Barca beat Real Madrid in El Clasico; Valencia come from behind to beat Espanyol

Barcelona 2 – Real Madrid 0 (La Liga, December 13, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Barca began El Clasico on the attack, Lionel Messi forcing an early save from Casillas before Theirry Henry tried his luck from 25-yards a minute later. Real Madrid then found their feet with several good chances, Wesley Sneijder narrowly fired over the bar and Royston Drenthe did terribly when clean through on goal against Valdes. Barca hit back as Henry and Eto’o both tested Casillas without success. (Real Madrid’s first half chances can be seen here, first half highlights here.) Samuel Eto’o had a shot saved within 90 seconds of the restart, and Eto’o then flashed a volley narrowly wide as Barca cranked up the pressure. Iker Casillas pulled off a wondrous penalty save to deny Eto’o in the 70th minute, Casillas then saved brilliantly again to stop an Eto’o drive and Messi on the follow-up. Eventually Barca scored and the goal came from a basic corner, Puyol kept the ball in the box and Eto’o fired home to send the Nou Camp wild. And in injury time it was two, a quick breakaway freed Messi, who calmly lifted the ball over Casillas (and Cannavaro ran into the post).

Valencia 2 – Espanyol 1 (La Liga, December 13, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Slack defending from David Albelda gifted the ball to Espanyol’s Roman Martinez and the midfielder thrashed home a 25-yard beauty. The visitors lost Rufete in the 38th minute for his second bookable offence on his return to the Mestalla and Valencia made their extra man count after the break as Raul Albiol found the equaliser from a scrappy corner. Valencia stole all the points in the final ten minutes, an attack built up on the left and Vicente ran in to touch home the winner.

Albacete 2 – Real Sociedad 1 (Segunda Division, December 13, 2008)