La Liga: Rayo Vallecano defy the odds to keep riding high
Madrid’s “other team” shrug off their troubles to push for Champions League spot. Meanwhile, Ronaldo scores three and Messi bags four ahead of the year’s first Clásico.
By Halima Ali
They are not the first, second, or arguably, even the third team in Madrid, but they are already in position for a Europa League place and currently sit one point away from the Champions League spots. It is an even more impressive feat given that this is a club in administration, a team that was almost relegated to segunda on the final day of last season and that lost both its manager in the summer and a total of 13 players including their star, Michu, who is currently lighting up the Premier League.
Rayo Vallecano are defying all expectations. While Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid sit in second and third respectively, the other team from the capital are just a point behind Málaga in fourth, and Real Betis, who are also flying high in fifth.
They faced Betis at the weekend, in what was to be a match between the two biggest surprises of this season and Paco Jémez’s players were looking to take advantage of any tiredness following the visitors’ Copa del Rey defeat to Atlético in midweek.
Rayo, who were still without the injured Nacho and Léo Baptistão, got off to a flying start at the Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas, with a goal in just four minutes, when Andrija Delibašić was fouled by Betis keeper Adrián inside the area. Piti stepped up to the penalty spot and netted in his 200th appearance for his club.
Delibašić would get the second after the break when he met Casado’s cross, while José Carlos made it 3-0 with eight minutes left on the clock, when he curled home after avoiding two challenges inside the box.
Rayo have now won three consecutive home games in la liga for first time since 2001/02 and also their last three matches against Real Betis in the league, ensuring their best-ever run against the side from Seville. The result gave Rayo a record of 11 wins, nine losses and one draw.
Elsewhere in the Spanish capital there was a derby as Real Madrid played host to Getafe in a midday kick-off at the Santiago Bernabéu. Perhaps not used to such an early start, José Mourinho’s men were sluggish in the first half.
After the break however, Sergio Ramos scored in the 53rd minute before Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in 10 minutes to secure the win. The result keeps Los Merengues in third place.
It was an upbeat end to a week when the reigning champions were dealt a huge blow as club captain Iker Casillas underwent surgery on a broken hand. The injury, which was inflicted by teammate Álvaro Arbeloa in the Copa del Rey in midweek, will keep him out for up to three months.
It also means that San Iker won’t play in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona – the first time he will have missed a Clásico since 2002.
Barcelona warmed up for that game with Lionel Messi scoring four goals in his side’s 5-1 home win against 10-man Osasuna, while Pedro also got on the scoresheet.
The victory marked a return to winning ways for the Catalans after the 3-2 defeat at Real Sociedad – their first loss of the campaign – and Messi became the first player to score in 11 successive liga games.
Sevilla FC 3 – 0 Granada CF
Athletic Bilbao 3 – 0 Atlético Madrid
RCD Mallorca 2 – 3 Málaga CF
FC Barcelona 5 – 1 Osasuna
Rayo Vallecano 3 – 0 Real Betis
Real Madrid 4 – 0 Getafe CF
Deportivo La Coruña 2 – 3 Valencia CF
Real Zaragoza 0 – 0 RCD Espanyol
Levante UD 2 – 1 Real Valladolid
Celta de Vigo 1 – 1 Real Sociedad
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Published: Jan 29 2013
Category: Featured, Spain News, Sports
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
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Tags: clásico, la liga, Liga, Los Merengues, Messi, Rayo Vallecano, Ronaldo, San Iker, spain, spain news, spain soccer, spanish football, Spanish soccer