La Liga returned this weekend with lots of emotions, goals and red cards. Barcelona new wonderboy shined, Real Madrid survived to the plague of injuries and Atletico Madrid ended their perfect streak.
There is much more to talk about though!
Barcelona hit 5 against Valencia
Barcelona recovered from their draw against Osasuna last weekend and they did it in style.
After firing the coach Marcelino Toral, things got off to an atrocious start for new Valencia coach Albert Celades. Barcelona took a second-minute lead through full debutant Ansu Fati, who is just 16 years old.
The Guinea Bissau born youngster confidently finished Frenkie De Jong’s square ball. Five minutes later the same duo combined with Fati cutting back to De Jong and the former Ajax man slammed into the roof of the net for 2-0.
Valencia was facing a potential drubbing but pulled a goal back on 27. Kevin Gameiro timing his run to perfection to collect Rodrigo’s through ball before coolly netting.
Shortly after half time, the hosts restored their two-goal advantage though and it was through an error from their former stopper Jasper Cillensen. Antoine Griezmann hit a low effort from 18 yards, which Cillensen failed to deal with and Gerard Pique profited to make it 3-1.
Substitute Luis Suarez netted a brace with goals in the 61st and 82nd minute to make the result safe; both strikes whipped low into the bottom left corner.
Maxi Gomez netted a late consolation for Valencia when he turned in Denis Cheryshev’s cross in injury time but the terraces will be full of chatter about the young star Fati.
Real stutter to win over Levante
Real Madrid eased into a three-goal lead against Levante. Their vulnerability was exposed again as the visitors fought back to make for a nervy ending.
Real took the lead on 25 when Karim Benzema got between two defenders, nodding home a pinpoint delivery from Dani Carvajal. Six minutes later Benzema doubled his and Real’s tally stroking the ball past Aitor Fernandez. James Rodriguez, returning from injury, made the assist.
On 40 minute, Casemiro seemingly made the second half a walk in the park when he met Vinicius Junior’s pass from the right.
Just four minutes after the restart, though, Borja Mayoral, a Real loanee, beat Thibaut Courtois to give Levante a lifeline. Real had the ball in the net again following a goalmouth scramble but it was ruled out by VAR.
On the 75 minutes, Gonzalo Melero headed in Levante’s second goal. Despite an ever-growing uncertainty in the stands Real got over the line for a vital three points.
Another piece of good news for Zinedine Zidane was the debut of a now injury-free but clearly lacking sharpness Eden Hazard.
However, the Real Madrid injury plague isn’t over, as Marcelo is another one in the medical sheet. He was not called for the game against PSG, for Champions League this Wednesday.
Sociedad end Atletico’s perfect start
Atletico Madrid were the first visitors to the refurbished Anoeta Stadium. However, their hosts, Real Sociedad, looked the hungrier of the sides but with neither creating much in the first 45 minutes.
That changed after the break though and on 58 Sociedad took the lead as Martin Odegaard’s effort deflected off on Jan Oblak to give the home team the lead.
Just two minutes later, Odegaard was involved again, delivering a wide free-kick to the back stick. Alexander Isak won a header, that Oblak failed to gather and debutant Nacho Monreal made it 2-0.
Atletico rallied but Miguel Moya was equal to their efforts and they lose the first points of the season.
Joao Felix, new wonderkid of Simeone’s side, was quite shadowed by Sociedad’s solid defense. He left in the early minutes of the second half.
Also, Oblak suffered a facial injury after the second goal conceded. He is still in doubt for tomorrow’s game against Juventus, for Champions League group stages.
Granada continue terrific start
Celta Vigo hosted Granada in what began as an evenly contested affair. This was until Jorge and Fran Beltran received their marching orders – for separate offenses. It would leave Celta with nine men, with only 29 minutes on the clock.
Celta looked set to get to the break with a 0-0 score line in tact but a bullet header from German Sanchez in added time saw Granada get their noses in front.
On 54 Yangel Herrera effectively ended the contest when he found the back of the net via the crossbar from 25 yards with a thunderous strike. Celta huffed and puffed until the final whistle but, in truth, it was all too easy for Granada.
Granada was promoted this season and they have 7 points in 4 games. Meanwhile, Celta has only 4 and is already in the bottom half of La Liga table.
Lopetegui’s Sevilla on top of the table
Many doubted on Lopetegui’s abilities to guide Sevilla, due to his failures in Real Madrid and Porto. However, the Spanish coach is having the best start he could imagine.
Sevilla visited Alaves on Sunday and on the 37 minute Joan Jordan found the back of the net. He lined up a free-kick 20 yards out and left Fernando Flores rooted to the spot in the Alaves net. A tremendous dipping hit that nestled into the top left corner.
