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First division – day 28

Zinedine Zidane is back! Just a few months after he walked out on the club, the coach returned to replace Solari after Real Madrid crashed out of the Champions League, and he got off to a good start with a 2-0 victory over struggling Celta on Saturday. Zidane brought back the ostracised Isco and Marcelo, and Isco opened the scoring before Bale added the second later on. His team are now just two points below city rivals Atlético Madrid, who saw their title challenge fade after a 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao. Williams and Kodro got the goals in the last quarter of an hour or so to round off a week which Simeone’s side will want to forget. The battle for the fourth Champions League spot is wide open though, fifth placed Alavés now just a point behind Getafe after a 1-3 win at Huesca in the early kick-off. Scores were level at the break thanks to early penalties converted by Calleri and Chimy Ávila, but Guidetti and Calleri scored twice in the last ten minutes to leave their hosts still in bottom spot. Elsewhere Girona won 0-2 at Leganés with two first half strikes from Portu, and on Friday evening Real Sociedad and Levante drew 1-1, Januzaj’s first half opener cancelled out by Borja Mayoral with ten minutes to go. (16.03.19)



Spanish international squads

Eight new faces in Luis Enrique’s squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Norway and Malta, with first appearances for Bernat, Sergi Gómez, Fabián, Canales and Jaime Mata, and recalls for Dani Parejo, Jesús Navas and Muniain. From the last squad in November, Azpilicueta, Diego Llorente, Jonny, Saúl, Isco, Brais Méndez, Pablo Fornals, Suso and Iago Aspas have all been left out for various reasons. Spain’s under 21 side are also playing two friendly games against Romania and Austria over the next two weeks, and coach Luis de la Fuente also named his squad today, with Reguilón and Aleñá the most notable new names. (15.03.19)

Senior squad:
Keepers: Kepa (Athletic Bilbao), Pau López (Betis), De Gea (Manchester United);
Defenders: Iñigo Martínez (Athletic Bilbao), Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Mario Hermoso (Espanyol), Bernat (Paris Saint Germain), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Sergi Gómez and Jesús Navas (Sevilla), Gayà (Valencia);
Midfielders: Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Rodri (Atlético Madrid), Busquets (Barcelona), Canales (Betis), Fabián (Napoli), Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Dani Parejo (Valencia);
Forwards: Morata (Atlético Madrid), Jaime Mata (Getafe), Rodrigo (Valencia).

Under 21 squad:
Keepers: Sivera (Alavés), Unai Simón (Athletic Bilbao), Dani Martín (Sporting Gijón);
Defenders: Sergi Palencia (Bordeaux), Pedro Porro (Girona), Jorge Meré (Köln), Aarón Martín (Mainz), Pau Torres (Málaga), Reguilón and Jesús Vallejo (Real Madrid), Jorge Sáenz (Tenerife);
Midfielders: Aleñá (Barcelona), Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb), Marc Roca (Espanyol), Mikel Merino and Zubeldia (Real Sociedad), Carlos Soler (Valencia), Pablo Fornals and Alfonso Pedraza (Villarreal);
Forwards: Manu Vallejo (Cádiz), Rafa Mir (Las Palmas), Borja Mayoral (Levante), Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad).


Europa League, round of 16, second leg

Quarter final draw

A thrilling night in the Europa League, with two of the ties involving Spanish sides being decided in the very last minute! Valencia made it into the quarter finals after a 1-1 draw at Krasnodar, Gameiro setting up Guedes to save the day in the third and final minute of injury time after a late strike by substitute Suleymanov appeared to have left the Ches out on the away goal rule. Sevilla though are out of “their” competition after losing 4-3 to Slavia Prague in last minute of extra time. A Ben Yedder penalty and a volley by Munir had cancelled out two goals by the Czechs, and a Franco Vázquez header at the start of the 30 minutes added on seemed to have wrapped things up. However Van Buren made it all square once again, and with the tie coming to an end Traoré scrambled home a last gasp winner. Villarreal however cruised through after a 2-1 victory over Zenit added to their 1-3 first leg win, Gerard Moreno and Bacca combining to score a goal apiece either side of half time, and Ivanovic getting a late consolation for the Russian side. (14.03.19)


