From a coaching change at Valencia CF to a long overdue, 10 things learned this week in LaLiga Santander
New Delhi: With transfer deadline day taking place at the beginning of the past week, ahead of an exciting LaLiga Santander Matchday 20, there were many interesting storylines to emerge from the world of Spanish football over the past seven days.
Alexander Sørloth wins the January Player of the Month award
The first LaLiga Santander Player of the Month award of 2023 has gone to Real Sociedad striker Alexander Sørloth. The Norwegian scored three times in his four appearances throughout January, including in his side’s 3-1 Basque Derby victory over local rivals Athletic Club. That saw him take the prize ahead of other high-performing candidates such as Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Karim Benzema and Joselu.
Elche CF secure their first win of the season
After going through the first half of the season without tasting victory, Elche CF then won their first match of the second half of the campaign, defeating Villarreal CF 3-1 at their Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero. Pere Milla was the hero as he netted a hat-trick, keeping his cool from the penalty spot twice. After such a long wait for a win, the fans celebrated this triumph over a regional rival in a big way.
RCD Mallorca’s defence shuts out Real Madrid
RCD Mallorca earned a famous 1-0 victory over Real Madrid on Sunday, with the islanders going ahead early on courtesy of a Nacho own goal and then holding on to that lead, helped by a Predrag Rajkovic save of a Marco Asensio penalty. Carlo Ancelotti had warned in his pre-match press conference that RCD Mallorca’s defence is very hard to break down and so it proved. Los Bermellones currently have the fifth best defensive record in the division.
Barca increase their lead at the top
After Real Madrid failed to pick up points in Mallorca, their title rivals FC Barcelona capitalised on that fact by defeating Sevilla FC 3-0 at the Spotify Camp Nou. It was a tougher game than the scoreline suggests, with second-half goals from Jordi Alba, Gavi and Raphinha earning the three points, which mean Barca currently boast an eight-point lead at the top of the table.
The Gattuso era is over at Valencia CF
With Valencia CF struggling to pick up points in LaLiga Santander, especially following the World Cup pause, the club parted ways with Gennaro Gattuso this past week. For now, he has been replaced by Voro, who becomes the caretaker coach of Los Che for the eighth time. The new boss has already overseen two matches and two defeats, as Valencia CF lost 2-0 at Real Madrid and 1-0 at Girona FC.
Larin can fire Real Valladolid to safety
Cyle Larin only signed for Real Valladolid on January 24, but already he has made a significant impact at the Pucela. The Canada international striker netted a late winner against Valencia CF in Matchday 19 and then, this past weekend, he headed in the only goal of an impressive 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad in Matchday 20. Those two goals have earned Real Valladolid four points, which is the gap they currently have over the relegation zone.
Marchesín will miss the rest of the season
There was some devastating injury news this past week in Vigo, as RC Celta’s starting goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín will miss the rest of the 2022/23 season after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in training. His teammates dedicated their impressive 4-3 victory over Real Betis to the Argentine, who now begins the recovery process.
Successful surgery for Paul Akouokou
There was concern at Real Betis when Paul Akouokou felt abdominal pain ahead of their match against RC Celta, and the club doctors discovered that he had acute appendicitis. The midfielder was taken to a local hospital in Seville and a successful surgery was carried out.
LaLiga Santander clubs make deadline day moves
Last Tuesday was deadline day of the January transfer market and several LaLiga Santander clubs made late acquisitions to bolster their squads for the final stretch of the season. Among the moves that stood out there was Atletico de Madrid’s signing of Matt Doherty, RC Celta’s capture of Haris Seferovic, RCD Espanyol’s swoop for Denis Suarez and Cadiz CF’s acquisition of forwards Chris Ramos and Sergi Guardiola.
Real Madrid will meet Al Ahly in the Club World Cup
As the reigning European champions, Real Madrid will be participating in the Club World Cup that is currently taking place in Morocco. They have now learned who they’ll face in the semi-final stage of the tournament, as they’ll take on Egyptian side Al Ahly on Wednesday, ahead of a potential final against Flamengo or Al Hilal.
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