Matchday 8 of La Liga had much to talk about. Real Madrid and Barcelona secured confident wins over tough opponents. Meanwhile, Atletico lost an opportunity to get closer to the top 2, by recording another stalemate result.
On other news, Leganes continues rock bottom and Real Sociedad was surprised at home by Getafe.
All this and much more in the matchday round-up.
Real Madrid 4 x 2 Granada
Granada traveled to the Bernabeu for a clash between first and second place. By the time the 90 minutes were up it was clear which side is currently punching above their weight.
Real Madrid might be struggling to make an impression in the Champions League group stages, but their form in the league keeps on a perfect streak. They survived Granada’s uproaring season start, who had already beaten Barcelona but were unable to stop Real’s attacking prowess.
There might be huge question marks over Zinedine Zidane’s men, after the midweek reception to Club Brugge. The atmosphere was eased on 2 when Gareth Bale produced an exquisite ball with the outside of his boot. Karim Benzema received it and slotted home from six yards.
The first goal for Eden Hazard
The remainder of the first half played out quietly. With seconds left on the clock Eden Hazard netted his first-ever goal for the club. His finish was one of the highest class.
Federico Valverde intercepted in the middle of the park and fed Hazard. He raced away from two defenders and delicately lifted the ball over the advancing Rui Silva for 2-0.
On the hour mark Real made it three with the pick of the goals. Luka Modric firing a thunderous 25-yard drive into Silva’s right-hand top corner.
Whilst the hosts should have been cruising to three points their soft underbelly was exposed by Granada. They bagged two goals in eight minutes to set the nerves jangling.
First, on 69 Darwin Machis beat Alphonse Areola with a clinically taken penalty after Areola caught Machis in the box. Then Domingos Duarte turned home from a corner.
With the dynamic of the game dramatically changed it felt like Granada could grab a remarkable point. However, in the 92nd minute James Rodriguez fired an Alvaro Odriozola cutback beyond Silva. He sent it into the net to put the game to bed.
Barcelona 4 x 0 Sevilla
The final game of the weekend saw Barcelona welcome Sevilla to the Camp Nou and the game was an intriguing affair. The visitors could have gone in front early on.
However, they didn’t take their chances and on 27 Luis Suarez made them pay.
Nelson Semedo stood up a cross and, although it was behind the Uruguayan, Suarez acrobatically volleyed beyond Tomas Vaclik. A bicycle kick, that is already a trademark from the Uruguayan, who had already scored a brace against Inter on Wednesday.
With the deadlock broken Barca went for the Sevilla jugular in ruthless fashion and within seven minutes the game was as good as over as the hosts added a further two goals.
First, on 32, Suarez was involved again. Laying the ball back to Arthur and playing an inviting through ball into the path of the breaking. Arturo Vidal added the final touch to beat Vaclik.
Then on 35 Arthur grabbed his second assist, this time he fed Ousmane Dembele. Dembele sold Diego Carlos, cut inside and calmly slid in his team’s third goal.
Free kick marvel from Messi and two red cards
The second period got underway with Sevilla having a guilt-edged chance to pull a goal back. Luuk De Jong caught Arthur in possession on the edge of his own box but his shot struck the foot of the post and bounced away to safety.
It wasn’t until 78 when Barca finally added their fourth of the match. It was Lionel Messi, who grabbed his first league goal of the season, bending a 20-yard dead-ball up and over the wall and into the top corner.
Despite a crushing scoreline, the match ended in a bitter manner for the hosts who saw two players sent off. Ronald Araujo received a straight red for committing a foul as the last man. Then Dembele followed having been shown a second yellow for dissent words to the ref.
Barcelona closes the gap to Real Madrid for just 2 points and. If they keep it on track, we might have an interesting ‘El Classico’ by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Sevilla’s start of the season, with Lopetegui in charge, starts to crumble. The team had their weaknesses exposed.
