This La Liga season might only be just two weeks old but it’s already shaping up to be a competitive campaign with just two sides boasting a 100% record.
This matchday was no different, with Barcelona bouncing back from their opening defeat against Athletic Bilbao, while their rivals Real Madrid were not competent enough to face a tough Real Valladolid side.
Meanwhile, Atletico continues riding along at the expense of their new signing Joao Felix, who this time contributed with an assist in a tight 1-0 win. The colchoneros beat Leganes and, besides two tight 1-0 wins, they have two wins in two matches.
Still, take a look at how the La Liga schedule shaped up this past weekend.
FIVE STAR BARCELONA BATTER BETIS
After the shock defeat suffered last week, against Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona were left with serious questions to answer. Their opponent now was Real Betis, who also did not have the best start last weekend, after losing to Real Valladolid (1-2).
Still, the Andalusians started better in the Camp Nou, with Betis’ big summer signing Nabil Fekir running on to Loren Moron’s through ball. Fekir confidently dispatched a low drive across Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make it 0-1.
As half time approached Antoine Griezmann repaid some of his transfer fee turning home Sergi Roberto’s chipped cross with a stretching volley that caught Dani Fernandez by surprise. After the break, Barca blew Betis away.
Griezmann bagged his second goal on the 50 minutes as he cut in on to his left before unleashing a bending 18-yard strike into the left-hand corner. He told the reporters later that he just saw Messi on training doing that and he tried to do the same (good boy!).
Another La Masia boy breaking into the first team?
Before Betis could breathe, just six minutes later Carles Perez showed a superb first touch to get the ball out of his feet. The 21-year-old, who is a product of La Masia, Barcelona’s academy, placed the ball home from just inside the box, on his first competitive goal with the Blaugrana main squad.
Four minutes after that the tie was effectively over. Sergio Busquets won possession as Betis attempted to walk their way out of defense and by the time Jordi Alba received the ball it was an easy finish.
Barca wasn’t done though and they saved the best for last; Perez picked the ball up centrally and fed Griezmann on the left-hand edge of the area and his square ball was buried into the top corner by the arriving Arturo Vidal.
Three minutes after Barcelona hit five, Moron seized on an uncharacteristic Barca error and from 25 yards rocketed a consolation into the top corner, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make Barca sweat. A great game for Blaugrana fans, while Betis will have to think it through after their Summer spending spree.
REAL MADRID HELD AT HOME
Gareth Bale took away the doubts of whether he is staying at the Bernabeu, as he started for the second consecutive week, against Real Valladolid. He was joined in the starting line up by another who looked like his time at Real was done, James Rodriguez.
Both fired narrowly wide of the same left-hand post in a first half that Madrid dominated – although Zinedine Zidane would have been disappointed with how few clear-cut chances they created.
The same pattern continued in the second half and on 68 Luka Jovic went close to netting his first Real Madrid goal with a header that came back off the bar. Still, it was a familiar face who finally grabbed the opener with 82 minutes on the clock.
Benzema breaks the deadlock
Karim Benzema was given half a yard too much room by Antonio and the experienced striker swiveled and buried a brilliant finish beyond Jordi Masip, who had been largely untested throughout.
That wasn’t to be the final action of the game though as with two minutes remaining Oscar Plano seized a loose ball in the middle of the park and fed Sergi Guardiola. He duly slipped the ball under the advancing Thibaut Courtois to make the game 1-1, for Valladolid, a team owned partially by a former Galactico: Ronaldo ‘Fenomeno’.
Real Madrid couldn’t find a winner, after last weeks’ win against Celta de Vigo. If too many more uninspiring performances follow it won’t be long until the managerial rumor mill gets going – again.
Sevilla and Atletico keep 100% winning record
Granada, who were looking for their first win since promotion, after the 4-4 goal-fest against Villarreal last weekend, welcomed Sevilla to Los Carmenes. The match lacked the thrill any neutral would enjoy but Sevilla dominated from the off and eventually found the breakthrough on 52.
Joan Jordan pounced on a loose ball before applying the finishing touch. The solitary goal was enough to clinch three points and it’s now two games without conceding for Julen Lopetegui’s men.