Champions League, round of 16, second leg

Quarter final draw

Spain will at least have one team in the quarter final draw after Barcelona beat Olympique Lyon 5-1 on Wednesday evening! Luis Suárez won a penalty which Messi converted early on, and then set up Coutinho to make it two on the half hour mark. Tousart got one back for the French side after the break however, and after the goalless draw in the first leg, another away goal would have taken them through. Messi though put an end to their hopes with an individualist goal some twelve minutes from the end, and Piqué and Dembélé added two more after that, both from Messi assists, to take the Catalans into the last eight for the twelfth year in a row. (13.03.19)

A hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo dumped Atlético Madrid out of the Champions League, the ex Real Madrid striker leading Juventus to a 3-0 victory to overturn the 2-0 result from the first leg three weeks ago! Mandzukic had an early strike ruled out for a foul on Oblak, but midway through the first half Ronaldo headed the opener from Bernardeschi’s cross, and just three minutes in to the second half he squared the tie with another header which only just crossed the line before Oblak got it away. Atleti hardly managed a shot on target all night, and with extra time looming, Ronaldo completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Correa fouled Bernardeschi in the area. (12.03.19)


First division – day 27

Real Madrid salvaged a bit of pride after one of their worst week’s on record, a 1-4 victory at Valladolid on Sunday evening keeping them six points clear of Getafe in third spot. They got off to a bad start though, Alcaraz missing a penalty and Guardiola having two strikes ruled out for offside before Anuar put the locals in front. Varane equalised before the break however, and after the restart Benzema converted a penalty and headed a third before Modric wrapped things up late on. Earlier in the evening Sevilla also clocked up a much needed win, the Andalusians beating Real Sociedad 5-2 to take some of the pressure off coach Pablo Machín. Oyarzabal cancelled out Sarabia’s opener, but after the restart Ben Yedder helped himself to a hat-trick in less than fifteen minutes. Soon afterwards Oyarzabal put through his own net, and the midfielder rounded off an eventful day, firing home a second penalty later on.

Sevilla stay in sixth spot, but Valencia and Betis are still only a point below them after both won. Valencia left it late though before beating Girona 2-3, Ferrán scoring the winner in the ninetieth minute. The Ches had taken the lead twice though Guedes and Parejo, but a Ramalho header and a Stuani penalty pegged them back both times. Betis meanwhile won 0-1 at Celta in the mid-day game, Jesé getting the only goal after Rubén saved from Tello with ten minutes to go. It was first defeat for new coach Fran Escribá, and his side drop into the relegation zone after Villarreal won 0-2 at Levante. Both goals came in injury time though, Rober Pier turning Samu Chukwueze’s cross into his own net under pressure from Iborra, and Chukwueze himself scoring the second to take his team within four points of their hosts. (10.03.19)

Barcelona stay seven points clear at the top of the table after a 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday. Raúl De Tomás gave the visitors an early lead, but Piqué headed in a Messi free kick before the break, and a Messi penalty and a late strike by Rakitic ensured the three points for the Catalans. Second placed Atlético Madrid kept up the pressure on the leaders though after they won 1-0 against neighbours Leganés earlier in the day. The only goal came early on in the second half after Omerou gave away a penalty on Correa, Lunin saving Saúl’s spot kick, but the midfielder turning the rebound back into the net. Getafe consolidated fourth spot after they came from behind to beat bottom club Huesca 2-1, Mata scoring twice after the break, the second from the penalty spot, after Gallego had put the visitors in front. And fifth placed Alavés are now four points below the Madrid based side after they were held to a 1-1 draw by local rivals Eibar, Marc Cardona saving a point for the visitors after Inui had opened the scoring for the hosts. (09.03.19)

The Friday night game between Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol ended all square at 1-1, a result which leaves both side safely in mid-table. Wu Lei set up Ferreyra to put the visitors in front in the seventh minute, but Raúl García headed the equaliser from an Ibai Gómez cross with ten minutes to go. (08.03.19)


