Monday 18 December 2017 / 01:59 PM

La Liga Wrap

Barcelona and Real Madrid were both held to draws in La Liga this weekend ahead of their pressing quarter-final engagements in the UEFA Champions League.

 

Barca appeared to be on course for a 1-2 success at Celta Vigo on Saturday evening after Lionel Messi struck with seventeen minutes remaining, however the champions elect were foiled just three minutes from time when Borja Oubina headed home for the relegation strugglers.

 

The result did no harm to the Catalans thirteen point buffer at the top of the table and fans were still able to celebrate a wonderful piece of history achieved by Messi who became the first player to score a goal in 19 consecutive games against each different team in the league.

 

Eric Abidal’s return to the Barca bench was also a major boost for Tito Villanova’s side following the Frenchman’s liver transplant and he will hope to play some part in the club’s title triumph before the end of the season.

 

Celta will have been delighted to secure a point amidst their battle to survive the drop however they made no further ground on 17th placed side Real Zaragoza who valiantly held Los Merengues at La Romareda.

 

The hosts took a surprising lead just eight minutes in through Rodri but Real were back on level terms half an hour later through Cristiano Ronaldo who drilled a low left foot shot past Roberto Jimenez.

 

 

And the Zaragoza stopper had his work cut out thereafter, coming off best in a one-on-one with Ronaldo before keeping out further efforts from the Portuguese star and Brazilian full back Marcelo who also hit the post.

 

Nevertheless, Zaragoza managed to hold on and Blanquillos will now hope to build upon that result and move clear of danger with nine fixtures remaining.

 

Malaga join Barca and Real in the Champions League last eight and they will be far happier with their weekend preparations after beating Rayo Vallecano 1-3 on the road.

 

Goals from Weligton, Julio Baptista and Pedro Morales put Los Boquerones bang in contention for a crack at Borussia Dortmund at La Rosaleda and also reduced their deficit behind fourth placed Real Sociedad to just one point after the Basque outfit drew 2-2 with Espanyol.

 

Third placed Atletico Madrid also came away honours even at the weekend from their encounter against Valencia at Vicente Calderon; Jonas’ opener for the visitors was cancelled out by Falcao within the first six minutes of the game leaving Ernesto Valverde’s still with plenty to do if they are to secure a spot in Europe next year.

 

Deportivo continued their mini resurgence at the foot of the table as goals from Silvio, Carlos Marchena and Riki saw of relegation rivals Real Mallorca 2-3 at the Iberostar Stadium, whilst there were also wins for Osasuna and Levante over Valladolid (1-3) and Sevilla (1-0) respectively.

 

 

Round 29 of La Liga concludes on Easter Monday evening as Athletic Bilbao welcome Granada to San Mames whilst Getafe make the trip to face Real Betis in search of a fifth win in six matches.

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Chris Kisby

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