La Liga: Barça rewrite history books under Vilanova
Barcelona’s unbeaten run in the season’s opening 10 games sees them break another record, while a 4-0 win against Zaragoza flatters a below-par Real Madrid.
By Halima Ali
Tito Vilanova was at it again at the weekend. Having spent several years as Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man it must be fairly routine for him now, but his Barcelona side’s 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou saw him write yet another page in the history books.
The Catalans, who remain unbeaten, equalled the record for the most points after 10 games in La Liga, earning 28 points out of a possible 30 and matching the record set by their rivals Real Madrid.
Three goals in the space of five minutes brought the game to life, with the opener coming from a Pedro cross from the right for Adriano to slot home after just 20 minutes. The visitors’ reply was immediate and with Barça goalkeeper Victor Valdés unable to hold Augusto Fernández’s shot, it was left to Mario Bermejo to sweep home the rebound.
The game, which was being played at breakneck speed, then saw the hosts retake the lead, with Andrés Iniesta’s pass finding David Villa for the finish and victory was assured when El Guaje turned provider to play the ball through for Jordi Alba – who was in an offside position – to score from close range.
For Vilanova, there was no cause for celebration however, as he insisted his team had won nothing yet and that the most important thing was the three points.
Over in the Spanish capital, as the weekend saw Barcelona break a Madrid record, of course Real would break a Blaugrana record as José Mourinho notched his 100th victory with the team, faster than anyone else.
One hundred wins in 133 matches beat the record previously set by Guardiola and moved his side into third, above Málaga. Madrid, who were playing far from their best, flattered to deceive with a 4-0 victory over Real Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Gonzalo Higuaín – who seems to be winning the fight to be the club’s starting striker ahead of Karim Benzema – was quick to score after he pounced on a save in the 23rd minute that Zaragoza goalkeeper Roberto Jiménez could not hold on to. Just two minutes, later Angel Di María did the same, while Michael Essien who is on loan from Chelsea and looking to impress, scored his debut goal for the home side leaving Luka Modrić to round off victory with the fourth goal in the second half.
Atléti tasted their first defeat of the season with a 2-0 loss to Valencia at the Mestalla as man of the moment, Radamel Falcao – who suffered a nasty cut to his forehead when Roberto Soldado stepped on him – was unable to rescue his team. The visitors arguably had the best of the chances in the opening minutes but former Madrid man Soldado opened the scoring for the home side on 20 minutes, when he thumped in a superb volley from a ball by Adil Rami.
But the win was not assured until Nelson Valdez consolidated Valencia’s lead in the 95th minute when he latched on to Sofiane Feghouli’s through pass to take the ball round Thibaut Courtois and seal victory with a left-footed shot.
Madrid remain eight points behind Barcelona, who have 28 points, while Atlético Madrid sit in second with 25 points – still above their city rivals. Málaga who have been in fine form of late, fell to fifth place after they suffered their first home defeat of the campaign, losing 2-1 against Rayo Vallecano.
Getafe CF 2 – 4 Real Betis
Sevilla FC 0 – 0 Levante UD
Granada CF 1 – 2 Athletic Bilbao
Osasuna 0 – 1 Real Valladolid
Deportivo La Coruña 1 – 0 RCD Mallorca
Real Sociedad 0 – 1 RCD Espanyol
Valencia CF 2 – 0 Atlético Madrid
Real Madrid 4 – 0 Real Zaragoza
FC Barcelona 3 – 1 Celta de Vigo
Málaga CF 1 – 2 Rayo Vallecano
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