Europa League, round of 16, first leg

Promising results for the three Spanish sides still in the competition, although Sevilla still have work to do after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Slavia Prague. Ben Yedder started things off with less than a minute gone, and although Stoch equalised later in the first half, Munir restored the lead with an impressive volley soon afterwards. Kral made it all square again though with a fluke header just before the break, and although the Andalusians dominated throughout the second half, luck was not on their side. Villarreal though are looking good for a place in the quarter finals after they won 1-3 at Zenit. Strikes by Moreno and Morlanes midway through the second half gave Calleja’s side the win after Azmoun had cancelled out Iborra’s first half opener. Valencia also have the advantage after a 2-1 victory over Krasnodar, although they will be ruing chances missed to build a bigger lead. Rodrigo scored twice in the first half hour or so, but the Russian side came back after the interval with an individualist goal from Claesson. (07.03.19)


Champions League, round of 16, second leg

Real Madrid are out of the Champions League after a humiliating 1-4 defeat to Ajax in their second leg match! A 1-2 first leg lead was quickly overturned by strikes from Ziyech and Neres, and when Tadic scored a third away goal after the restart, Madrid needed three themselves to go through. To make matters worse, Lucas Vázquez and Vinicius both went off with injuries before the break, and although substitute Marco Asensio got one back from Reguilón’s assist, Schöne beat Courtois with a wide free kick to wrap things up. Madrid’s three year reign is over, and after probably the worst week in their history (following two home defeats to Barcelona), Solari’s job is hanging by a thread. (05.03.19)


First division – day 26

Leganés threw their hat in the ring for the European spots after they beat Levante 1-0 on Monday evening. Oscar Rodríguez fired home the only goal to extend his side’s unbeaten home run to eleven games, and they end the weekend just four points below sixth placed Sevilla. (04.03.19).

After Real Madrid’s defeat in yesterday’s “clásico”, Atlético Madrid are the only team with any realistic chance of catching Barcelona, and they remain seven points behind the leaders after a 0-2 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday. Morata headed in both goals in a three minute period around the half hour mark, and Simeone’s side shut up shop after Koke was sent off with thirty minutes still to go. The big three look like they are going to occupy the top three spots once again, but the fourth Champions League spot is still wide open, Getafe the current incumbents after they beat Betis 1-2. A Cabrera header and a Mata strike put them two up at the break, and a goal by Joaquín came too late to change the result. Valencia are also in the running though, and they are now seventh after a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao later in the evening. Rodrigo and Gameiro got the goals for the Ches at the beginning and end of the second half. Only three points separate six teams though, Eibar just two below Valencia a 1-0 win over Celta in the mid-day game. Sergi Enrich got the only goal with three minutes to go to leave the Galicians just two points above the drop zone, signalling the end for coach Miguel Cardoso, who was fired just four months or so after he took over. (03.03.19)

For the second time in three days, Barcelona beat Real Madrid in the Bernabeu stadium, this time 0-1 to move twelve points clear of Solari’s side in the table. Rakitic got the only goal after Sergi Roberto put him through midway through the first half, and Ter Stegen and his defence held fast after that for a second clean sheet in a row against their old rival. Sevilla’s season is also going downhill, and they drop to sixth after a 2-1 defeat at bottom club Huesca. Juanpi gave the locals an early lead, and although Ben Yedder levelled it from the penalty spot near the end, Chimy Ávila fired home the winner in the eighth and final minute of time added on. Alavés move above the Andalusians to fourth after they won 1-2 at struggling Villarreal, a strike by Inui giving them the three points after a Cazorla penalty cancelled out Maripán’s second half header. And Espanyol are now only four points below Sevilla, albeit in eleventh place, after a 3-1 victory over Valladolid in the early kick-off. Borja Iglesias opened the scoring for the Catalans with less than a minute on the clock, and second half goals by Mario Hermoso and Wu Lei ensured the three points after Rubén Alcaraz had equalised for the visitors. (02.03.19)

Rayo Vallecano drop further into the relegation zone after they were beaten 0-2 by Girona on Friday evening, a fifth defeat in a row for Michel’s side. Stuani got both goals for the Catalans, and the locals ended with ten men after Ba was sent off on the hour mark. (01.03.19)


