Previous
Switzerland
Poland
1:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Wales
Northern Ireland
4:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Croatia
Portugal
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
United States
Colombia
12:00 AM UTC Jun 26, 2016
Game Details
Next

Barca wise to extend Busquets

Barcelona
Read

Luis Enrique and Fernando Torres hit 100, Ronaldo struggles away

The ESPN FC crew discuss Barcelona's underwhelming 2-0 victory over Levante.

Five thoughts from another weekend of La Liga action as Atletico won, while Barcelona and Real Madrid did not convince in their victories.

1. Ton up for Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique's 100th game in charge of Barcelona was not their most flowing performance, but it did bring a 2-0 win at Levante on Sunday lunchtime to keep the Blaugrana in control of the title race.

Twelve of those 100 have come in six weeks since the winter break and Barca did look a team low on energy, but they did enough to win via a first half own-goal from Levante defender David Navarro, and an injury time clincher from Luis Suarez.

Luis Enrique's record now reads 80 wins, 11 draws and nine defeats, with Barca scoring 282 goals and conceding 72. That's a better record than even that of former coach Pep Guardiola. Barca are also now unbeaten in 28 matches, equalling the club record set by Pep's side in 2010-11.

The Barca boss characteristically refused to dwell on such personal achievements at his postmatch news conference: "When the season ends I will tell you if it was useful for anything," he said. "Such statistics don't tell me anything. I am interested in collective objectives, winning leagues."

His side certainly look well set to keep doing so.

2. Torres also makes it to 100

The ESPN FC crew discuss Fernando Torres scoring his 100th goal for Atletico Madrid in their win versus Eibar.

Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Eibar 3-1 on Saturday afternoon, to stay second in the table, but all the headlines were grabbed by Fernando Torres wrapping up the scoring with his 100th goal for the club.

It had been 19 games and five months since No. 99 was scored, also against Eibar in September, but there was joy unbounded in the Vicente Calderon as El Nino, now 31, reached a superb Luciano Vietto cross to prod into the empty net.

Torres is out of contract in June, and his second coming at the Calderon looks almost over, but he will always have this moment. There was also a nice touch as, on the final whistle, he went looking for Atletico scout Manuel Brinas, who spotted him as 10-year-old over two decades ago, and gave him his shirt as souvenir.

The boyhood Atletico fan then told Canal Plus: "It is an honour to score for this club. The only future now is the next game. And hopefully finishing the season winning a trophy. When I do retire I'll be back here as a fan."

3. Ronaldo not scoring away from home

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane encourages Croatian midfielder Luka Modric to take more shots.

Cristiano Ronaldo also turned 31 last Friday, but was not able to celebrate his birthday with a goal as he had another quiet showing in Real Madrid's 2-1 win at Granada on Sunday evening.

Karim Benzema put Madrid in front on the half hour, substitute Youssef El-Arabi equalised, and Granada were in the game up until Los Blancos midfielder Luka Modric won it with a superb 25-yard effort into the top corner with time almost up.

Ronaldo was barely involved in open play, and had three efforts at goal over the 90 minutes, without hitting the target. He has now scored nine times at the Bernabeu since his last away goal in La Liga -- at Eibar back in November.

With their supposed leader and best player struggling for an impact, Madrid have found it very difficult to pick up points away from home recently. And that is why, even with Modric's winner on Sunday, they remain four points off Barca with a game more played.

4. It is getting embarrassing now for Neville

The ESPN FC panel discuss Gary Neville's inability to get a single league win since taking over as manager at Valencia.

Gary Neville's winless run in La Liga continued as his Valencia team was again deservedly beaten, losing 1-0 at a Real Betis side who had not won any of their previous 12 games in all competitions.

Valencia had six players booked, and defender Jose Gaya sent off, but the postmatch news conference was more bruising than the game had been. Neville's insistence that his team are playing well, and just lacking a bit of good fortune, again frustrated and angered experienced local journalists and pundits who are growing increasingly upset at what they feel is a failure to accept reality.

"Listening to Neville I get the feeling he does not feel guilty for anything," tweeted former Los Che midfield David Albelda as he listened to the questions and answers.

Neville's case is not helped by a tendency to either dismiss or laugh at some questions from local reporters. Joking with British journalists in attendance does also not go down well, especially with a team supposedly built for the Champions League now caught up in a relegation battle.

He may have walked into a club which has had 13 first team coaches and nine club presidents in the last 12 years, but his results are just getting embarrassing now.

5. Malaga on a roll

Maybe the stand-out performance over the weekend came on Friday night at La Rosaleda, when Malaga rolled over Getafe 3-0.

The scoring was opened via a superb individual goal from Malaga winger Juanpi, who dribbled past two defenders on the edge of the box, and slotted confidently into the net for his third goal in three games.

Venezuela international Juanpi was central again as Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu, who did not get even one minute while at Bournemouth through the first half of the season, made it 2-0 just 22 minutes into his debut. Centre forward Charles killed the game just before half-time, after another sweeping team move.

"It was a pretty complete game for us, we got it under control very quickly," said coach Javi Gracia afterwards. His organised side are now well set for a late push towards a Europa League spot.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Twitter @dermotmcorrigan.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.