Real Valladolid 0 x 0 Atletico Madrid
As the direct opponents in La Liga table race for the top with confident victories, Atletico keeps disappointing. After their Summer spending spree, one would expect they wouldn’t have registered 3 stalemate draws by the beginning of October.
They wanted to go back to winning ways, after a goalless Madrid derby last time out in La Liga. Truth be known, Atletico seem to be lacking a cutting edge.
Since Antoine Griezmann is now at Barcelona and Joao Felix, the 120 million wonderboy, doesn’t seem able to immediately fill the Frenchman shoes.
After offering nothing in the opening 35 minutes, they were fortunate to remain level. Sandro blazed the penalty he won high over Jan Oblak’s bar.
Neither side created a chance that had the fans on their feet. Atletico was within inches of undeservedly winning the match on 81. Angel Correa controlled lashed a left-footed strike across Jordi Masip. Thankfully for Valladolid, it came back of the upright.
Atletico is 3 points away from the 1st place and 2 from the 2nd and nothing is lost yet. Real Valladolid is 13th.
Real Sociedad 1 x 2 Getafe
Real Sociedad came into the weekend looking to continue their impressive start to the season. However, the visitors, Getafe, were confident after their Thursday heroic win over Krasnodar, for Europa League group stages.
Mikel Merino headed in Portu’s cross on 5 to put them ahead and send the home fans into raptures. Getafe keeper David Soria produced a fine reaction stop to Mikel Oyarzabal doubling the lead.
On 53 Diego Llorente collected his second yellow card for a handball. This gave Getafe an opportunity to establish a foothold in the match.
The visitors had not created anything during the game. Still, on 69 Jaime Mata glanced a header beyond Miguel Moya following Damian Suarez’s right-wing cross.
The 10 men of Sociedad nearly got their noses back in front but Portu’s low strike was stopped by Soria. With just one minute of normal time remaining, Nemanja Maksimovic slammed past Moya for 1-2.
This was Maksimovic’s first goal for Getafe.
Real Sociedad is 5th and Getafe gets their second win of the season, climbing to 12th place.
Valencia 2 x 1 Alaves
Valencia came into this match against Alaves off the back of a drubbing by Ajax in the Champions League.
It didn’t seem to bother them when Maxi Gomez put them ahead on 27. He collected a pass from Rodrigo and cleverly finished across Antonio Sivera for 1-0.
Neither side had a real obvious chance to increase the scoreline. Rodrigo perhaps had the best opportunity, which he fired narrowly wide.
As the match headed into the final 10 minutes the home side has gifted the chance to double their lead. Daniel Parejo broke from midfield and beat Sivera to the ball and the Alaves keeper brought him down.
Parejo stepped up and cockily dinked the spot-kick in for 2-0. With just a few moments of the match remaining, Alaves managed to give their fans something to cheer as they pulled a goal back.
The Valencia defense was slow to close Joselu down. Although Jasper Cillensen saved his powerful effort but Lucas Perez reacted to tuck away the rebound as the home defense remained static.
Valencia is now 8th. Although they got 3 points here, there are still some doubts about their future. Was their managerial change, last September, the right choice for the club?
Osasuna 2 x 1 Villarreal
Villarreal steamrollered Real Betis last time out. Their fans could have been forgiven for getting carried away when they took a 5th minute lead at Osasuna.
Pau Torres reacted quickly to turn home a spill from keeper Ruben. The hosts didn’t threaten to level things up in the first half but they were back on terms immediately after the restart.
Villarreal only half-cleared Roberto Torres’ cross and Facundo Roncaglia took a touch before lashing a 30-yard finish into the bottom corner. Both sides had good chances to take the lead but Samuel Chukwueze was denied by Ruben – making amends for his earlier error.
Also, the home side saw Sergio Asenjo thwart Chimy Avila when he looked destined to score.
Avila wasn’t to be denied again though and on 79 he scored what would prove to be the winner. Chukwueze gave the ball away in midfield and the Villarreal backline failed to deal with another cross. Avila fired across Asenjo and into the net.
