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La Liga Roundup: Barca Loses, Falcao Injured, Real Romps
ESPN Soccernet, January 21st, 2013 1:18PM

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TAGS:  barcelona, real madrid, spain

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Barcelona suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, losing 3-2 away to Real Sociedad after taking a 2-0 lead. Lionel Messi and Pedro had given Barca a 2-0 first-half lead, only for Gonzalo Castro to hit back shortly before halftime. Barca defender Gerard Pique was sent off for a second yellow in the 56th minute, and five minutes later the host drew level through another strike from Castro. Substitute Imanol Agirretxe poked home the winner in the 90th minute. After the game, Messi said the Catalans were bound to lose a game eventually. It was the first time Barca had surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose since May 2008.

Atletico Madrid lost star striker Radamel Falcao for three weeks to hamstring injury during its 2-0 win at home to Levante on Sunday. Goals from Adrian and Koke sealed the victory for Los Colchoneros, but Falcao pulled up after sprinting for the ball in the 57th minute and was immediately substituted. After the game, coach Diego Simeone said the club needs striker Adrian to step up in Falcao’s absence. With Barca’s loss, Atletico managed to cut the deficit at the top to 8 points.

Real Madrid cruised to a 5-0 romp away to Valencia on Sunday. Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria each scored twice after Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring. Iker Casillas was back in goal for Los Blancos, selected ahead of Antonio Adan. Real coach Jose Mourinho had been critical of Di Maria’s performances prior to the game, and had chosen Adan ahead of Casillas over the past few games due to a drop in form from the Spain No. 1. The win cut the distance between third-place Real and first-place Barca to 15 points.

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