Monday, February 15, 2010

Atletico Stun Barca and Inter Slips as Juventus Returns

A weekend with no English action, but there was plenty in the Spanish and Italian leagues.

Atletico Madrid - Barcelona

Atletico Madrid re-opened the title race after defeating Barcelona 2-1, Barcelona had a makeshift back four with Jeffren at right-back, Puyol and Milito center-backs, and Maxwell at left-back. Barca also suffered after Keita limped off being substituted by Pedro, Atletico ruthlessly pressured the Catalans, and when Reyes released Forland with a fantastic through ball, the Uruguayan striker slotted it past Valdes. When Aguero was also released 1 on 1 with Valdes, he didn't have the tenacity that Forlan did, Aguero wasted a perfect opportunity by trying to pass it to a teammate, which was intercepted. Simao doubled the lead after he curled a beautiful free kick past Valdes who took a step too much in the wrong direction, making him unable to reach the ball.  Ibrahimovic equalized for  Barcelona with a volley at the far post, and although Barca pressed for a draw, Atletico held on for a fantastic win.

In Spain, Real Madrid reduced the gap between them and Barcelona to two points after a comfortable win over Deportivo Xerez. Cristiano Ronaldo missed some great opportunites even though he scored two goals, Arbeloa started the scoring after sliding it into the goal after a dubious onside call. Cristiano Ronaldo doubled with a header and scored the third for Real after a blunder by the Xerez goalie. Villareal grab an important win against Athletic Bilbao, a 2-1 victory allows the yellow submarine to move up to ninth in the table.

In Italy, Milan, Juventus, and Roma all pull off wins, Milan beat Udinese 3-2 thanks to an inspiring Ronaldinho, Juventus beat Genoa 3-2 after what seemed like a dive from Del Piero for a late winning penalty, and Roma comfortably took care of Palermo 4-1 with two goals coming from a fantastic Brighi. Meanwhile, one of the best 0-0's all season took place in Naples, Napoli was able to hold off Inter, both teams hit the woodwork at least three times, lots of opportunities were wasted, and the two goalkeepers, Julio Cesar and De Sanctis were fantastic. Inter is only 7 points ahead of Roma, and 8 ahead of Milan which has a game in hand. It looks like the Serie A is really heating up and could easily re-open itself to a new winner.

What do you think of this week's soccer action? Comment below! 


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