Matchday Two In La Liga - Dominant Real Madrid continue to set the benchmark.
It was penalties and red cards galore in matchday two of the 22/23 La Liga season. Let’s take a look at the action from Spain’s top flight last weekend.
Espanyol 0-2 Real Vallecano
An action packed affair in Barcelona as Vallecano see out Espanyol. The drama started in the 14th minute after Vallecano defender Florian Lejeune was shown a second yellow card, only a minute after receiving his first. Then in the 30th minute, Espanyol defender Sergio Gomez was shown a straight red card after hitting striker Sergio Camello during a counter attack. 10 minutes later, Vallecano took the lead thanks to a stunning strike from winger Isi Palazon following a well worked free kick routine. Vallecano doubled their lead in the 59th minute when a low cross from Álvaro Garcia found midfielder Pathé Ciss wide open to tap it into the net. A big three points for Vallecano continuing on from their impressive opening day performance against Barcelona.
Sevilla 1-1 Real Valladolid
Sevilla continued their troubled start to the season with a poor draw at home to Valladolid. Despite Sevilla’s dominance throughout the game, it was Valladolid who took the lead in the 80th minute when Moroccan winger Anuar placed a brilliant strike past Bounou from outside the box after some brilliant ball control to set up the shot. Sevilla did find their equaliser in the 86th minute when a poor mistake from goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo dropped the ball into the feet of Karim Rekik who tapped into the empty net for his first ever Sevilla goal. A dugout fight during the goal celebrations saw substitutes Marcos Acuna and Jawad El Yamiq sent off for both sides. Both sides picked up their first point of the season but Valladolid will be very disappointed with the way they lost the two points.
Osasuna 2-0 Cadiz
A dominant performance from Osasuna saw them momentarily go top of the league after their second win of the season. Osasuna were awarded a penalty in the 37th minute after Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma took out Ante Budimir, and Chimy Ávila was on hand to convert the spot kick for his second goal of the season. In the 76th minute, Tomás Alarcon was shown a second yellow for Cadiz after a late challenge. Two minutes later, the day got worse for Cadiz when Victor Chust fouled Kike García in the area, with the latter converting the spot kick to seal the three points for high flying Osasuna. Cadiz are still looking for their first point of the season after a tricky start to the season for Sergio Gonzalez’s side.
Mallorca 1-2 Real Betis
Real Betis are another side who continued their 100% win record this season, with a hard fought win in the Balearic Islands. Betis were awarded a penalty despite a lengthy VAR check after a handball from Rodrigo Battaglia. Borja Iglesias calmly slotted past Rajkovic for his second goal for the season. Mallorca were level after 56 minutes when a brilliant cross from Kang-In Lee found last season’s Mallorca hero Vedat Muriqi who powered his header past Rui Silva. But despite Mallorca’s efforts for a late equaliser, it was Betis who were awarded another penalty in the 72nd minute after a clumsy challenge from Rodrigo Battaglia. Iglesias took it again and restored Betis’ lead and eventually take all three points back to Seville. A poor day for Mallorca fans, who could’ve very easily been celebrating the three points.
Celta Vigo 1-4 Real Madrid
A dominant performance from Real Madrid saw them breeze past Eduardo Coudet’s side in Vigo. Madrid were awarded a penalty in the 14th minute after a handball from Renato Tapia, which who else but Karim Benzema was on hand to send Marchesin the wrong way and make it 1-0 to Madrid. Vigo did equalise in the 23rd minute when Iago Aspas converted a penalty, after a handball from Eder Militao. But Madrid ran riot after this, in the 41st minute they were back ahead after a sublime, curling effort from Luka Modric. Real doubled their lead in the 56th minute when Modric played a brilliant ball through the Celta defence which found Vinicius who superbly rounded the ‘keeper and made it 3-1. The game was put to bed in the 66th minute when Vinicius squared a ball across the box which evaded Benzema but Valverde was on hand to finish into the bottom left corner. Madrid were awarded another penalty in 87th minute, Karim Benzema gave the ball to Eden Hazard who poorly hit the ball straight into Marchesin’s hands. Madrid are another side with a 100% record to start the season, Celta on the other hand are still looking for their first win of the campaign.
