A funny thing happened to Atletico Madrid after millions of fans worldwide watched Barcelona and Real Madrid battle to a 2-2 draw in El Clasico on Sunday.
The team moved into a first-place tie in Spain's La Liga with a 2-1 triumph over Malaga at Vicente Calderon. Both teams have 6-0-1 records and 19 points.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao continued his torrid pace to the season, scoring the first goal an playing a key role in the second.
Falcao tallied his 11th goal of the season in the sixth minute. After Paraguayan Roque Santa Cruz, on loan from Manchester City, equalized with a superb header for Malaga in the 36th minute, the Colombian again caused problems for the opposition, even though he was not credited with the goal. Falcao produced severe pressure on Weligton, who scored an own goal in stoppage time to secure the win.
A couple of hours earlier, Barca had its six-game league winning streak snapped in a scoring duel between two of the world's best players. Argentine international Lionel Messi and Real's Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal each finished with a brace.
The major drawback of the “El Clasico” match was fear that star Ronaldo, who awkwardly fell on his shoulder after attempting a bicycle kick midway through the second half, would not be able to join the Portugal squad in preparing for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Luckily, Real Madrid announced Monday that, "Cristiano Ronaldo will today join the rest of the Portugal squad," ESPN reported.
"Real Madrid have already informed the Portuguese Football Federation that Cristiano Ronaldo will join their national team squad today in Obidos. Once there, the Whites' player will be kept under observation and will have no problem in playing on Friday in Moscow for Portugal against Russia in the World Cup 2014 qualifier."
The Uruguayan did not help Español's cause in its 1-1 draw at Real Valladolid as he was red carded in the 45th minute. Teammate Joan Verdu converted a penalty kick in the 70th minute before Oscar equalized 12 minutes later.
Fernando Torres, Juan Mata
The Spanish internationals played vital roles for Chelsea in its 4-1 win over Norwich City as the London-based side enjoyed its best start to a season since 2005-2006, taking a four-point lead in the English Premier League. After Grant Holt gave Norwich the lead, Torres equalized in the 14th minute. Mata set up Eden Hazard (31st minute) and Branislav Ivanovo (76th minute).
Aguero came off the bench to help Manchester City move into a second-place tie with rival Manchester United behind a 3-0 victory over Sunderland. The Argentine tallied in the 60th minute to give City a 2-0 advantage.
Chicharito did not get off the bench in Manchester United's 3-0 away win over Newcastle United. He is expected to see some action in Mexico's World Cup qualifiers against Guyana on Friday and El Salvador on Oct. 16.
Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso, Diego Milito
Argentines Samuel and Cambiasso combined to score in the fourth minute to give 10-man Inter its 50th derby win over A.C. Milan, a 1-0 triumph at San Siro. Cambiasso sent a free kick from the left flank that a diving Samuel put home. Yet another Argentine, Milito, had two chances to equalize, but failed to do so.
Jorquero, a Chilean, sent a volleyed cross to Marco Borriello, scored Genoa's lone goal in the 52nd minute in its 1-1 tie with Palermo.
The Argentinean goalkeeper made the worst blunder at the very worst time for Sampdoria in its 2-1 loss to Chievo. He allowed David Di Michele's rather ordinary cross slip through his fingers for the winning goal in the 87th minute. "Before his final mistake, which can happen, Romero had played a good match," Sampdoria manager Ciro Ferrara said.
The Argentine midfielder found the back of the net in the 30th minute to start AS Roma to a 2-0 win over Atalanta. He put in a chipped pass from Francesco Totti.
Sanchez, a Colombian, scored in the 15th minute to give Valenciennes a 2-0 lead in what turned into a 2-2 draw at Toulouse.
The Peruvian striker scored for Schalke in its 3-0 victory over Wolfsburg. Schalke climbed into third place.
The Venezuelan connected on a brilliant, 30-yard goal in the eighth minute for Borussia Moenchengladbach in its 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Maxi Periera, Rodrigo
Pereira started Benfica back from a 1-0 deficit en route to a 2-1 home win over Beira Mar. The Uruguayan right back scored off a bicycle kick before Spanish striker Rodrigo made up for a missed penalty kick by scoring the game-winner.
Jackson Martinez, James Rodriguez
The Colombians combined to give Porto a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon. Martinez scored what was described as a wonder goal as he lobbed goalkeeper Patricio with a beautiful, back-heel shot off the volley in the 10th minute. Rodriguez doubled the lead on Rodriguez's score in the 84th minute.
Osorio, a Colombian, recorded a brace for San Martin San Juan in its 2-1 home win over All Boys.
Espinolda, an Argentine, tallied twice within a three-minute span to lift Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 comeback victory over the host LA Galaxy. After Robbie Keane gave LA a 1-0 lead, Espindola struck back in the 25th and 28th minutes.
The Colombian forward scored one goal and played a role in an own goal in the Seattle Sounders' 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers in front o 66,452, the second largest stand-alone crowd in MLS history.
The Panamanian striker warmed up for World Cup qualifying by scoring in FC Dallas' 1-1 road draw with Chivas USA.
Michael Lewis, who has written about soccer for four decades, is the only journalist who has covered every MLS Cup. He can be reached at SoccerWriter516@aol.com or via Twitter at @soccerwriter.
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