Spain Roundup: Barca-oh-no! Madrid clubs seize breathing room

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Valladolid climbed out of the drop zone with a stunning home win over out-of-sorts Barcelona, leaving the Blaugrana to wonder whether they can chase down Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in the race for La Liga’s title.

Fausto Rossi played hero in the 17th minute with a goal for Valladolid, which then bore Barca’s attack for the remainder of the match. There were chances for Lionel Messi and company, who took 13 shots, but even a trio of substitutions that introduced Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Tello and Sergi Roberto to the match couldn’t propel Barca to an equalizer.

It was Valladolid’s first win over Barcelona since October 2012, and “boosted” their record in the rivalry to 4W-5D-23L.

Meanwhile, both Madrid squads cruised to victories. Real Madrid took a 2-0 lead on Levante with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo. Then Levante helped out with a red card for David Navarro and an own goal from Nikos Karabelas to reach full time at 3-0.

David Villa did everything Atletico Madrid needed to seize a 2-0 win at Celta de Vigo, scoring goals in the 62nd and 64th minutes.

So Barca may have the best goal differential in La Liga, but it’s staring up at its rivals after Sunday. Atletico is one point ahead of Barca, while Real Madrid has a four-point lead in the standings.

Wow.

Elsewhere

  • Granada 2-0 Villarreal – Two goals by the 33rd minute had Granada on cruise control at home. Fran Rico and Youssef El Arabi with the goals.
  • Real Betis 2-0 Getafe – Break up Betis! Four points in two weeks for the bottom dwellers, who still sit eight points away from safety.
  • Valencia 1-1 Bilbao – Aritz Aduriz’s penalty in the 53rd minute equalized in a match fit to divide the spoils.
  • Almeria 1-3 Sevilla  – Kevin Gameiro struck again, this time an insurance goal, as Sevilla moved to within two points of sixth-place Sociedad and three points of Villarreal.
  • Espanyol 3-1 Elche – Three different goal scorers helped Espanyol keep its European dreams alive.
  • Real Sociedad vs. Rayo Vallecano – Monday
  • Osasuna vs. Malaga – Monday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 27 21 4 2 76 26 50 12-0-1 9-4-1 67
Atlético Madrid 27 20 4 3 63 21 42 11-3-0 9-1-3 64
Barcelona 27 20 3 4 74 22 52 12-0-1 8-3-3 63
Athletic 26 15 5 6 49 30 19 10-3-1 5-2-5 50
Villarreal 27 13 5 9 47 33 14 7-4-3 6-1-6 44
Real Sociedad 26 12 7 7 46 36 10 8-3-1 4-4-6 43
Sevilla 27 11 8 8 47 42 5 6-3-4 5-5-4 41
Espanyol 27 10 6 11 32 33 -1 7-2-5 3-4-6 36
Levante 27 9 9 9 26 34 -8 5-5-3 4-4-6 36
Valencia 26 10 5 11 38 37 1 7-2-4 3-3-7 35
Celta Vigo 27 8 6 13 32 39 -7 3-6-5 5-0-8 30
Granada 27 9 3 15 24 36 -12 5-1-8 4-2-7 30
Osasuna 26 8 5 13 24 39 -15 5-2-5 3-3-8 29
Elche 27 7 8 12 24 40 -16 5-4-5 2-4-7 29
Getafe 27 7 6 14 23 42 -19 4-5-5 3-1-9 27
Málaga 26 6 8 12 24 35 -11 5-2-6 1-6-6 26
Valladolid 27 5 11 11 29 44 -15 4-6-3 1-5-8 26
Almería 27 7 5 15 26 49 -23 4-4-5 3-1-10 26
Rayo Vallecano 26 7 2 17 26 59 -33 4-0-9 3-2-8 23
Betis 27 4 6 17 23 56 -33 4-3-7 0-3-10 18

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.