Real Madrid looked like they would have the league seeded before the World Cup kicked off at one point on Saturday, but Robert Lewandowski didn’t move to Spain for ham and generous breathing measures.
His goal and Girona’s superb performance at the Santiago Bernabeu means there is only one point at the top.
Atletico, meanwhile, slip away and were undone by another late, late moment of drama that went against them.
We also saw Raphinha roused and Romeu ruling the roost. And it was a first ever red card for a player who came close to ending his career without one.
Sportsmail sums up everything we learned from another round of pulsating LaLiga action.
Robert Lewandowski’s stoppage-time winner moved Barcelona just a point off the top
A weekend is a long time in La Liga
By 11pm local time on Saturday night, Xavi was in a bad place – his side were working on a draw away to Valencia and defenders Eric Garcia and Jules Konde had both gone off injured.
Then it took a turn for the better. First, Robert Lewandowski scored his 18th goal of the season for Barcelona to win the game. Then on Sunday, Real Madrid dropped two points against Girona. So Xavi is back to being a point behind Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Then came word that Konde and Garcia should be fit next weekend, good news with Andreas Christensen and Ronald Araujo both out.
Xavi had plenty of reasons to be worried as the match against Valencia drew to a close
But their late winner combined with Real Madrid dropping points made it a positive weekend
Feed the man who replaced the GOAT and he will score
Not quite as catchy as the song Manchester City fans used to sing about Shaun Goater, but it fits Robert Lewandowski.
Replacing Messi is hard enough but he needs service. He got three decent passes Saturday night and buried the third.
He has scored 18 goals now in a team that has often not played well, imagine what he can do if they start to perform.
Lewandowski didn’t get much service but took his chance in the win against Valencia
Raphinha is ready for battle
It has been a slow start for the former Leeds winger, but it was his late cross for Lewandowski to score Barcelona’s winner and it was his best moment yet for his new club.
A poor game from Ousmane Dembele and the Brazilian’s assists could move him ahead of the Frenchman in Xavi’s mindset – it’s a long season and it’s how it ends for Raphinha, not how it started that counts.
Raphinha had his best game so far for Barcelona since his £55m move from Leeds last summer
It’s never too late to start getting deported
After 740 games, Toni Kroos was finally sent off on Sunday afternoon in Madrid’s draw with Girona.
Kroos often finishes the game without even knowing who the referee was, but he saw plenty of him on Sunday.
He deserved his red too. Two definite yellows and the first meant that Yan Couto had to be taken off injured.
Toni Kroos received the first red card of his legendary career in Real Madrid’s draw against Girona
Kroos wasn’t happy but the German midfielder couldn’t complain much about his two yellows
VAR is more trouble than it’s worth
Girona’s equalizing penalty came from a handball that never went. The ball hits Marco Asensio in the chest and then perhaps touches his right arm, which is close to the body.
He makes a strange ‘unnatural’ movement with his left arm but the ball bounces straight out and not at an angle like it would have if it had touched his left arm.
The point is not that Madrid was robbed, but that VAR sticks its nose in where it is not needed.
But by Monday morning, video and still images from various angles cast doubt. And there is an angle that makes the incident look like a punishment.
If there is still doubt after 12 hours and a thousand replays, why not just go with the referee’s first decision and continue with the game?
Girona were awarded a penalty for a handball by midfielder Marco Asensio that never came
The VAR decision led to Cristhian Stuani scoring past Thibaut Courtois to equalise
Oriol Romeu better than Busquets
It is only right that we call it the “Busquets role” after so many years when he has been perfect at playing it.
But right now there are several midfielders who are doing better and the former Southampton midfielder is one of them in Girona.
He wasn’t the only bright spark on display as the Catalan side matched Madrid pass for pass, but he looks like one of the smartest signings of the season.
Oriol Romeu performs the role of Sergio Busquets better than the Barcelona veteran himself
The new manager bounce doesn’t last long if the ball is flat
Sevilla is the flat ball here.
When Jorge Sampaoli replaced Julen Lopetegui there were reactions in the coming games and some jumped to the hasty conclusion that the season was saved.
They lost at home at the weekend and it’s now one win, two draws and two losses in his first five games. Little has actually changed.
Little has changed at Sevilla since Jorge Sampaoli replaced Julen Lopetegui as coach
Sevilla lost 1-0 against Rayo Vallecano after Alvaro Garcia Rivera’s goal in the 61st minute
Don’t talk to Diego Simeone about late drama
Last Wednesday night in Europe, his side crashed out of the Champions League as Yannick Carrasco had a penalty saved against Bayer Leverkusen after 99 minutes.
Fast forward to Saturday, his side lost 3-2 to Cadiz as Ruben Sobrino scored a 98th-minute winner.
Diego Simeone will be sick of drama after his side conceded a late goal to lose 3-2 at Cadiz – just days after they crashed out of the Champions League following a late missed penalty
Joao Felix bites back
Left out of the starting eleven by Diego Simeone for nine consecutive games, Joao Felix came off the bench to score twice on Saturday.
He was probably lucky to be credited with the first, which was the deflection his volley took off Luis Hernandez, but there was no doubting the brilliant second.
He had wanted to take the penalty that Carrasco missed three days before but had been denied. Should he now start demanding responsibility? Saturday suggested the answer is yes.
Joao Felix proved a point for Simeone when he scored twice off the bench for Atletico Madrid
Atletico cannot defend without Simeone’s favorite double act
When Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic are paired in the center of defence, Atletico are difficult to score against – conceding just five goals in their last seven together.
When one of them is missing, it’s much easier – five conceded in two games. Theo Bongonda scored against them after just 27 seconds on Saturday.
It may not help that Simeone switches to three centre-backs when he is missing one of his two favourites. It gives him the quantity but not the quality.
Atletico Madrid are harder to score against when they have Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic
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