Four of Spanish Football's La Liga teams were in Champions League action over the past 24 hours as Atletico Madrid hosted Portugal's Porto and Barcelona FC visited Scotland's Celtic yesterday, while today Germany's Bayer Leverkusen hosted Real Sociedad and Real Madrid hosted Danish side FC Copenhagen.
Atletico Mardrid 2, Porto 1
Atletico played a hard fought game against a wily opponent who played them even and were unlucky to leave without a point. It was Porto who opened the scoring and it took a late bit of free-kick trickery and a obvious off-sides not being called for the Madrid side to sneak away with the win (http://bit.ly/19hcM3W).
Barcelona 1, Celtic 0
Barcelona, playing without the injured Lionel Messi, had their hands full with a determined and hard tackling Celtic who played with eleven behind well the ball but created a few chances that were easier to convert than to mess up. Nevertheless it was the newest Catalan signing, Neymar, who took the team on his shoulders and produced a series of imaginative moves, shots, and passes that culminated in the win. The Daily Mail Online (UK) had this take on the match (http://dailym.ai/1dUFZB0).
Unfortunately, the poor officiating again intervened as a particularly lax ref allowed much too rough a match to develop and it reached its predictable conclusion when Celtic captain Scott Brown was unsatisfied with bringing his game-long tormentor, Neymar, down with a yellow card worthy clip and push, but had to kick the prone Barca striker to boot. With that bit of officiating finally handled, an earned red card actually given, the game settled into a tougher contest but with, surprisingly, or not, more football.
It was, finally, a beautiful Neymar through ball that reached Alexis Sanchez on the right wing that got things started on the consecutive pass play. The Brazilian's service found the Chilean with so much time to cross Alexis actually set himself up twice before lofting a perfect pass to Cesc Fabregas for an across-goal header and the winning score (whttp://bit.ly/19fHv1i).
Bayer Leverkusen 2, Real Sociedad 1
This match had a lot of action and three well spaced goals that ensured drama throughout the 90+ minutes. Leverkusen opened the scoring at the 45+ with a tap in off of a spilled save forced by a spectacular free-kick cross and header. La Real tied six minutes into the second half by rebounding a saved penalty (which was followed by a red card tackle that the ref somehow missed), and it took another added time tally, a spectacular long-range free-kick by Levrkusen's Jens Hegeler, to settle the match (http://bit.ly/18QjPyA).
Real Madrid 4, FC Copenhagen 0
Real Madrid needed to rebound after their loss at home to Atletico Madrid and the Danish minnows were just the tonic. It took only twenty minutes for Cristiano Ronaldo to advance his Champions League tally to lead the scorer's table and he ended up with a brace for the evening. But it was Angel di Maria's evening and his wicked-tricky cross to a streaking Ronaldo for the Portuguese second goal that will make everyone's highlight reel. Nevertheless, the Argentine midfielder followed that bit of magic and an evening of marvelous playing by scoring another spectacular run and gun, using Ronaldo as a pick at the top of the box, for a glorious goal (http://bit.ly/1f0ZHOm).