Mesut Ozil of Real Madrid CF runs with the ball during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and Real Madrid CF at El Madrigal. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

La Liga, Week 31: Valencia Hold Real Madrid, Barcelona Within Four Points

The title race is on in La Liga, and if Barcelona can avoid dropping points next week, El Clasico will be even more massive than usual. Real Madrid were held to a scoreless draw by Valencia on Sunday.

  • Live
4 Total Updates since April 7, 2012
  • Important 1
  • Updates 3
  • Articles 1
  • All Updates 4

Levante Vs. Atletico Madrid, 2012 La Liga: Atleti Lose To Levante, Say Goodbye To The Champions League

There’s some major intrigue at the top of the Spanish Liga BBVA…and no, Barcelona didn’t lose. (I mean, come on, Leo Messi). Actually, the team with one of the lowest payrolls in the league beat a side with one of the highest. Again, Real Madrid was not involved. I’m talking about Levante, a perpetually under-appreciated side with one of the lowest payrolls in the Liga BBVA grabbing a share of fourth place (fourth freaking place!) by beating Atlético Madrid, 2-0 at home. MARCA, a traditionally obnoxious tabloid devoid of any real journalistic integrity (for more biting analysis of Spanish journalism, check out my insane rantings here), described Atleti as looking like they had too much torrija a traditional Spanish desert during Semana Santa (Easter). For the first time in a long while, I agree with Marca. Atleti were boring, sluggish, wasteful, and tired (any more adjectives would be overkill, but you get the idea). They actually did look like they had had too much to eat the night before—you know, they looked the way you feel Thanksgiving morning.

Levante, on the other hand, were strong. They were solid in defense, lethal in attack, and were by far the better side all afternoon. They scored within 50 seconds, when Valdo headed in a center from Barkero—the first shot, the first goal. They’d take their final two-nil lead only eight minutes later, when Koné blasted home another Barkero cross. I’d like to think that these two goals were more a testament to Levante’s strength (dead ball situations, and balls in the air) than to Atleti’s mediocre aerial defense. But then again, Atleti can make literally anyone look like Jan Koller (remember him?) on balls in the air.

We won’t know the exact implications of this game until we see how some of the other contests play out this week, but it’s certainly looking like the end of Atleti’s Champions League aspirations. They still retain a mathematical ability to qualify, but their practical chances are slim to none. A weird result from a perpetually weird team.

Continue
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.