Round 16 of Spanish La Liga 2018-19 came to a conclusion on Monday.
The match-days witnessed plenty of thrills, spills and emotions, and another hat-trick from Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi along with the usual dose of entertainment and drama. Here are the results of the La Liga matches, and some of the key talking points.
Reigning champions Barcelona continued their fiery form as they routed Levante 5-0. Lionel Messi once again was at his very best scoring a hat-trick. Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique were the other scorers. Real Madrid too recorded a victory with a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano. Karim Benzema was on target to guide the Los Blancos to glory in the absence of Gareth Bale.
Barcelona 5-0 Levante
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 16, 2018
Barcelona remains three points clear at the top of the La Liga table with a truly dominant victory on the road against Levante. After a tough beginning to the game, Barca saw Lionel Messi take over, score a hat-trick and lead his team to a big victory and ensure Barca will finish the year as league leaders.
Real Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano
— Real Madrid C.F.⚽ (@realmadrid) December 15, 2018
Karim Benzema got the winner for Real Madrid with a confident 13th-minute finish for just his second goal in 13 La Liga games. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made two injury-time saves as Real Madrid earned an important 3 points to remain fourth in the La Liga race. Real still continue to be a long way away from being their best, but it was a step in the right direction for the whites.
Valladolid 2-3 Atletico Madrid
⏱ 95' | 2-3 | ¡FINAAAAAL! ➕3⃣
¡Nos llevamos tres puntos vitales de Valladolid!
⚽ #RealValladolidAtleti ⚽
— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) December 15, 2018
Atletico Madrid earned a hard-fought win as Antoine Griezmann struck the decisive goal for the red and white side in a thrilling 3-2 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday, after they had thrown away a two-goal lead, taking them level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Sevilla 2-0 Girona
Sevilla pulled level on points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of the Spanish league after beating Girona 2-0 at home on Sunday. Ever Banega converted a penalty kick in the 56th minute after Andre Silva was tripped by Juan Ramirez. Pablo Sarabia led a clever move to get the second goal in the 64th.
Eibar 1-1 Valencia
Eibar held Valencia at home, thanks to some defensive heroics. The hosts opened the scoring in the duel in the 29th minute thanks to the striker Rodrigo’s ball but failed to keep the advantage. An accurate kick from the forward Charles from the penalty spot in the 56th minute allowed Eibar to escape from defeat.
Celta Vigo 0-0 Leganes
— RC Celta (@RCCelta) December 14, 2018
Leganes survived a late Celta Vigo onslaught to earn a point in a goalless LaLiga draw. Celta were chasing a third straight LaLiga victory and must have thought they would get it when, in the 87th minute, Brais Mendez turned the ball towards the bottom corner of the net from six yards out but Ivan Cuellar made a superb save. Leganes are now unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.
Getafe 1-0 Real Sociedad
Jorge Molina scored the only goal of the game as Getafe beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. In the 3rd minute, former Real Betis striker Molina took full advantage of a Miguel Angel Moya mistake and profited from an assist from Gaku – to give his side all three points.
Real Betis 3-1 Espanyol
94' ⏱⚽️ ¡¡¡FINAAAAAAAAAL!!! 😍😍😍 ¡Final del partido con victoria verdiblanca en el RCDE Stadium!
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis) December 16, 2018
Real Betis registered a 3-1 win over Espanyol to extend their La Liga winning streak to three matches while handing their opponent their fifth defeat in a row. After the win, Real Betis holds the fifth spot in La Liga standings with 25 points, while Espanyol sits in the 11th spot with 21 points.
Huesca 2-2 Villareal
Villarreal, who had a difficult first half of the season, missed a chance to get some air in the relegation zone on Sunday, conceding a 2-2 draw with Huesca. Villarreal is only one point ahead of the relegation zone, while Huesca are now in the bottom of the La Liga standings.
Alaves 0-0 Athletic Bilbao
— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) December 17, 2018
Athletic Bilbao remained in the relegation zone of the Spanish league after being held at Alaves to 0-0 on Monday. Bilbao is in 18th place of the 20-team league and level on points with Villarreal, which is the last team in safety. Bilbao, which only has players from the northern Basque Country or neighboring areas, has never been relegated to the second division.