A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight:
Barcelona 2-1 Las Palmas
Lionel Messi has a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) and will miss 7-8 weeks of action. There, that’s the bad news for Barcelona fans. Here’s the good news: Neymar and Luis Suarez are still pretty freaking good, as are Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta from deeper in midfield, so they’ll be just fine. In reality, Messi missing two months at this point of the season means he’ll be healthy and fresh for the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League, so Barca will probably win that again this year.
On Saturday, though, the Blaugrana got on just fine for 80 Messi-less minutes. Suarez chipped in with a brace, goals coming either side of halftime (25th and 54th minutes), to give him three league goals on the season. Expect that number to rise quickly and frequently in Messi’s absence. Jonathan Viera pulled one back for Las Palmas, but with just two minutes of regular time to be played, it was too little too late.
Real Madrid 0-0 Malaga
Sure, it’s only the sixth week of the season, but it’s never a good idea to drop points when you’re in a theoretical title race with Barcelona. Ever. With a 0-0 home draw against Malaga on Saturday, that’s exactly what Real Madrid did. Los Blancos completely controlled the game and on another could/would have scored three or four, but all 31 shots (nine on goal), including an astonishing 14 by Cristiano Ronaldo, proved futile.
Sevilla 3-2 Rayo Vallecano
Bebe scored. Remember that guy? You know, the Portuguese kid no one had ever heard of before Manchester United paid $11 million for him in 2010? Well, shockingly, it never worked out at Old Trafford, but now, at age 25, he’s on loan at Rayo Vallecano (from Benfica) and he scored against Sevilla on Saturday. Of course, it wasn’t enough to secure any points against Sevilla, but noteworthy nonetheless.
Kevin Gameiro (23rd minute), Steven N’Zonzi (46th) put the two-time defending UEFA Europa League champions comfortably ahead, only to see that lead disappear after Bebe (51st) and Javi Guerra (68th) each scored. Yevhen Konoplyanka (86th) scored the late winner to pull Sevilla out of the relegation zone and put them on five points from six games, eight points off the pace of Celta Vigo for the fourth and final UEFA Champions League place.
Elsewhere in La Liga action
Villarreal 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Sporting Gijon vs. Real Betis (6 a.m. ET)
Deportivo La Coruna vs. Espanyol (10 a.m. ET)
Getafe vs. Levante (12:15 p.m. ET)
Real Sociedad vs. Athletic Bilbao (2:30 p.m. ET)