Matchday 6 has already started in La Liga, and teams have been playing right until the final whistle, with late goals flying in. This season 25 goals have been scored after the 80th minute. Of those 25, 68% of them have earned a point or more for their sides. Already, this week we've seen 4 matches, 3 of which have had crucial goals after 90 minutes.
Araujo to the rescue.
Matchday 5 came to a close on Monday as FC Barcelona took on Granada CF at the Camp Nou. The unrest in the Catalan capital has been growing in recent weeks with public spats between the manager, Ronald Koeman, and President Joan Laporta, tensions were high. But, after just two minutes, La Blaugrana suffered a nightmare start, Granada took the lead. A cross from the left-hand side of the box, from summer signing Sergio Escudero, evaded the Barcelona defence and was headed home by Domingos Duarte.
Barcelona struggled to break down the Granada defence. With the Barcelona way not working, they took out Plan B. Centre-backs Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo partnered Luuk de Jong upfront. The crosses rained into the box, 54 to be exact, finally, with added time looming, Barcelona's biggest threat on the night, Araujo headed home. Araujo, typically a centre-back, had more shots (5) than any other FCB player on the night.
After the game, Koeman was quizzed on the lack of the Barcelona Tiki-Taka. Looking at the squad list, what should we do? Play Tiki-Taka? according to The Spanish Football Podcast. For some time, Koeman has been throwing big punches towards the president. A dismal transfer window has lead to tension between the board and fans. Another public spat with his board makes it seem like Koeman is ready to press the self-destruct button. Despite their troubles, Barcelona can go level on points with Atlético de Madrid, providing that they win both their games in hand. But it seems all is not well at the Catalan giants.
Atleti leave it late, again.
Opta tweeted that Atlético de Madrid have won more points after scoring in the last 15 minutes of the game than any other team in La Liga this season (7). Once again, they left it late to defeat relegation-threatened Getafe CF. Getafe have had a miserable start to La Liga this season. Failing to pick up a single point and losing back to back Madrid derbies, will only put more pressure on Míchel.
Despite their terrible form, Getafe managed to take the lead. A cross from Nemanja Maksimović was met by Stefan Mitrović. His bullet header hit the inside of the post but ricocheted off Jan Oblak, resulting in the opening goal.
Unfortunately for the home crowd, on the 74th minute came a decisive moment. Carlos Aleñá was sent off, and just 4 minutes later, el Pistolero, Luis Suárez, scored. Getting on the end of Mario Hermoso's cross, the Uruguayan took one touch and smashed it past a helpless David Soria.
Atleti have a knack for leaving it late. Just a few weeks since Thomas Lemar scored the latest ever winning goal in La Liga (90+9), Atleti scored two in the final 15 minutes, with Luis Suárez striking again. His excellent header gave Los Rojiblancos all 3 points. Another late defeat for Getafe leaves them in 19th place.
El Tigre Defeats Los Leones.
After the drama of the above match, Rayo Vallecano continued their fairytale start to La Liga, which has left them in 4th place. At the mythical San Mamés, Rayo Vallecano faced Athletic Club. But it was the away side, Rayo Vallecano, who took an early lead when Álvaro García expertly chipped Unai Simón. Despite all the danger posed by Nico Williams, brother of fellow Athletic Club star Iñaki Williams, Athletic Club finally broke through thanks to a headed own goal from Pathé Cisse. Interestingly, the Basque club have benefitted from 3 own goals in 2021, the joint-most with Villareal (Opta). But it was Rayo Vallecano who'd have the last laugh. Radamel Falcao, el Tigre, headed home a free kick in 90+5 to secure all 3 points for the Madrilenian side.
This season La Liga has more drama than Downton Abbey. With late goals a theme of the season, it remains to be seen whether this can be continued. So far, this week has served us up 4 games, 3 of which have been decided after the 85th minute. With big games such as Sevilla FC against Valencia CF and FCB facing a tough trip to play Atlético de Madrid, La Liga president Javier Tebas will be hoping for more drama.