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Monday January 30 2017
What we learned from La Liga Week 20

There were goals, sending offs and controversial incidents in the 20th La Liga weekend, one which David Peters looks back on.

1. It’s time for La Liga to implement goal-line technology

The replays showed that Luis Suarez’s shot clearly crossed the line in the 77th minute, but no goal was given in Barcelona’s trip to play Real Betis. The Catalan side did eventually get their equaliser, but will feel they were denied a good chance to push for the victory as a result of the wrong decision. Luis Enrique didn’t blame the referees after the match, instead insisting that they need help with the introduction of goal-line technology and he is right. The English Premier League, Ligue 1, Serie A, Bundesliga and Eredivisie all help their officials out with the technology, but La Liga has yet to introduce it. That has to change.

2. The Santiago Bernabeu is unforgiving … until you score

After Real Madrid’s midweek cup exit, the fans at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu were less than impressed and they voiced their displeasure before Sunday evening’s match against Real Sociedad, booing the under-performing Danilo and Karim Benzema in particular. After several misplaced passes in the first half, Cristiano Ronaldo also heard the whistles directed his way, but he was able to get the fans back on his side with a second half goal. The players had pleaded for full backing in the build up to the match, but Sunday evening proved that the only way to keep in the Santiago Bernabeu good books is by winning.

3. Leganes’ situation looks bleak

Leganes secured their first ever La Liga win when they played Celta Vigo away in the first week of the 2016-17 season, at which point it seemed they might stand a better chance of avoiding relegation than may had initially assumed. However, their form has plummeted in recent months after a bright start of 10 points from their opening seven matches. In the 13 matches since then they have taken just eight points and their only win in that 13-match stretch came against an even worse Osasuna side. Against Celta Vigo they never really looked like getting anything from the game, even though they enjoyed plenty of possession. Their momentum needs a reboot quickly.

4. Atletico Madrid are lucky they have such a good backup goalkeeper

When an injury at the beginning of December ruled Jan Oblak out for several months, it looked like it would be a major blow for Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone to be without their Slovenian goalkeeper. Fortunately they have an excellent number two in the shape of Miguel Angel Moya and he has been showing exactly why he was once-upon-a-time the goalkeeper Simeone most wanted to sign. Against Deportivo Alaves, Los Rojiblancos were overrun and were lucky to draw and not lose. They can thank Moya for their point as he, with his four saves, was the best Atletico player by some distance. 

5. There were positives for Sevilla, despite defeat

To fall one goal and one man down inside the first five minutes of a match is the last thing a Coach hopes for when he takes his seat in a dugout, but that is exactly what Jorge Sampaoli and his Sevilla side suffered away at Espanyol when Nicolas Pareja was dismissed as the last man, conceding a spot kick. Yet the 10 men of Sevilla fought back and even managed to equalise in the 20th minute, while they played well for the rest of the first half, ultimately conceding another just before the break. Even in the second half, though, they still remained competitive up until the third Espanyol goal. So they may have lost this match, but the fighting spirit they showed should encourage Sampaoli and show that they always have a chance, especially if they can keep all eleven men on the field. 

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