Granada surprises Barcelona, Real end Sevilla’s streak

Granada wins to Barcelona in Los Carmenes, to extend the Catalans shaky start of season. Credits: Getty Images

La Liga matchday 5 happened this past weekend and there were plenty of memorable moments to talk about. Besides Real Madrid coming back from a 3-0 trashing against PSG, to beat their former coach Julen Lopetegui, now at Sevilla, to Barcelona continuing their poor start of the season.

After 5 games we also have a new leader on the La Liga table, since Sevilla were humbled by one single goal from Real Madrid’s target man. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid continues disappointing after their Summer spending spree and some pundits are already asking what is happening with 120M wonderboy Joao Felix.

Granada extends Barcelona’s misery

Barcelona started this season losing away to Athletic Bilbao, trashing Real Betis in the week after, and then disappointing with a draw against newly-promoted side Osasuna. Last weekend, the pattern continued: they came back from a disappointing match, by beating mercilessly Valencia 5-2.

However, just as before, the story continues with its ups and downs. Once again, they lost points and once again, they did it in an away match. It’s now just 1 point collected in all the 3 away matches so far.

This time the opponent was another promoted side, Granada, who arrived at this game in a positive form. One loss only, 2 wins and 1 draw, makes the team from southern Spain being one to look over this season.

The ‘Blaugrana’ were down with just 2 minutes on the clock. Lenglet got dispossessed and Antonio Puertas made a run to the boss, placing a cross in the towering header of Nigerian midfielder Ramon Azeez.

Ball possession, but no danger

Current La Liga champions were unable to translate their possession into goal opportunities and Granada took advantage. In fact, besides their 70% ball possession, they only averaged 2 shots on target against Granada’s 5.

In the early minutes of the second half, Valverde made 16-year-old Ansi Fati get in for the place of fullback Junior Firpo. Lionel Messi, who yesterday won the ‘FIFA THE BEST 2019’, also got in the game in exchange with Carles Perez.

Neither the Argentinian or the young Guinean forward were much help though, as Barcelona continued being a bland unproductive side. And it was Granada who scored again after Vidal clumsily had a handball in the area. Vadillo was called to take the penalty and he did not fail.

2-0 and Granada climb to the 3rd position, while Barcelona will need to do much more, being in an embarrassing 8th place position in La Liga table, right now.

Real Madrid ruin Sevilla’s party

Sevilla were off to a flamboyant start of the season and they could become isolated leaders, had they won their matchday 5 game. However, the opponent was Real Madrid and, despite their calamitous mid-week disaster against PSG, ‘Los Blancos’ haven’t lost yet in the league this season.

Julen Lopetegui, who got sacked from Real Madrid last October, surely had a point to prove, when Sevilla hosted Real Madrid in the stadium Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Despite that, Real Madrid looked more dangerous throughout the game and Sevilla can express gratitude to Tomas Vaclik, for making two crucial saves, to deny both Hazard and Carvajal of breaking the deadlock.

The Czech goalkeeper was unable to defend the towering header of Karim Benzema in the second half though, who responded perfectly to a cross from Dani Carvajal. This is Benzema’s 5th goal in 5 games, making him the current top scorer of La Liga, tied with Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno.

Chicharito Hernandez still scored the equalizer, against his former team Real Madrid, but the goal was denied for offside. Sevilla ended their unbeaten run, with Real Madrid inflicting the first defeat in Lopetegui’s era.

They climb to 2nd in La Liga, while Sevilla drops from 1st to 5th place.

Atletico Madrid draw against Celta de Vigo

After 3 wins in 3 games in the opening 3 matches of La Liga, Atletico Madrid seemed like they were on their way to something. However, last weekend they fell against Real Sociedade and now they drop 2 points at home, against Celta de Vigo.

The star of the show was Celta’s keeper, Ruben Blanco, who made 3 incredible saves to deny Atletico’s goal. Still, it wasn’t their day and the game ended 0-0.

After the miraculous comeback midweek over Juventus, it was expected that Simeone’s men would rise up to the occasion and get back on track.

A wasted opportunity for Atletico, who could have got back to 1st place if they had won this game.

Step aside, we have a new La Liga leader

If all 3 top La Liga contenders are having somehow underwhelming beginnings of season, there are other teams who are rising to the occasion. After beating Barcelona in the opening fixture of the league, Athletic Bilbao continued their form and are yet to be beaten.

In a duel that opposed two teams from the Basque region, Athletic Bilbao received Alaves in the San Mames and they were always the stronger side. Athletic broke the deadlock in the 24th minute, when Raul Garcia converted a penalty kick, following Inaki Williams being fouled in the box.

