2021-22 La Liga week 17 recap

It is the penultimate week before the 2021-22 La Liga season takes its holiday break. Here is our recap of three matches from week 17.

Real Madrid win first derby meeting this season against Atleti

Real Madrid took a firmer hold of the top spot in the league table after a 2-0 win over city rivals and reigning champions Atlético Madrid.

The first encounter between the two recent league titleholders saw Carlo Ancelotti’s wards finding the net in both halves for their 90th league win in 169 editions of the Madrid derby, stretching their unbeaten run to nine matches and moving to 42 points on top of the pile.

Vini Jr played a pivotal role in the match, supplying assists to Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio. Former Atleti shotstopper Thibaut Courtois picked up his sixth clean sheet of the season.

The French striker slotted home the volley from the Brazilian to put the home side ahead at the 16th minute. Asensio then ensured all three points at the 57th minute with a sublime left-footed finish.

Atlético de Madrid suffered back-to-back defeats after a six-match unbeaten run. They remain stuck at fourth with 29 points with a match on hand. They will take a four-day away trip to Sevilla and then Granada just before Christmas.

For Real, they will host Cádiz at the Bernabéu on December 20 before heading to San Mamés three days later to face Athletic Bilbao.

Ávila saves the day for Osasuna

Chimy Ávila of Osasuna netted a late equalizer to force a 2-2 draw between his club and Barcelona.

The Argentine forward fired an 86th-minute leveler as Xavi’s woes were compounded further after his team’s Champions League quest was prematurely ended.

The cagey affair had 32 fouls whistled equally between the pair. The home side had one more player booked than FC Barcelona.

The draw meant that Barça are back down at eighth with 24 points.

Nico put the Catalans ahead at the 12th minute. However, it was canceled out by David García two minutes later by heading a Jon Moncayola free kick.

Ez Abde retook the lead for his squad four minutes after the restart before Ávila took a low shot past Marc-André ter Stegen.

Granada snatch vital point off Cádiz

Jorge Molina scored the pivotal goal as Granada denied Cádiz their first home win of the season with a 1-1 draw.

The centre-forward silenced the Nuevo Mirandilla crowd, leveling the match two minutes before full time. This denied Cádiz CF their first full points at home, further grounding down at the relegation zone.

Paraguayan defender Santiago Arzamendia scored a left-footed strike at the 32nd minute. However, their defensive miscues from dead ball situations allowed the visitors a chance to share points in the process.

Molina made no mistake with his right-footed poke that deflected off Álex and into the bottom right corner.

Cádiz went a man down when Salvi was sent off by referee Miguel Ángel Ortiz deep into stoppage time, their quest to acquire maximum points at home getting delayed even further.

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JP Abcede is a veteran sportswriter who has covered football, basketball, pro wrestling, and other sports for a variety of publications. Aside from sports, he also likes music and reading.