La Liga: Barca, Atletico's perfect starts end

Madrid: FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid saw their 100 percent records come to an end in the La Liga on Saturday.A win for either Saturday would have seen them equal the best ever start to
la liga barca atletico s perfect starts end -...
IANS October 20, 2013 15:42 IST
Madrid: FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid saw their 100 percent records come to an end in the La Liga on Saturday.





A win for either Saturday would have seen them equal the best ever start to a season which was set by Real Madrid with nine straight wins. But as it is, that record remains untouched, reports Xinhua.

Atletico fell to a 0-1 defeat away to Espanyol in a tight and physical game which was decided by a strange own goal by Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, 10 minutes after the break. Courtois somehow managed to kick the ball into his own net after Sergio Garcia had failed to contact with a cross from the left.

A 0-0 draw in Pamplona saw Barcelona's perfect record come to an end, a week ahead of playing Real Madrid in the 'El Clasico'.

Barca struggled to break down a well organised Osasuna and Cesc Fabregas failed to take the chances which fell their way on a night where the only good news for the Catalans was Carlos Puyol's return after seven months, because of a knee injury, and Lionel Messi on as a second half substitute after being sidelined for three weeks with a muscle problem.

The other consolation was that as a result of Atletico's defeat, the point leaves Barca as leaders of Spain's top flight league with a point lead over Atletico.

Real Madrid were always in control against Malaga but needed a fortunate goal from Angel di Maria at the start of the second half and a controversial Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in injury time to see them to a 2-0 win.

Malaga keeper Willy Caballero stopped everything Madrid could throw at him but was left stranded as Di Maria's curling cross evaded everyone to nestle in the corner of the net. Ronaldo's penalty came after Gareth Bale fell over under slight pressure in the Malaga area after returning to action as a 76th minute substitute.

The win pulls Real Madrid back to within three points of Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad took a morale boosting win away to Valencia ahead of their Champions League trip to Manchester United.

Antoine Griezmann and Ruben Pardo, who scored a stunning shot, put the Basque side 2-0 ahead before Dorlan Pabon netted a 93rd minute strike to put some sheen on the scoreline for Valencia, whose recent run of form comes to an end.
 
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