WINDHOEK, OCT. 1 – La Liga heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid had a week to forget, allowing Sevilla and Atletico Madrid to close in at the top of the log, while there were also significant goals for African players such as Karl Toko Ekambi and Nabil El Zhar.
Moroccan El Zhar was on the score sheet as Leganes, who also featured his compatriot Youssef En-Nesyri, claimed a stunning 2-1 home win over Barcelona last midweek. This gave Real Madrid the chance to assume top spot, but they were outclassed by an on-fire Sevilla.
The Andalusia club crushed Los Blancos 3-0 at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, with French striker Wissem Ben Yedder, who is of Tunisian descent and could have represented the Carthage Eagles, rounding off the scoring.
The midweek action also saw Cameroon’s Karl Toko Ekambi score his first La Liga goal as Villarreal won 3-0 away to Athletic Bilbao, Amath Ndiaye was on target for Getafe in their 1-1 draw away to Alaves, and Ghanaian Thomas Partey netted in Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 home win over Huesca.
That was not enough for the Black Stars midfielder to earn a start for the Madrid derby at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night, though Partey did appear as a second-half substitute to help Atletico claim a goalless stalemate – a result which left Real coach Julen Lopetegui frustrated.
“We have not won the game because we have not scored a goal,” Lopetegui said. “But we were far superior to Atletico Madrid, in the end of first half and entire second half.
“Against a great team like Atletico Madrid we pinned them back, created many more chances than they did, overcome the adversity and injuries we have and played a very good game. But if you do not score then, logically, you cannot win.”
It was an equally frustrating night for Barca, who were held 1-1 at home by Athletic Bilbao. The Catalan giants trailed for much of the match to Oscar De Marcos’ opener, but salvaged a draw thanks to a late equaliser from Munir El Haddadi – a Spanish-born forward of Moroccan descent.
Sunday’s action saw Real Betis and their pair of Algerian players – Aissa Mandi and Ryad Boudebouz – get the better of Leganes 1-0 to move into the top five, while Mubarak Wakaso’s Alaves dropped out of the upper reaches of the log after they were beaten 2-1 at a Levante which featured Emmanuel Boateng, Moses Simon and Cheick Doukoure.
The schedule for this latest round of La Liga matches wraps up on Monday night when Sofiane Boufal’s Celta de Vigo host Getafe.
La Liga results, 25 September – 1 October
Tuesday 25 September
20:00: Espanyol 1-0 Eibar
21:00: Real Sociedad 2-2 Rayo Vallecano
22:00: Atletico Madrid 3-0 Huesca
Wednesday 26 September
20:00: Athletic Bilbao 0-3 Villarreal
20:00: Legances 2-1 Barcelona
22:00: Valencia 1-1 Celta de Vigo
22:00: Sevilla 3-0 Real Madrid
Thursday 27 September
20:00: Deportivo Alaves 1-1 Getafe
20:00: Real Valladolid 2-1 Levante
22:00 Girona 0-1 Real Betis
Friday 28 September
21:00: Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Espanyol
Saturday 29 September
13:00: Real Sociedad0-1v Valencia
16:15: Barcelona 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
18:30: Eibar 1-3 Sevilla
20:45: Real Madrid 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Sunday 30 September
12:00: Huesca 1-1 Girona
16:15: Villarreal 0-1 Real Valladolid
18:30: Levante 2-1 Deportivo Alaves
20:45: Real Betis 1-0 Leganes – Contributed