Copa del Rey semi final, second leg

Valencia will be joining Barcelona in this season’s cup final after a 1-0 victory over Betis on Thursday evening! The visitors needed to score after the 2-2 draw in the first leg, and Jaume had to be at his best to keep out Canales and Jesé before the break. Some ten minutes in to the second half however Rodrigo got on the end of Gameiro’s cross to turn the ball past Joel on the far post, and Gameiro came close to extending the lead after that. The Ches now have a chance of some silverware in their centenary year, and Betis miss out on a final which this season will take place at their own Benito Villamarín stadium. (28.02.19)

Barcelona are through to their sixth Spanish cup final in a row after they beat Real Madrid 0-3 in the second leg of their semi-final tie! Madrid were slight favourites after the 1-1 draw in the Nou Camp, and they had the better of the first half, Ter Stegen having to save from Benzema and Vinicius, and Vinicius firing a couple of good chances over the top. Some five minutes in to the second half however, Luis Suárez drilled a shot past Keylor Navas after Dembélé laid the ball across, and a few minutes later Varane turned Dembélé’s cross into his own net under pressure from Suárez. Ter Stegen kept out a header from Reguilón before that, but soon afterwards Casemiro brought down Suárez in the area, and the Uruguayan striker lobbed the resulting penalty past Navas to wrap things up. (27.02.19)


First division – day 25

Heroes & Villains section: Top scorers, keepers, red & yellow cards, referees

The Monday night game between Girona and Real Sociedad ended without goals, a result which takes the Catalans five points clear of the drop zone, and leaves their opponents still two points below the European spots. Lozano and Borja García had the best chances for the locals, but Imanol’s side held on to take their unbeaten run to ten games. (25.02.19)

The big three have now opened up a nine point gap over the rest after Atlético and Real Madrid both won on Sunday. Atlético Madrid stay in second spot though after they beat struggling Villarreal 2-0, Morata getting his first goal for the club on the half hour mark, and Saúl wrapping things up with two minutes to go. And Real Madrid remain two points behind their neighbours after a 1-2 win at Levante, but only thanks to two controversial penalties which Benzema and then Bale converted. Roger got the goal for the locals in between the two spot kicks. Betis bounced back from their midweek Europa League defeat with a 0-2 victory at Valladolid which takes them back up to seventh, Mandi getting the first on the stroke of half time, and Joaquín the second following a good run by Canales with two minutes to go. Valencia though drop three points below the Andalusians (who they meet in next Thursday’s cup semi-final), after they were held 1-1 by Leganés in the mid-day game, Kondogbia seemingly giving the Ches the win, but Braithwaite equalising for the visitors with two minutes to go. (24.02.19)

Another magnificent display by Leo Messi helped Barcelona to a 2-4 victory at Sevilla on Saturday afternoon, the Catalans opening up a ten pointy gap at the top pending Sunday’s games. A spectacular Messi volley cancelled out the opener from Jesús Navas, but Mercado restored the lead for the locals just before the break. Messi scored two more after the restart though to complete the 50th hat-trick of his career, and with the game in injury time he set up Luis Suárez for the fourth. The defeat means that Sevilla drop out of the Champions League spots, now behind Getafe after the Madrid based team beat neighbours Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in the early kick-off. Mata put the hosts ahead with just under half an hour gone, and although Raúl De Tomás made it all square after the interval, Jorge Molina combined with Mata to score the winner a few minutes later. Alavés are now level with Sevilla in sixth place after they drew 0-0 with Celta, Rubén Blanco producing a string of saves for the Galicians to save the job of Miguel Cardoso for the time being. And Athletic Bilbao are now only six points below Alavés after a 1-0 win over regional rivals Eibar, Raúl García getting the only goal there with less than a minute on the clock. (23.02.19)

Bottom club Huesca are still hopeful of escaping the drop, and they picked up another valuable point in a 1-1 draw at Espanyol on Friday evening. Granero put the locals ahead with a direct free kick, and new signing Wu Lei hit the woodwork, but early on in the second half Pulido played the ball over for Etxeita to fire home the equaliser. (22.02.19)


