Real Madrid, Barcelona take La Liga successes

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a wonderful, backheeled goal while Lionel Messi hit the target with a deadly accurate free-kick as Real Madrid and Barcelona both emerged victorious from testing La Liga trips on Sunday.

Ronaldo gave Real a 1-0 win over neighbours Rayo Vallecano while Messi scored his team’s second goal in a 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid as Spain’s two box office attractions took their league goals tally to 29 and 28 respectively.

The results also kept Real 10 points in front of the defending champions.

At Rayo Vallecano, the second half was eight minutes old when the home defence failed to clear a corner at the first attempt.

Portuguese superstar Ronaldo, facing away from the goal, backheeled the ball so powerfully from 15 yards out that it evaded four Rayo defenders on its way into the left-hand corner of the net.

“A backheel is always different. It was a great goal but I’m not sure if it was the best of my career — I have to see it again on TV,” said Ronaldo.

“The most important thing is the victory and the points.”

Competitive game
The game was competitive throughout and the main talking point of a goalless first period was whether or not Madrid’s Sergio Ramos had intentionally used an elbow to stop Diego Costa in the penalty area after already receiving a yellow card.

Ronaldo had shot dangerously on 24 minutes across the Rayo goal from the left hand side of the penalty area and a minute later he went close again with a right footed shot that narrowly missed the target.

Rayo were close to taking a first half lead when Francisco Medina burst into the area and cracked a shot onto the underside of the crossbar on 38 minutes.

Rayo’s best chance to level fell to Miguel Perez Michu, who blazed the ball over the bar after a mistake from Ramos put him clear on goal.

Michu was unjustly sent-off with a minute remaining for a challenge on Sami Khedira in which he did not appear to make contact.

After Barcelona’s victory, coach Pep Guardiola once again refused to discuss his future at the Catalan club.

“I’ve had enough of that topic. When there is news you will all know, it’s getting tiring talking about it,” he told reporters.

Looking for points
On the 10-point gap behind Madrid, Guardiola added: “When you are 10 points behind you are not thinking about winning them all back, but simply to play well in what was a complicated game for us and to get the three points … We have to keep winning and see if we have the opportunity to get back into the title race.”

Barcelona dominated the first half at Atletico and the breakthrough came on 35 minutes when Dani Alves finished off a swift attacking move started by Messi who presented Cesc Fabregas with the chance to gift the Brazilian the opener.

However it was a different Atletico that emerged for the second period and they were soon level when Colombian striker Radamel Falcao met a corner to grab his 15th league goal of the season on 48 minutes.

The game seemed to be heading for a draw until Gabi Fernandez tripped Pedro Rodriguez on the edge of the Atletico area.

As Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was lining up his defensive wall Messi surprised everyone with a curling left-foot shot into the far corner.

There was time for Juanfran to have a shot blocked at close range by Victor Valdes before the Barca keeper then had to stop a Gabi Fernandez piledriver in injury time.

For Atletico it was their first defeat in 10 games since the turn of the year when Diego Simeone took over as coach.

Getting ahead
Sevilla made it two consecutive wins for new coach Michel by beating third place Valencia 2-1.

Tino Costa put Valencia ahead after 25 minutes only for Chilean Gary Medel to level for Sevilla 10 minutes later.

Spanish international Jesus Navas got the winner on 69 minutes after a majestic pass in front of goal from former Spurs star Frederic Kanoute.

The result moves Sevilla into 10th position on 32 points while Osasuna move two points and three places ahead of them after beating Granada 2-1.

Osasuna raced into a 2-0 lead against with goals from Javad Nekounam and Dejan Lekic.

Mikel Rico pulled one back before half-time with a fine right footed drive but Osasuna held on for the win despite playing the last quarter of the game with 10 men after Patxi Punal received his marching orders.

Athletic Bilbao enhanced their Champions League prospects with a hard fought 2-2 draw at Villarreal.

Bilbao stay fifth, one point behind Levante who currently hold fourth position and a Champions League classification for next season. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world