The same Inaki Williams would later take some paint from the woodwork, almost beating Alaves goalie in a wonder strike. The second goal of the match arrived later in the last quarter of the game. Ibai Gomez forced Fernando Pacheco to a close save and Muniain netted it inside the goal in the rebound.

The only team who has never been relegated from La Liga and that is composed only with Basque born athletes leads the way in the Spanish topflight. Alaves, meanwhile, is 13th.

Valencia drops points to the bottom side Leganes

There has been quite a rollercoaster for Valencia the past weeks. First, their beloved coach Marcelino Toral gets unexplainably sacked. Then, in the aftermath, they are trashed by Barcelona at Camp Nou (5-2).

And then, they were tipped as going to suffer the same treatment from Chelsea, in the opening match of the group stages of Champions League. Especially after the Valencia players refused to show up in the press conference, as a sign of disagreement with the way the board treated Marcelino.

Yet, they somehow snatched a win in Stamford Bridge and thus, it seemed the nightmare was fading away. Well, now they were going to host Leganes, who had no points at all so far in the league, so it would be an easy task.

It looked as they would run out with the win indeed, as Parejo opened the scoreboard at the beginning of the first half. Rodrigo was tripped in the box and the Spanish did not hesitate from the spot-kick.

However, before the break, Oscar Rodriguez would make it 1-1. A deflected pass and the midfielder stroke it past Cillessen. The score wouldn’t suffer any more changes till the end of the match, with Leganes remaining bottom, besides getting their 1st point.

Valencia is 12th in La Liga table.

Real Sociedad climb to top 4

Another Basque team in great form is Real Sociedad. The last matchday they made Atletico Madrid suffer their first defeat and they have 1 loss in 5 games, against leaders Athletic Bilbao.

Now, they traveled to Catalonia, to face Espanyol and Real was winning by 2 already by the break. Willian Jose scored a brace to send his team comfortably winning into the interval.

Espanyol still showed some spark in the second half and Zaldua would make it 2-1, by placing it into his own net. Nonetheless, Alexander Isak would confirm the win, with his first goal by the young Swedish starlet by his new club: 3-1.

Real Sociedad are now 4th, tied with Sevilla on goal difference, while Espanyol drops to the 18th place.

Getafe get their first victory with a goal-fest

Still hoping to get their first 3 points, Getafe hosted Mallorca and they finally showed why they were the surprise package of last season’s La Liga.

The game started favoring the team from the Madrid suburbs when Mallorca’s midfielder Baba netted an own goal after a corner kick. Minutes later Mata was pulled down in the box and Molina took the penalty kick: 2-0.

In the second half more goals for Getafe. Former West Brom fullback Nyom made it 3-0. Mallorca got one goal for themselves, when Real Madrid’s loanee Kubo crossed it into Bedimir, to make it 3-1. Shortly after Bedimir scored a second and made it 3-2.

When Getafe was already fearing that their victory would be snatched away, Angel Rodriguez put the doubts to rest with the 4th goal for the home side.

After their win on Thursday for Europa League group stages, over Trabzonspor, they relieve the pressure with another one. They now sit in the 11th place, while Mallorca is in 17th, just one place away from the relegation zone.

Valladolid gets drowned by the Yellow Submarine

Real Valladolid traveled to El Madrigal, also named El Estadio de La Ceramica, to face Villarreal. The ‘Yellow Submarine’, as it is called by the Villarreal supporters, had to wait until the 78 minutes to see a goal.

Santi Cazorla from the spot-kick made it 1-0 from the local side, who would make it double in the last minute of the game. This time was Javier Ontiveros, who headed it in.

Villarreal got their first home win of the season and they sit in the 7th position. Meanwhile, Real Valladolid is 15th.

Osasuna still unbeaten, Eibar still with no victories

The two remaining matches of the La Liga weekend schedule were two 0-0 draws. Osasuna hosted Real Betis and they continue their impressive streak of consecutive draws.

They won their first matchday, over Leganes, and then they drew 4 games in a row, including a 2-2 draw against La Liga champions Barcelona.

Real Betis can thank their goalkeeper Joel Robles (and the woodwork) to keep the score 0-0. After their Summer spendings, most tipped Real Betis to do better than what they did so far.

Besides continuing in the lower side of La Liga table, now in 14th, they also lost their signing Nabil Fekir to a muscle injury. It is still unknown when the French international will come back to the pitches.

Meanwhile, Eibar visited Levante and they continued with no victories in the league. A 0-0 draw, with an impressive display by Levante’s keeper Aitor Fernandez kept the match goalless.

This Tuesday and Wednesday there is more La Liga schedule action. Barcelona hosts Villarreal and Real Madrid tries to end another unbeaten run, as they receive Osasuna.

About Jorge Costa 140 Articles
Jorge Costa is a freelance journalist, with a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communication, through the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He specializes in sports and soccer in particular.

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