Europa League, round of 32, second leg

Valencia and Villarreal will be joining Sevilla in tomorrow’s round of 16 draw after both won through their ties on Thursday. Valencia were already two goals up after the first leg at Celtic, and a red card for Toljan before the break ended any hopes the Scottish side had of a comeback. In the end the Ches won 1-0 on the night as well, Gameiro getting the only goal after Parejo and Wass combined to set him up with twenty minutes to go. Villarreal struggled a bit against Sporting Lisbon, especially after a strike by Bruno Fernandes just before the break cancelled out their first leg lead. The Portuguese side were left with ten men though after Jefferson was sent off soon after the restart, and a goal by Pablo Fornals with ten minutes to go saw them through. Betis however are out of the competition after they lost 1-3 to Rennes later in the evening. A 3-3 draw in the first leg had given them hope, but Bensebaini and Hunou put the French side two up in the first half hour, and although Lo Celso got one back before the break, Niang put the result beyond reach in injury time. (21.02.19)

Sevilla are the first team into the round of sixteen after beating Lazio 2-0 on Wednesday evening! Ben Yedder added to his goal in the first leg after Strakosha could only push out a shot from Sarabia in the twentieth minute, and Sarabia himself made it two after Jesús Navas set him up with twelve minutes to go. Both teams ended with ten men however after Franco Vázquez and Marusic were sent off later on. (20.02.19)


Champions League, round of 16, first leg

A brilliant result for Atlético Madrid on Wednesday, a 2-0 victory over Juventus virtually ensuring their place in the quarter finals. Oblak kept out an early free kick from Cristiano Ronaldo, but the locals were unlucky not to go ahead after that, Griezmann lobbing a shot against the bar, and the VAR system overturning a penalty decision (awarding a free kick outside of the area), and ruling out a goal by Morata for a previous foul. With twelve minutes to go though Giménez opened the scoring following a corner, and five minutes later his fellow central defender and countryman Godín made it two after a wide free kick fell to him close to goal. (20.02.19)

Barcelona were in action on Tuesday, a 0-0 draw at Olympique Lyon giving them the edge for the second leg. Ter Stegen had to push an early shot from Terrier on to the bar, but otherwise the Liga side were on top. However, despite some 25 shots at goal, they were not able to find a way past Lopes and his defence, the local keeper in particular making saves from Dembélé, Busquets and Messi, and Luis Suárez (who has not scored away from home in Europe for over three years) wasting a couple of good chances. All will now be resolved in the Nou Camp next month. (19.02.19)


First division – day 24

Athletic Bilbao are gradually getting their campaign back on track, and they end the weekend in eleventh spot after a 0-1 win at bottom club Huesca on Monday. Raúl García got the only goal from the penalty spot after Diéguez fouled Iñigo Martínez in the area in the twentieth minute. (18.02.19)

Real Madrid’s push to get back into the title race took a serious set-back after they lost 1-2 to Girona in the Sunday mid-day game. Casemiro headed the locals in front from a Kroos free kick before the break, but Stuani levelled it from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos (who was sent off late on) handled in the area, and Portu headed the winner a few minutes later. Madrid maintain their eight point lead over fourth placed Sevilla however after the Andalusians were beaten 3-0 by Villarreal later in the evening. An Alvaro header and a strike from Ekambi gave the hosts a first half lead, and Alfonso Pedraza rounded things off to give his team their first league win in almost three months. Alavés are now just a point below Sevilla after they drew 1-1 at Betis, Maripán equalising for them after Lo Celso had opened the scoring for the home side. Betis remain three points below their opponents, still a point above Valencia, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Espanyol. (17.02.19)

Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points pending Real Madrid’s game on Sunday after a 1-0 victory over Valladolid on Saturday evening. Valverde rested key players for the upcoming Champions League tie, but an excellent Masip was only beaten by a Messi penalty after Piqué was fouled just before the break, and the ex Barça keeper saved a second Messi penalty after Kiko Olivas tripped Coutinho in the area with seven minutes to go. Atlético Madrid are back up to second spot after they beat neighbours Rayo Vallecano 0-1 earlier in the day. However that was thanks in part to some top class saves by Oblak, and the only goal came with a quarter of an hour to go when Griezmann’s shot took a deflection off a defender to wrong-foot Dimitrievski. Elsewhere Real Sociedad are up to seventh after a 3-0 win over Leganés, Oyarzabal scoring twice after the break, and Willian José heading the third after that. And Levante moved up safely to mid-table after beating Celta 1-4 in the early kick-off, Morales and Coke putting the visitors two up at the break. Morales made it three before Brais Méndez got one back from the penalty spot, and Borja Mayoral completed the scoring to leave the Galicians on the brink of the drop zone. (16.02.19)

Getafe missed out on a chance to move up into the Champions League spots after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Eibar on Friday evening. Strikes either side of half time by Mata and Foulquier appeared to have given them the victory, but in the last quarter of the game Charles converted a penalty and then took advantage of a poor back pass to save a point for the Basque side. (15.02.19)

Europa League, round of 32, first leg

A great night for La Liga sides in the Europa League, with three wins and a draw away from home for the four still in the competition. Sevilla won 0-1 at Lazio, Ben Yedder getting on the end of Sarabia’s cross to score the only goal midway through the first half, and Villarreal won by the same scoreline at Sporting Lisbon, Alfonso Pedraza the scorer there after Chukwueze set him up in the third minute. That was Villarreal’s first victory in two months. Valencia also clocked up a 0-2 win at Celtic, Cheryshev combining with new signing Rubén Sobrino to open the scoring just before the break, and the two reversing roles for Sobrino to turn in the second soon after the restart. And Betis came back from two goals down to draw 3-3 at Rennes, Lainez saving the draw in the last minute after Lo Celso and Sidnei had netted for the visitors. (14.02.19)



Champions League, round of 16, first leg

The Champions League returned this week, triple defending champions Real Madrid starting things off with a 1-2 win at Ajax on Wednesday evening. There was a scare before the break when the VAR system ruled out a headed goal by Tagliafico, but midway through the second half Benzema put the Liga side ahead after good work by Vinicius. Ziyech made it all square soon afterwards, but with three minutes to go Marco Asensio turned in Dani Carvajal’s cross to give his team the edge for the second leg. (13.02.19)


Copa del Rey semi final, first leg

The second semi-final is also in the balance after Betis and Valencia drew 2-2 on Thursday. Both teams were especially motivated, the hosts as the final will be played in their Villamarín stadium, and the visitors as this is their centenary year. The locals went two up though, Loren opening the scoring on the stroke of half time after Sidnei headed the ball back following a corner, and Joaquín making it two soon after the restart with an inswinging corner which Jaume only got to after it had crossed the line. With twenty minutes to go however Cheryshev headed one back from Gameiro’s cross, and with the game in time added on Gameiro combined with Rodrigo to level the scores. (07.02.19)

Another “clásico” on Wednesday evening, this time in the cup semi-finals, Barcelona and Real Madrid leaving everything open for the second leg after a 1-1 draw in the Nou Camp. The visitors took the lead early on, Lucas Vázquez turning a shot past Ter Stegen after Benzema laid the ball back from the right by-line. Busquets headed against the bar though later in the first half, and with just under an hour on the clock Malcom equalised after a shot from Luis Suárez came back off the post. Messi (who had been rested after picking up a knock at the weekend) came on after that, but the scoreline remained unmoved. (06.02.19)


Club World Cup Final

Real Madrid 4 - Al Ain 1

Abu Dhabi, UAE. Real Madrid are world champions for the third year in a row and the fourth time in their history after beating Al Ain 4-1 in the final! The local champions were Madrid’s surprise opponents after they won through the previous rounds, and only Sergio Ramos’s foot prevented Elshahat from scoring early on. Just a minute later though Modric put the Liga side ahead with a shot from the edge of the area, and although Caio had a strike ruled out for offside, Benzema and Bale both had chances to extend the lead before the break. With an hour on the clock Marcos Llorente made it two with a first time volley after a Kroos corner was headed clear by Ahmed, and Sergio Ramos headed a third from a Modric corner with ten minutes to go. Shiotani did get one back with a header from Caio’s long free kick, but with the game in time added on Nader deflected a wayward shot from substitute Vinicius in to his own net for the final result. (22.12.18)

