Matchday One In La Liga: Real Madrid Lay Down The Gauntlet For The Rest Of The League
La Liga is back underway! From debut goals, to miraculous goalkeeping performances, matchday one had it all. Let’s take a look at all the games that took place in the Spanish top flight this weekend.
Osasuna 2-1 Sevilla
Osasuna took the lead in the 9th minute when Chimy Ávila headed home a cross from debutant Rubén Peña. Sevilla equalised two minutes later when Rafa Mir got in front of his marker to poke home a wonderful cross from Papu Gomez. Osasuna were awarded a penalty late in the second half when Papu Gomez fouled Jon Moncayola in the area. Aimar Oroz made no mistake from 12 yards to score his first professional goal and more importantly, give Osasuna the three points.
Celta Vigo 2-2 Espanyol
Celta were ahead just before the half time whistle when a perfect ball into the box from Fran Beltran was flicked on by Augustine Solari which who else but Iago Aspas finished nicely past Lecomte. They doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when debutant Gonçalo Paciencia, who joined Vigo from Frankfurt earlier this week, headed in a cross from Javi Galán.
Espanyol responded quickly in the 72nd minute when a failed clearance from Joseph Aidoo found new signing Edu Exposito who fired home from outside the area. After over 20 minutes of fighting, in the 8th minute of added time, Espanyol were awarded a penalty when Óscar Mingueza fouled Joselu in the area, with the latter finishing calmly to share the points.
Real Valladolid 0-3 Villarreal
Some eyebrows were raised when it was announced that 21-year-old Nicolas Jackson would start up front for Villarreal, but doubters were silenced early in the second half when the Senegalese youngster was on hand to finish off a wonderful cross from Yeremy Pino.
Villarreal doubled their lead when another 21-year-old, this time Alejandro Baena, only a few minutes after coming on, received a ball just outside the area and poked it past Sergio Asenjo.
Not long after, Baena had his second. A high press from Unai Emery’s men saw Asenjo fail to clear the ball, which Baena received on the edge of the box to cut inside and blast a wonderful, curling strike to seal the three points for the Yellow Submarine.
Barcelona 0-0 Real Vallecano
Despite Barcelona’s big money signings, it was Vallecano keeper Stole Dimitrievski that really stole the show at the Spotify Nou Camp. Barcelona did have the ball in the net early on, when Robert Lewandowski nicely lobbed Dimitrievski, but the Polish striker was miles offside and the goal was ruled out.
Barcelona were down to ten men late in the game when Sergio Busquets was dismissed for an elbow on Falcao. Not long after, Vallecano had a goal of their own chalked off, Radamel Falcao followed in a rebounded shot but the Colombian strayed past the defensive line too early and the points were shared in Barcelona.
Cadiz 0-1 Real Sociedad
An early goal from new signing Takefusa Kubo was enough to separate the sides at the Estadio Nueva Mirandilla. In the 26th minute, a perfect ball into the area from Mikel Merino found the Japanese youngster who controlled the ball nicely and finished nicely past Jeremias Ledesma.
Valencia 1-0 Girona
Girona were welcomed back into La Liga with a defeat at the hands of Valencia. Just before the half time whistle, Valencia were awarded a penalty when Girona full back Valery Fernández handled the ball in box. And with surprise to no body, Carlos Soler calmly placed the ball into the bottom right corner, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way in the process.
But it wasn’t all joy for Valencia, when in the 58th minute, defender Eray Cömert was shown a red card for a reckless challenge on Girona new boy, Valentin Castellanos. Girona struggled to keep a hold of the ball all game long, and it was a comfortable victory for Los Che.
Almeria 1-2 Real Madrid
It was a harsh opening fixture for the 21/22 Segunda Division champions, but throughout the first half, the newcomers were the better side. It took only six minutes for Almeria to find the opening, when Manchester United academy product, Largie Ramazani beautifully controlled a ball from Inigo Eguaras and powered it past Courtois to give Almeria a shock early lead against the European Champions.
But Madrid fought back, and in the 61st minute, after a flurry of shots, which included a disallowed goal from Lucas Vazquez, the Spanish winger managed to hold his run which was picked out by Karim Benzema, with the Spaniard poking the ball home to put it back on level terms.
Then in the 75th minute, Real subbed on defender David Alaba just before a free kick, which the Austrian ended up taking himself and beautifully curling it into the goal off the post. Although Madrid got the three points, Almeria showed good promise, and there’s plenty of positives for La Rojiblancos to game from the game.
Athletic Club 0-0 Mallorca
A game filled with dominance from Bilbao, turned into a hard-fought point for Mallorca. Chance after chance for Athletic Club was getting blocked and cleared by the Mallorca back line, and if it somehow found a way through, debutant Predrag Rajkovic was on hand to keep it out. It was a ridiculous debut performance from the Serbian international, who topped off his clean sheet with a stunning, late goal line save after a deflected shot from Mikel Vesga.
Getafe 0-3 Atletico Madrid
A lot of people thought Atletico would have striker troubles after losing Luis Suárez to Nacional, a lot of people were wrong. Madrid took the lead within 15 minutes, when a good press in midfield wins the ball back high, brilliant link up play from Saul and Lemar finds Félix who slips it through to Álvaro Morata who thunders it past David Soria from the edge of the box on his weak foot. Again, in the 59th minute, it’s those two combining again.
Joao Félix wins the ball back from a poor pass and feeds a beautiful ball to Álvaro Morata who finishes wonderfully on his weak foot again. The game was topped off in the 75th minute when Joao Félix again plays a perfect through ball to Antoine Griezmann who sneaks it past Soria from outside the box to give Atleti the early advantage at the top of La Liga.
Real Betis 3-0 Elche
The dark horses of this year’s La Liga season got their season started in the best way possible. Within 16 minutes, Guido Rodriquez’s makes a darting run through the entire Elche team, leaving defender John Nwankwo no option but to bring him down, leaving Elche with 10 men. Not long after, in the 28th minute, Betis took the lead after a lapse of concentration at the back for Elche let Nabil Fekir run through on goal, the Frenchman played it across the goal which Borja Iglesias couldn’t miss.
Betis doubled their lead 11 minutes later. Juanmi latched on to a brilliant ball from William Carvalho and took on two defenders before slotting it nicely past Edgar Badia. It was Juanmi again in the 60th minute when Badia failed to hold onto a cross from the wing, Juanmi was the first to the loose ball and finished into the empty net to seal the three points on what was a day to forget for Elche.
Matchday two of the 22/23 La Liga season begins on Friday, with Espanyol facing Real Vallecano. Make sure to check back in next Tuesday for a roundup of all of next week’s action!