3 win at home to bottom of the table Levante with two first half goals from John Guidetti. Iago Aspes put them 3-0 ahead before fire goals from Deyverson and Pedro Lopez got Levante right back into the mix before Fabian Orellana sealed the win for Celta in the 85th minute and Jose Luis Morales netted Levante’s third in the 89th minute to leave home fans to look nervously as the clock ran down. Finally Luis Alberto opened the scoring in Deportivo’s 1-1 draw away to Real Sociedad, who equalised through a late Xabi Prieto penalty.