Real Madrid came out the better for the one-day delay of their match against Rayo Vallecano, which was moved to Monday due to problems with the lights at Rayo's ground. The Merengues went up early, and though they had to endure a couple of scary moments, they were mostly in control throughout and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win.
The match was nothing like last year's corresponding fixture, when Rayo kept the pressure on Madrid for the entire match and the visitors barely managed a 1-0 victory. Karim Benzema put his team in front 13 minutes in, tapping in an easy finish at the end of a counter attack, assisted by Angel di Maria with a perfect low cross to the back post.
Madrid's scariest moment came in the 33rd minute, when Rayo had three brilliant chances to score in a span of 10 seconds. Andrija Delibasic put a header on goal, but Iker Casillas made a brilliant save. Mikel Labaka pounced on the rebound, and his shot was blocked off the line. The ball fell to Jordi Amat, but his half-volley went wide of the net.
The visitors put the match away in the 70th minute. Madrid was granted a penalty for a handball by Jordi Amat, and Cristiano Ronaldo converted. They continued to dominate for the rest of the match and had a couple of goals narrowly disallowed for offside. As solid as Rayo were in the first half from the goal onwards, they were less dangerous in the second half.
Rayo Vallecano were supposed to host Real Madrid in a lopsided and non-traditional, but nonetheless local derby match. That match never happened because there were no lights at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas. If you've ever seen the very basic and fairly run down stadium, you're probably assuming that the lights just stopped working.
Actually, things were working just fine at Rayo's ground until one very angry individual physically cut the wires to the floodlights at the stadium. The lights couldn't be fixed in time for the two teams to play on Sunday, so the match was moved to Monday evening. There were rumors of a potential forfeit for the hosts, which would have been a disaster. They're in great form and gave the struggling Merengues all they could handle in this fixture last season. A Real Madrid win is not a foregone conclusion.
Match Date/Time: Monday, 7:45 p.m. local, 1:45 p.m. ET
It took until the 87th minute for Barcelona to score, but they've kept their advantage over Real Madrid in the La Liga standings with a 2-0 victory over Granada at Camp Nou. The visitors defended brilliantly and Granada goalkeeper Toño was the clear man of the match, even in defeat, but the Blaugrana's winner was well-deserved. In stoppage time, they added a second through an own goal.
Xavi netted Barcelona's only goal scored by one of their players with a stellar half-volley, hit from 20 yards out off the underside of the crossbar. It came after numerous saves by Toño, who looked unbeatable on the night. An eventual Barcelona goal felt inevitable throughout the second half, but it took an extraordinarily long time for it to come because of his exceptional play.
A Granada comeback was never realistic and the game was effectively over when Xavi scored, but Barcelona added an insurance goal anyway. In the second minute of stoppage time, Borja Gomez deflected a Lionel Messi cross into his own goal to add to the home side's lead and ensure a victory for Barcelona.