Athletic Club 1-0 Valencia
One goal was enough for Bilbao to see off Gennaro Gattuso’s side. In the 42nd minute, a powerful strike from outside the area from Alex Berenguer found its way through the hands of Mamardashvili to give Bilbao the lead. An end to end game didn’t lead to anymore goals and Ernesto Valverde’s side continued their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Atletcio Madrid 0-2 Villarreal
The biggest surprise of the weekend came at the Wanda Metropolitano as Unai Emery’s side shocked Atletico supporters. Villarreal took the lead in the 76th minute after Yeremi Pino latched onto a mistake from Nahuel Molina and finished past Oblak to make it 1-0. Molina was then shown a straight red, late in the game, after an alteration between himself and Álex Baena, where the Argentine eventually got him by the neck and pulled him to the floor. After Madrid’s late efforts to equalise, Villarreal countered and after a 4v2 in the yellow submarine’s favour, Gerard Moreno slotted past Oblak to secure the three points, and take Villarreal top of La Liga after two games. But it’s goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli who Villarreal fans have to thank, after his heroic goalkeeping all game long.
Real Sociedad 1-4 Barcelona
Barcelona made the most of their chances after disappointed against Vallecano last week, and found themselves ahead within the first minute. Álex Balde surged down the left and picked out Robert Lewandowski who powered it past Remiro to take an early lead. Sociedad equalised in the 6th minute after a tackle in the area from Eric Garcia rebounded onto Alexander Isak which perfectly lobbed Ter Stegen. Xavi subbed on Ansu Fati in the 64th minute, and in the 66th minute Fati exquisitely back-heeled a pass towards Ousmane Dembele who finished into the far corner to regain Barcelona’s lead. Two minutes later, Fati made a superb run to latch onto a ball from De Jong and slipped it through to Lewandowski who slotted it into the bottom corner. The game was finished off in the 76th minute when Lewandowski plays a ridiculous backheel pass over the top of the Sociedad back line which Ansu Fati collected and placed beautifully past Remiro for his 3rd contribution in only 12 minutes of action. Barcelona picked up their first win of the season, but Barca fans will be even happier knowing Robert Lewandowski is showing the same ability he showed in the Bundesliga for so many years.
Elche 1-1 Almeria
Both sides faced off in the hopes of picking up their first points of the season. Almeria took the lead in the 23rd minute when a corner from Lucas Robertone was headed home by Almeria’s star striker Umar Sadiq, for his first goal of the season. Elche were level in the 30th minute after brilliant ball control from Álex Collado led to a low shot into the bottom right corner which trickled past Martinez to tie the game at one a piece. During the celebrations, Almeria substitute Álex Centelles was shown a straight red card. But that was it for the drama and both sides earned their first points of the season.
Girona 3-1 Getafe
A dominant performance from Girona saw them breeze past struggling Getafe at the Estadi Municipal de Montilivi. Girona were ahead after 42 minutes when veteran striker Cristhian Stuani hit a half volley which sneaked past Soria to make it 1-0. Two minutes after the half time break, Girona doubled their lead when Getafe defender Domingos Duarte strangely poked the ball past his own goalkeeper, despite being under no form of pressure from the Girona players. The game was put to bed in the 64th minute, when two new signings combined as Yangel Herrera played a wonderful ball to striker Taty Castellanos who beautifully lobbed the goalkeeper to score his first Girona goal. Getafe did get a consolation goal back in the 73rd minute when Enes Ünal found the back of the net, but the day got worse for Getafe in the 97th minute when left back Fabricio Angieri was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge. But it was a delightful performance from Michel’s side, who truly earned the three points in the final game of gameweek two.
Matchday Three begins on Friday when Celta Vigo travel to Girona, and ends on Monday with Atletico Madrid looking to bounce back with a win at Valencia. Check back next week for a report on all ten games happening in matchday three!