Lucas Ocampos went close to doubling Sevilla’s lead but his low drive hit the outside of the post. Ultimately, it didn’t matter as Alaves never looked like getting back into the game after falling behind.
The match ended 0-1 and Sevilla has now 10 points in 4 games. They are isolated in the 1st position, ahead of Atletico. However, a trip to Azerbaijan on Thursday, for a Europa League clash against Qarabag, might test the players’ fatigue.
Getafe draw against 9-men Betis
Getafe made the trip to face Real Betis looking for their first win of the season. Things were looking good, especially when the lively Marc Cucurella was bundled over in the area.
Jaime Mata dispatched the resultant spot-kick for a 15th-minute lead. Things went from bad to worse for Betis. On 25 when Portugal international, William Carvalho, was shown a straight red. A lunging tackle on Mauro Arambarri left the ref with no doubts.
Getafe failed to capitalize on the man advantage though and paid the price. Djene Dakonam clumsily tripped Nabil Fekir in the box. Joaquin Sanchez confidently rolled home to level with 15 minutes remaining.
Goalmouth action was limited after the equalizer. Still, there was one moment of note left to unfold. Betis forward Loren lashed out at Damian Suarez and was subsequently red-carded too.
Betis still has only one win and has failed to impress, especially after their Summer spending. Getafe after impressing last season, can’t get a win at the start of their La Liga campaign: 3 draws, 1 loss.
Leganes thrashed at home and still pointless
4 games and not a single point for Leganes. They were beaten by Villarreal on Saturday, which means the home side are still after their first point of the campaign.
Leganes made a reasonable start offensively. Still, the experience of Santi Cazorla ruthlessly picked them off at the back. He chipped over the defense for the unmarked Moreno who took a touch before planting a half volley into the top corner.
Another one to continue his strong start to the season. Gerard Moreno has 5 goals in 4 games and leads the La Liga top scorers.
On 40 Leganes’ task became harder as Jonathan Silva inadvertently turned into his own net to give Villarreal a 2-0 lead. Despite a quiet second half, Moreno rubbed more salt in the Leganes wounds with a deflected injury-time third to secure Villarreal’s first win.
Bilbao remain unbeaten with a draw at Mallorca
Friday night’s game saw Athletic Bilbao travel to the Iberostar Stadium to take on promoted side Mallorca. It was a drab affair – at least until the final 10 minutes when the match burst into life.
On 86 Real Madrid loanee, Takefusa Kubo, was tripped in the box, but Mallorca failed to capitalize. Abdon dragged his spot kick well wide.
The visitors were then awarded a penalty of their own after an on-field review. The delay seemed to put Aritz Aduriz off though and, by the time he took the 96th-minute kick, it was saved easily by Manolo Reina.
There was still time for more drama at the other end though. Mallorca thought they’d nicked the points when Alex Alegria headed in Salva Sevilla’s free-kick. The referee consulted VAR and it was rightly ruled out for offside.
With this result, Bilbao sits 4th, one point above Barcelona. Meanwhile, Mallorca added another point to keep dreaming of another season of La Liga football.
Espanyol come from behind to win at Eibar
Eibar and Espanyol both came into this fixture looking for their first wins of the season. When Ivan Ramis headed Fabian Orellana’s left-sided free-kick into the far corner, things looked set for Eibar. There was just 30 minutes remaining and Espanyol had yet to notch in their three prior matches.
Espanyol had other ideas though and two goals in as many minutes flipped the game on it’s head. First, Facundo Ferreyra raced onto a lofted ball over the top and beat Marko Dmitrovic to level.
Then the Eibar keeper was picking a second Espanyol goal from his net after Esteban Graneros’ close-range finish. Adria Perdosa raced away from his marker to set the opportunity up.
Espanyol would have been delighted with the turnaround. However, a late red card – for two bookable offenses – shown to Naldo will be a frustration.
The Catalan side plays again midweek. They host Hungarian side Ferencvaros this Thursday, for Europa League.
Valladolid and Osasuna share the spoils
Osasuna traveled to the Estadio Jose Zorrilla and Real Valladolid were lucky to survive. The visitors twice hit the upright but despite having the better of the match a sublime 35-yard free-kick by Pablo Hervias beat Ruben Martinez, giving Valladolid a 65th-minute lead.
Osasuna was not going to be beaten though. On 81, after busting a gut to get in the box, Roger Ibanez bundled in the leveler following a smart ball from Chimy Avila.
Avila himself had a chance to win the game but was thwarted by Jordi Masip.
Osasuna has yet to lose a match. They have 3 draws and 1 win, with only 3 goals conceded in 4 matches.
This week Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico and Valencia play Champions League. Meanwhile, Espanyol, Sevilla, and Getafe play Europa League on Thursday.
Stay tuned for next week of La Liga schedule, when Real Madrid visits Sevilla and Barcelona travels faces 6th placed Granada.