There have been some nail-biters, some goal-fests and plenty of excitement that one could reminisce at the end of another thrilling year of La Liga action.
Before hoping that 2019 gifts us with more of the same or maybe even better games, we take a look at five of the best games of the season.
SEVILLA 3-5 REAL BETIS
There’s nothing better than an eight-goal thriller in which the underdogs prevail despite playing away from home. More so when it is a derby and the away team had not won a league game at that stadium for over a decade.
This was exactly what happened in the Seville Derby in one of the first games of 2018.
Fabian Ruiz opened the scoring in the first minute after his shot from distance got the better of Sergio Rico. The hosts responded with a clever finish from Wissam Ben Yedder.
Zouhair Feddal made it 2-1 in the visitors favour but their joy was short-lived as Simon Kjaer equalised well before half-time.
Riza Durmisi and Sergio Leon scored in quick succession after the hour mark, but Clement Lenglet pulled one back for the hosts immediately.
With all men driving forward in the last moments of the game, Sevilla’s vulnerability on the counter was exploited by Cristian Tello and the game finished 3-5 in favour of Real Betis.
LEVANTE 5-4 BARCELONA
Ernesto Valverde was on the verge of creating history by becoming the first manager to go unbeaten in the entire season.
However, a defeat to Levante away from home in the penultimate fixture prevented Valverde from achieving this unique record.
Emmanuel Boateng scored a brace in the first 30 minutes but Barcelona replied through Coutinho before going into the break with a one goal disadvantage.
Enir Bardhi netted Levante’s third in the first minute of the second half and Boateng completed his hat-trick immediately. Bardhi then made it 4-1 in the 56th minute and the hosts were all set to be the first team to inflict a defeat on Barcelona.
However, an attempt at a come-back was initiated, with Coutinho leading the charge from long term. The Brazilian completed his hat-trick after netting twice in five minutes. A Luis Suarez penalty in the 71st minute raised the optimism levels of all the Barcelona fans across the world, but Levante held on to end Barcelona’s invincibility.
BARCELONA 3-4 REAL BETIS
This was a very special game for the Cruyffista in Real Betis boss Quique Setien as he watched his team dismantle Barcelona using their philosophy and in their hunting ground.
The former Las Palmas boss employed a Juego de posicion system to slit a hole in Barcelona’s granite-like defence.
Junior Firpo and Joaquin scored in the first half to give the visitors a 2-0 lead going into the break.
Lionel Messi stepped up to score from the spot early in the second half before Giovani Lo Celso made it 3-1 following a howler from Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
Arturo Vidal pulled one back with 11 minutes of normal remaining and the game was surely heading for a nail-biting finish.
Sergio Canales restored the two-goal lead in the 83rd minute, but Messi’s neat finish in injury time proved to be in vain as Betis walked away with all three points that night.
This tremendous performance by the visitors also made a case for why Setien should succeed Valverde as Barcelona boss.
REAL BETIS 3-3 CELTA VIGO
It’s no surprise that Real Betis feature in this list so frequently. Their high-line of defence and a free-flowing attack promises a goal-fest on either side of the pitch.
In arguably the best game of the season so far, Betis and Celta Vigo played out a 3-3 draw at the Villamarin.
Loren Moron scored in the first half to give the hosts the lead and Firpo doubled their advantage early in the second half. Maxi Gomez led Celta Vigo’s comeback and the elusive Brais Mendez went on to equalise in the 69th minute.
The former handed the visitors the lead late in the second half, only for Sergio Canales to restore parity.
The 3-3 scoreline was a fair representation of the performances by both teams.
BARCELONA 2-2 REAL MADRID
The list is rounded off with one of the most evenly contested El Clasicos of recent times.
The significance of this game was huge, mainly due to the fact that Los Blancos were touted to be La Liga’s best bet at ending Barcelona’s invincibility. But the visitors were by far the better side for most parts of the game.
Suarez opened the scoring after ten minutes after Sergi Roberto found the Uruguayan with a pin-point cross following a quick counter. The lead lasted for just four minutes though as Cristiano Ronaldo scored from close range to level proceedings.
Roberto was sent off just before half-time for violent conduct against Marcelo, handing the visitors a huge advantage for the second half.
However, it was Barcelona who scored first after the restart, as Messi stamped his name on the score-sheet of yet another Clasico with a fine finish.
Gareth Bale scored a stunner from long range to equalise and the game ended 2-2.
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