Semi final: Kashima Antlers 1 - Real Madrid 3


Under 21 Friendly international

France 1 - Spain 1

Spain’s under 21 side finished the year with a 1-1 draw against France in their latest friendly international, and they will now be looking forward to next summer’s European finals. Luis De la Fuente’s team went ahead in the tenth minute when Oyarzabal converted a penalty after Pedraza was brought down in the area. Carlos Soler hit the bar later on in the first half, but with ten minutes to go Mateta levelled it for the hosts. (19.11.18)

Previous match: Spain 4 - Denmark 1

Spain's youth team fixtures:
Under 19 / Under 17


Friendly international

Spain 1 - Bosnia Herzegovina 0

Spain’s hopes of reaching the Nations League finals ended when England came from behind to beat Croatia 2-1, and it will be England who go to next summer’s final four rather than Luis Enrique’s side. The coach is still building his squad however for the Euro 2020 championship, and he made nine changes for this friendly fixture against Bosnia from the team who lost to Croatia, with Mario Hermoso, Brais Méndez, Pablo Formals and Pau López all winning their first caps. The match rather vindicated UEFA’s decision to add the new competition to reduce the number of meaningless friendlies though, with little real action and multiple substitutions breaking up play. Asensio, Isco and Suso all tested Sehic before the break, and Morata missed the easiest of chances after the restart. Dzeko and Visca replied for the visitors, but the only goal came with twelve minutes to go when Méndez was in the right place to finish off after the keeper could only push out a long shot from Isco. Spain’s next match will be in March, when the Euro 2020 qualification begins. (18.11.18)

Euro 2020 qualifying draw


UEFA Nations League

Croatia 3 - Spain 2

Spain lost their last group match against Croatia, and they now need England and Croatia to draw on Sunday for them to qualify for next summer’s finals. Despite scoring six against the East Europeans in the first leg, a defeat against England meant that they had to win this match to be sure of finishing top of the group. However De Gea had to push an early effort from Persisic on to the post, and Kalinic was not troubled until he tipped a long shot from Isco over the bar before the break. Some ten minutes into the second half Kramaric opened the scoring for the hosts after a poor clearance from Sergi Roberto was intercepted, and although Dani Ceballos combined with Isco to make it all square just two minutes later, Jedvaj headed in a Modric cross to restore the lead soon afterwards. Rebic and Morata both missed good chances before Sergio Ramos levelled it again from the penalty spot after Vrsaljko handled in the area, but with the game in time added on Jedvaj got the winner after De Gea could only push out a shot from Berkalo. The result means that any of the three teams could finish top of the group, and the only thing for sure is that Spain won’t finish last. (15.11.18)

Group table

Full and U21 squads


European Super Cup

Real Madrid 2 - Atlético Madrid 4 (after extra time)

Atlético Madrid finally beat city rivals Real Madrid in a European final, Simeone’s team scoring twice in extra time in Tallinn to take their third European Super Cup title! With less than a minute on the clock they were already in front, Diego Costa heading on a long ball and holding off his markers to beat Keylor Navas from a wide angle. The Champions League winners were missing Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time, but new coach Julen Lopetegui still put out a strong line-up, and with just under half an hour gone Benzema headed in a long cross from Bale to make it all square. Early in the second half Sergio Ramos made it two from the penalty spot after Juanfran handled a Kroos corner, but Costa appeared again to equalise following a good team move. That took the game into extra time, and Saúl and Koke latched on to assists from substitutes Thomas and Vitolo to hand their neighbours their first defeat in an international final in 18 years. (15.08.18)


Spanish Super Cup

Barcelona 2 - Sevilla 1

Barcelona came from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1 in this season’s Spanish Super Cup, the thirteenth time they have won the tournament. For the first time ever this was played outside of Spain, the venue being Tangiers, Morocco, and also for the first time it was played over one leg rather than two. The new VAR system was also making its debut in Spanish competitions, and it only took eight minutes before it came into action, Sarabia’s opener originally ruled out for offside before the video evidence proved otherwise. Barcelona were level at the break though, Piqué turning in the rebound after Vaclik pushed a Messi free kick onto the post, and with twelve minutes to go Dembélé caught out the keeper with a long shot which went in off the crossbar. Pablo Machin’s team did have a chance to take the game into extra time when Ter Stegen gave away a late penalty on ex team-mate Aleix Vidal, but the German keeper guessed correctly and saved Ben Yedder’s spot kick. (12.08.18)