Meanwhile, Leganes slipped to a narrow defeat in game week one and hosting Atletico Madrid isn’t a team you’d want to face when your aim is to get points on the board.
Atletico started well and Alvaro Morata fired narrowly wide and Joao Felix scissored over the bar as Leganes struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Despite that, it was Leganes who went closest to breaking the deadlock when Jonathan Silva rattled the crossbar with a 20-yard free-kick. Then, at the other end, Silva’s fellow fullback, Roberto Rosales, saw a defensive header cannon off the post and away to safety.
When the net finally bulged it was in the favor of Atletico and that man Felix was involved again. A step over the ball and a drop of the shoulder brought him a split second and he squared to Vitolo who took the pass in his stride before stroking into the corner.
That’s six points from six for Diego Simeone’s much-changed squad in La Liga table. Will they be able to challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title?
Villarreal pay the penalty for missed opportunities
On Friday night Levante hosted Villarreal and things got off to a terrific start for the visitors when Gerard Moreno turned home his second goal in. Karl Toko Ekambi made the assist with a cross after just 3 minutes.
Villarreal looked comfortable but with a little over 20 minutes remaining Levante had the chance to level after a clumsy challenge in the box. Jose Morales stepped up to take the penalty but was denied by Andres Fernandez.
Fernandez was deemed to have moved off his line too early though and the spot-kick was retaken; this time Roger Marti made no mistake and just five minutes later it was Marti versus Fernandez again from 12 yards and, as before, the Levante forward came out on top making it 2-1.
Levante can count themselves a little fortunate to have recorded their first points of the season, but a combination of wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping was enough to see the Yellow Submarine sank.
Athletic Bilbao get a dose of reality from Getafe
After last weeks heroics against Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao fans could have been forgiven for getting their hopes up as they traveled to face Getafe. In the 6th minute, they were again sent into raptures when Raul Garcia met Ander Capa’s deep cross at the back post and confidently beat David Soria with a cushioned volley.
In a blistering opening, Getafe delivered an injection of reality though as they hit back just a few minutes later through Jaime Mata, who stole a march on Yeray to turn in a cross from Marc Cucurella. The match may have burst into life in the first 12 minutes, but it proved somewhat misleading as the remaining 75 minutes or so played out with little to excite either set of fans.
Celta gets 3 points with a goalkeeping masterclass
Celta Vigo put their opening day defeat at the hands of Real Madrid behind, on the match against Valencia, thanks to a clever flick from Gabriel Fernandez on 15 was assisted by a low cross from Denis Suarez. Other than that moment of genuine class the match was all about the keepers.
Daniel Wass struck a half volley that Ruben Blanco instinctively tipped onto the bar and at the other end Suarez was twice denied by Jasper Cillensen; first with a reflex save to tip away Suarez’s deflected drive and then stopping a Suarez spot-kick that was well struck but at a good height for the ex-Barcelona stopper. Thankfully for Suarez, the hosts held on.
Odegaard’s finally banging goals in La Liga
The other one-goal game saw Real Sociedad visit a Mallorca side buoyed from their win last time out. The match was an evenly contested affair but with less than 10 minutes remaining the Real bench were on their feet to celebrate Martin Odegaard’s inaugural La Liga goal.
The Norwegian, who is on loan from Real Madrid, broke out of his own half before exchanging passes with Portu and firing past Reina. A long-range effort from Salva Sevilla was the closest the hosts came to take a point but it proved to be Sociedad’s day.
Two goalless draws to complete the roundup
To complete the La Liga round-up, there were two stalemates over the weekend. Osasuna created several chances against Eibar and can be disappointed not to win the game, but they hold 4 points now, after their 1-0 win of last week. Their return to La Liga seems a good one so far.
Finally, Alaves and Espanyol played out a drab affair collecting a point each but with fans probably wishing they hadn’t bothered. Espanyol gathered the first point after the last week defeat to Sevilla and Alaves, who won the previous game against Levante, seem to be holding on defense this season.
There you have it, Barca is back, Real Madrid is still stumbling whilst Atletico and Sevilla set the pace. Roll on week three. Villarreal hosts Real Madrid on Sunday and that is a must-watch one!