5 things to know about Spanish league

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 24, 2014 at 5:02 am •  Published: March 24, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — Barcelona's memorable — and wild — 4-3 victory at Real Madrid pushed Atletico Madrid right to the top of the Spanish league standings.

While Atletico and Real Madrid both have 70 points, Atletico's better head-to-head record against its neighbor puts it in front with nine matches remaining. Barcelona is just behind with 69 points.

All three teams will have little time to reflect on the weekend with a short turnaround into midweek games, when Madrid will be looking to bounce back from the stinging loss.

Here are five things to know about this week's Spanish league games:

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SOUR GRAPES

Cristiano Ronaldo made no attempt to hide his feelings after the 4-3 loss to Barcelona saw Madrid concede two contentious penalties.

"Madrid is the biggest club in the world and that creates a lot of jealousy in people, and they don't want us to win the league," Ronaldo said. "The referee wasn't adequate for a game like this one. He couldn't make the correct decisions, he was nervous."

The pulsating pace produced a number of incidents in the emotional contest, with Cesc Fabregas and Pepe squaring up to each other and Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets subsequently dragging his boot over Pepe's head as he lay on the ground.

Sergio Ramos, who also complained of referee bias, will miss Wednesday's match at Sevilla after being red-carded against Barcelona.

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MESSI MAGIC

Lionel Messi's 26th career hat trick guided Barcelona to victory over Madrid and moved him into second place in Spanish league goals with 236, trailing only Telmo Zarra's record total of 251.

The Argentina forward became the all-time leader in goals scored in the Barcelona-Madrid rivalry — 21 — and became the first player since Ferenc Puskas in 1963 to score an away hat trick against Madrid.

"We're close to the leader, now we just have to keep playing this way right up until the last game," Messi said. "There are few matches left and we can't afford to commit any more errors."



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