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The 7th match-day of the 2012/2013 La Liga season has been played and currently it is Barcelona and Atletico that top the log with 19 points from a possible 21 each. Falcao, Messi and Cristiano are tied as the top goal scorers with 8 goals each.
I will do my usual rundown of the 5 best matches of the weekend as well as my personal team of the week and awarding the Dizzels Player Of The Week award to the best player of this match-day.
1) Celta Vigo vs Sevilla
The biggest upset of match-day 7. Sevilla were raring to go and get three points after their humiliating loss to Barcelona last week. Neither team could make use of one of their opportunities to score in the first half and they were dead even at 0-0. Sevilla seemed to start the second half better with a flurry of attacks.
Navas was productive on the right side, but no player could get on the end of his balls into the box. Celta shocked the Sevilla team when they received a penalty in the 60th minute. Aspas calmly converted it. Sevilla tried with everything they had to get back in the match, but it was to no avail as De Lucas doubled Celta’s lead in the 85th minute.
This was a great result for Celta Vigo, while Sevilla will have to improve very rapidly if they want to finish in the Champions League places.
2) Valladolid vs Espanyol
Espanyol got only their second point of the season and will be very disappointed that they couldn’t win this match. They had most of the possession in the first half and enjoyed a lot of time on the ball.
All of that changed when Victor Alvarez received a red card in the 43rd minute for a deliberate hand-ball. Espanyol were rattled and changed their tactics at half time, to such an extent that they played completely different. It did work out for them when Verdu opened the scoring for Espanyol in the 69th minute with a well taken penalty.
They tried hard with a man down, but could not keep out the Valladolid attack. Oscar scored his fourth goal of the season in the 81st minute to equalize and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
3) Mallorca vs Granada
Mallorca were overwhelming favorites going into this match. They have started the season excellently mainly due to their strong defensive play. However Granada got the result. Mallorcas great defense kept it even in the first half and they also threatened to score before the half-time whistle.
It took a whole 64 minutes for Granada to beat Dudu Aouate when Emilio Nsue conceded a penalty and El Arabi converted it. In the 76th minute Torje slotted home the second for Granada.
Mallorca tried to mount a comeback, but failed as they could only score one goal through Hemed in the 86th minute.
4) Atletico Madrid vs Malaga
This was touted to be more important than the Clasico by some football pundits. The second and third placed teams going into the match-day facing each other. The players to watch would be Falcao and youngster Isco. Both of them definitely delivered and had excellent performances.
Falcao claimed before the season started that he could score as many goals as Ronaldo and Messi and he is certainly backing himself up. Falcao opened the scoring in the 6th minute to give Atletico the lead in this crucial match. The former Manchester City Striker Santa Cruz then leveled a half-hour later.
Both teams created a lot of chances including one stinging shot from Isco that went just over the bar. The deadlock was finally broken in the worst of ways in the 89th minute when Weligton got credited or rather blamed for the own goal.
Atletico got the 3 points and now share the top of the log position.
5) El Clasico: Barcelona vs Real Madrid
With millions of viewers from all over the world El Clasico certainly lived up to its reputation of the best match in the world. It is a great match for neutrals, but a real emotional roller coaster for Madrid and Barca fans. Both sets of supporters had their hearts in their mouths every time the rival team approached their goal.
The first clear chance came to Benzema from a Ronaldo cross. He fluffed the volley horribly when he had the time to take a touch. Minutes later Sergio Ramos had an unchallenged header over the miniature Barca defense, but sent it just wide. Real would not keep missing and Barca’s makeshift defense got beat by Ronaldo who then shot past Valdes at the near post with his left boot in the 23rd minute. Benzema missed another clear chance when he hit the post when he really should have buried it.
Madrid paid for their sloppy finishing in the 31st minute. A defensive error by Pepe gave Messi a great chance and he kept calm and easily beat Casillas from less than 8 yards. Madrid were by far the better team in the first half.
In the 61st minute the whole game got turned on its head when Messi scored the perfect free-kick. The roof almost went flying off of the Camp Nou as the Blaugrana celebrated their little magicians best trick. The joy however only lasted 5 minutes until Ronaldo leveled the scores again just after he injured his shoulder when attempting a bicycle-kick. Ozil played the perfect pass and Ronaldo did what is expected when he is one-on-one with a ‘keeper.
The closest anyone came to getting the winner was when Montoya (the RB that replaced Alves) hit the post with a magnificent strike. The worrying fact for Barcelona will be that they are depending to heavily on Messi. The two solo efforts he scored were all that kept Barca in a match that they were obviously the weaker team.
The match ended as a 2-2 draw and meant that Real Madrid are still trailing Barcelona by 8 points.
Team Of The Week: Match-day 7
GK: Sergio Álvarez Conde (Celta Vigo)
This ‘keeper was truly thrown straight into the deep-end this week. His first start of the season was against the devastating attack of Sevilla. He still managed to keep a clean-sheet so he earns his position.
LB: Paulao (Real Betis)
I broke the rules a bit by picking a centre-back as my LB. He was just to good in his teams victory to leave out. He was a giant in defense and even got on the score-sheet himself.
CB: Pepe (Real Madrid)
Although he made an error that led to a goal, Pepe was still very solid in defense throughout the whole match. He cleared a lot of balls and even once went on a marauding run forward that almost worked out.
CB: Mascherano (Barcelona)
Mascherano has become accustomed to playing at centre-back for Barca since Puyol and Pique are both prone to injuries. He was caught out a few times, but he was a much better centre-back than he was a couple of months ago. He looked comfortable in the position and did really well overall.
RB: Andoni Iraola (Athletic Bilbao)
Iraola was exceptional going forward in Bilbao’s 1-0 victory. He has an immense amount of skill and pace and looked like a track athlete at times. He did seem a little tired sometimes when defending, but he still did enough to help keep the clean-sheet.
MID: Enrique de Lucas (Celta Vigo)
De Lucas scored his 20th goal for Celta. His goal secured a win over tough rivals Sevilla. He had a really good game overall.
MID: Oscar de Marcos (Athletic Bilbao)
De Marcos finally started playing really well in this game. He picked the right match to step up his game. He assisted Aduriz in the only goal of the match. If he can keep playing like this Athletics season may be back on track.
LM: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
CR7 scored a brace against Barcelona this match-day and that should already be enough to get him on this list. He also tracked back to keep out Barca a lot. He dominated the Barcelona defense and even kept on playing after he injured himself.
RM: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi had an exceptional game yet again. He was not on his best in the open play, but when the game got fragmented he pounced on the opportunities and scored a magnificent brace against one of the best ‘keepers in the world. He carried a Barcelona team that played way below par.
ST: Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
The Colombian forward did what he does best, scoring goals. He scored once and had a big influence on the Weligton own-goal. He certainly is living up to his reputation. He sure put on a show for Roberto Mancini who was at the match to watch him personally according so some accounts.
Dizzels La Liga Player Of The Week: The recipient of this weeks award was certainly the hardest to decide. After amazing performances by the two best players in the world I decided to award the Dizzels Player Of The Week to both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. I believe there can be no dispute that they both deserve it.
Written by Deon Beauzec
Follow him on Twitter @DIZZEL001
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