Fantasy Football

LaLiga and the sports paper Marca are running their Spanish Fantasy Football game once again, and we have set up a Soccer Spain private league as we did last year for our readers to compete. Follow the link https://ax9m.app.link/6nRb0O0xiP to enter. If you played last season you can use the same account, but if you are new to the game you have to set up an account. Alternatively you can enter at https://game.laligafantasymarca.com and when you are in to your account, choose “Join a friend’s league”, and enter the code R0MCFRGQ. Good luck! (11.08.18)

How it works


Summer transfers

The summer transfer market is in full swing, with clubs having until the end of August to complete their squads. The first job was to get the new managers on board where necessary, the most notable move being Julen Lopetegui’s appointment at Real Madrid just two days before the World Cup started after Zidane’s surprise resignation. Lopetegui though won’t be able to count on Cristiano Ronaldo, who, a little jaded at Madrid and hounded by the Spanish tax authorities, has decided to try pastures new at Juventus. The European champions have spent some of the €100 million or so that they got for Ronaldo on a new goalkeeper, Courtois, with Kepa (who was close to signing for Madrid last winter) replacing the Belgian at Chelsea. Several other players will be leaving us this summer, in particular Iniesta and Fernando Torres, who have both gone to Japan. Barcelona seem to have gone for a change of style, replacing the elegant Iniesta with bulldog Arturo Vidal, although they have also drafted in some Brazilian class in Arturo and Malcom. Atlético meanwhile have been adding to their squad with the likes of Lemar, Kalinic and Rodri, and Valencia, Sevilla, Betis and Villarreal have all been strengthening their sides as well for their European campaigns. Still over two weeks to go though until the window closes, and you can follow all the moves at the link below. (10.08.18)

2018/2019 New season transfers by club - Div 1

First division clubs
Second division clubs
Second division B groups


Club World Cup final

Real Madrid 1 - Gremio 0

Real Madrid are Club World Champions for the second time in a row and the third time in their history after beating Gremio 1-0 in the final! Zidane’s side had several chances before Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a long free kick which found a gap in the defensive wall shortly after the break. Ronaldo had a second goal ruled out for the borderline offside of Benzema, Modric hit the post, and Grohe had to make several saves, particularly from Ronaldo and Bale later on, and Keylor Navas hardly had a save to make throughout the ninety minutes. It was a third title of the season for Zidane’s side after winning the European and Spanish Super Cups in summer. (16.12.17)

Semi-final: Al Jazira 1 - Real Madrid 2



Crowd funding campaign

SOCCER-SPAIN has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise funds to enable us to continue and improve the service we are giving to our readers.

Please help us by participating in our appeal at the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/love-la-liga. Any amount however small will be much appreciated!



Summary of 2017/2018

League champions Barcelona
Spanish cup winners Barcelona
Promoted to the first division Huesca, Rayo Vallecano, Valladolid
Relegated to the second division A Deportivo, Las Palmas, Málaga
Promoted to the second division A Mallorca, Rayo Majadahonda, Elche, Extremadura
Relegated to the second division B Lorca, Sevilla Atlético, Barcelona B, Cultural Leonesa


Clubs taking part in international competitions in 2018/19 season
Champions League Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Valencia
Europa League Villarreal, Betis, Sevilla
European Super Cup Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid
Club World Cup Barcelona

First Division
Athletic 2-0 Atlético
Eibar 1-2 Valladolid
Espanyol 0-1 Sevilla
Huesca 1-3 Alavés
Betis 1-4 Barcelona
R Madrid 2-0 Celta
Valencia 0-0 Getafe
Leganés 0-2 Girona
Real Soc 1-1 Levante
Villarreal 3-1 Rayo
Day 28 - Mar 17

 

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