By Rik Sharma
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona and Real Madrid weren’t in action after the Clasico was postponed and Granada took advantage to go top of La Liga with a 1-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday. Here are five talking points from the weekend’s action:
Promoted side Granada are surprise La Liga leaders after recording their fourth consecutive home win, beating Real Betis 1-0 thanks to Alvaro Vadillo’s goal.
The Andalusians have 20 points from 10 games ahead of four sides on 19 points, although Barcelona have a game in hand after the Clasico against Real Madrid was postponed.
When Granada were relegated from La Liga in 2016-17 they obtained a total of 20 points.
“It was a victory for the team and the club, I am very proud of these players,” said Granada coach Diego Martinez.
“We only see that we have 20 points. To have 20 points in 10 weeks is incredibly good, but we deserve it. We’ve worked so hard every day to have (this total).”
There were worries Atletico Madrid would be lost without injured record signing Joao Felix, but they assuaged those fears with a confident 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Felix signed from Benfica for 126 million euros ($139.81 million) in the close season, replacing Antoine Griezmann who joined Barcelona, but suffered an ankle injury which will sideline him for around a month.
However, despite being whistled by some fans in midweek against Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico earned back the support of the Wanda Metropolitano.
Saul Niguez and Alvaro Morata’s goals kept Diego Simeone’s side firmly in the title fight, with Angel Correa also impressing in Felix’s absence.
Real Sociedad earned a late 1-0 victory over 10-man Celta Vigo thanks to Alexander Isak’s 82nd minute goal.
The Swedish striker finished with aplomb after being set up by Norwegian team mate Martin Odegaard.
That Scandinavian connection has been an important part of the Basque side’s rise to third in the table, level with Barcelona, Atletico and Sevilla.
On-loan Odegaard has vindicated himself after struggling to make an impact at parent club Real Madrid, while Isak is starting to find his feet in the Spanish top flight.
“It’s nice to have someone I can speak Swedish to and that’s his first assist for me, hopefully more will come,” said Isak of his relationship with Odegaard.
Osasuna’s impressive 3-1 win over Valencia on Sunday takes the promoted side to eighth, and extended their long unbeaten run at El Sadar.
Last time they suffered defeat in Pamplona was on April 1, 2018, beaten by Tenerife, with this their 31st consecutive home league game without losing.
Barcelona, Real Sociedad and now Valencia, among others, have been unable to break that chain.
La Liga announced a new pink ball was going to be used from October 24 to February 23 and this weekend it was deployed.
The Puma creation, however, was not liked by both match going and television viewing supporters who claimed it was at times difficult to see.
Although no clubs officially complained, the ball will now no longer be selected apart from in extreme weather conditions.
($1 = 0.9012 euros)
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Christian Radnedge)