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La Liga Weekly: Real Madrid put five past Valencia, Barcelona made to struggle by Alaves, Girona stay top

It was another enthralling week of football in La Liga, as Girona continued their fairytale start to the season to remain at the summit.

Here’s a look at everything that went down on Matchday 13:

Real Madrid thrash Valencia despite missing stars

Carlo Ancelotti was without Jude Bellingham and Aurelien Tchouameni for the clash against Valencia on Saturday night, but Real Madrid had no trouble dispatching Valencia.

The 5-1 scoreline was not a fair reflection of a game that was evenly contested for large parts, as both sides had ten or more shots on goal.

Madrid only had an xG (Expected Goals) number of 1.75, against Valencia’s 1.71. This was an indicator of how clinical they were with the chances that presented themselves.

Dani Carvajal opened the scoring in the third minute, controlling a long ball from Toni Kroos before lashing in a left-footed volley at the near post.

Andrey Lunin started in goal for Madrid, with Thibaut Courtois and Kepa Arrizabalaga injured. The Ukrainian made two important saves to keep his team ahead, denying Hugo Duro on both occasions.

The lead was doubled on the cusp of half-time when Vinicius Jr used his chest to deflect a cross into the back of the net. The Brazilian made it a brace on the other side of the break with a low drive from outside the box.

Rodrygo then seized upon an errant pass from Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili before finishing with aplomb.

The striker then got his second with six minutes remaining.

Valencia got a consolation goal after 88 minutes when Duro finally found a way past Lunin, poking in a cross from Hugo Gonzalez.

Barcelona brush off early scare to beat Alaves

Barcelona needed to script a second-half turnaround to beat Deportivo Alaves 2-1 at the Olimpic Stadium on Sunday.

The visitors struck with the first attack of the game, as Javi Lopez’s cross from the left was bundled home by Samu Omorodion.

The teenage striker could have had a hat-trick in the first half, as he used his raw strength and pace to get a clear shot at goal. However, he failed to take his chances.

The Spaniard is one to watch out for in the future, but he needs to work on his finishing.

Not for the first time this season, Barcelona got a goal from almost nothing. Jules Kounde crossed from the right, and Robert Lewandowski got ahead of his man before heading the ball perfectly into the far corner.

Barcelona were now pushing for the winner, but Antonio Sivera was standing firm in the Alaves goal.

The breakthrough came with 12 minutes left to play when Abdel Abqar brought down Ferran Torres in the box. Lewandowski sent Sivera the wrong way to make it 2-1.

Alaves had some half-chances in the little time that remained, but they didn’t trouble Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Girona make it five wins in a row

Girona remain at the summit for the second consecutive week, as they showed character to beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 away from home on Saturday.

After coming back from a goal down to beat Osasuna 4-2 last weekend, Michel’s men found themselves digging deep again at the Estadio de Vallecas.

Alvaro Garcia gave the home side the lead inside the first five minutes, but Artem Dovbyk levelled for Girona before the break.

The winner came in the 65th minute when Dovbyk’s effort was saved by Stole Dimitrievski, but Savio was on hand to poke in the rebound.

Girona have won every game since their 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on September 30 and are currently two points clear at the top.

Celta Vigo let leads slip twice to lose a seven-goal thriller at Athletic Bilbao

Celta Vigo’s quest for a win goes on, as they came out on the wrong side of a 4-3 scoreline at Athletic Bilbao on Friday night.

Iago Aspas gave Rafa Benitez’s men the lead in the 25th minute before Oihan Sancet levelled things up for the hosts 12 minutes later.

Jonathan Bamba made it 2-1 to Celta four minutes before the break. Gorka Guruzeta equalised in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Guruzeta got his brace six minutes into the second half to give Bilbao the lead for the first time.

Jorgen Strand Larsen’s 66th-minute goal looked to be the final act of a thrilling encounter.

However, a handball in the box gave Bilbao a late penalty, which was duly converted by Alex Berenguer to give his side three points with almost the last kick of the game.

Around the grounds

Atletico Madrid bounced back from their loss to Las Palmas last weekend with a 3-1 home win over Villarreal on Sunday.

Gerard Moreno gave the away side the lead after 20 minutes before Axel Witsel equalised on the brink of half-time. Goals in the last 10 minutes from Antoine Griezmann and Samuel Lino sealed the points for Diego Simeone’s side.

Bottom side Almeria have now lost five league games in a row, as they succumbed to a late onslaught by Real Sociedad.

In a game where all the goals came in the second half, Sergio Arribas had cancelled out Mikel Oyarzabal’s opener for Sociedad.

La Real had the final say as two goals in injury-time from Carlos Fernandez and Martin Zubimendi sealed a 3-1 win.

Granada vs Getafe, Osasuna vs Las Palmas and Sevilla vs Real Betis all ended in 1-1 draws.

Player of the week

The player of the week for Gameweek 13 is Rodrygo, who bagged two goals and two assists as Madrid romped to a 5-1 victory against Valencia.

Looking ahead

Girona have a tough test after the international break as they host Bilbao.

Barcelona travel to Vallecano, while Atletico host Mallorca. Madrid resume their season with a trip to Cadiz.

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