The ‘Yellow Submarine’ drops to 9th, while Osasuna climbs to 11th, despite having a single defeat so far.
Real Betis 1 x 1 Eibar
Real Betis played host to Eibar and it was the home side who had the best opportunity of the opening exchanges. Marko Dmitrovic stopped Pablo de Blasis’ right-footed strike.
Despite the bright start, it was Betis who found themselves behind on 34. Gonzalo Escalante attacked a corner but Sergio Canales used his hand to take it off his head.
The referee pointed to the spot and Fabian Orellana sent Joel Robles the wrong way for 0-1.
Betis restored parity in the 66th minute when Loren turned in from close range after Marc Bartra headed across goal from a long free-kick. The hosts almost secured the three points in injury time but VAR ruled the strikeout.
Eibar goal hero Escalante scythed down Nabil Fekir, which saw the visitors reduced to 10 men for the final minutes. Fekir took the resultant free-kick and his low strike was finished of by Borja Iglesias.
However, celebrations were short-lived as VAR ruled it out for offside. Betis, after their summer spending, are now in the 16th position. It might not take too long until their coach Rubi gets to say the goodbyes.
Mallorca 2 x 0 Espanyol
Espanyol visited Mallorca with both sides looking for just their second win of the campaign. One would hope their Thursday 0x2 win in Moscow, against CSKA, would help motivate Espanyol for their La Liga campaign.
However, it is also likely it made the team more exhausted and it affected their performance in Mallorca.
As you’d perhaps expect from two struggling sides there was little quality in the final third. Still, on 37, Joan Sastre showed skill and determination to beat his man before delivering a pacey cross that Ante Budimir turned home.
As the game went on, Espanyol looked every bit a team that could be relegated. At one end they were snatching at the few openings that came their way.
On 73 a calamitous combination of errors gave Salva Sevilla the chance to lash home, a chance he took with supreme quality. From 2-0 down there was simply no chance of Espanyol getting back on terms.
Espanyol is 19th and Mallorca is now 18th.
Leganes 1 x 2 Levante
If ever a game told you that the only statistic in football that matters is the goals scored it was this one. Leganes hosted Levante aiming to get off the root of the table, but found themselves behind on the brink of half time.
Dimitris Siovas got caught the wrong side of Levante attacker Roger and clipped his heels to concede a penalty as he attempted to recover. Roger himself dispatched the spot-kick for 0-1.
Just four minutes after the break things got worse for the home side. Jose Campana lined up a free-kick wide on the right but Juan Soriano had strayed too far from his line. Campana went for goal instead of delivering across and Soriano couldn’t recover.
On 76 Martin Braithwaite beat Levante shot-stopper Aitor Fernandez to a long ball and lobbed it over him and into the net to half the deficit. Shortly after Braithwaite had an opportunity to mark an incredible turnaround.
Fernandez went from villain to hero when he saved Braithwaite’s tame effort from the spot, after Ruben Vezo had fouled Youssef En-Nesyri. Leganes had 60% of the ball and a whopping 25 shots on goal.
Ultimately, it was worth nothing. Leganes are still bottom of the La Liga table, with 0 victories and just 2 points. Levante climb to 10th.
Celta de Vigo 1 x 0 Athletic Bilbao
Celta Vigo welcomed Athletic Bilbao to Balaidos. Athletic had an impressive start of the season, but they had lately fell out of grace. Although, they still had only 3 goals conceded before this match.
The game wasn’t blessed with clear cut chances. Still, the home side was the better one and on 74 they deservedly got their breakthrough.
Santi Mina rose high to flick on a corner and Iago Aspas lost Oihan Sancet to head home at the back stick. Bilbao didn’t do nearly enough to test Ruben Blanco in the host’s goal and didn’t deserve anything from the match.
Celta relieves the pressure with their 2nd win of the season and climbs to 15th. Athletic is 7th.
This is the La Liga matchday 8 roundup concluded. The La Liga schedule returns in two weeks, after the international break.