|Europa League qualifier||Real Sociedad v Aberdeen||31 Jul|
|European Supercup||Real Madrid v Sevilla||12 Aug|
|First division||Week 1||23-25 Aug|
New season fixtures
The fixtures for the new league season were announced today, with the opening games as below to be played the weekend of 23/24 August (except where marked). We will be publishing the full fixture list later on, but meanwhile you can see the full details at www.lfp.es. (24.07.14)
Sevilla v Valencia
Almería v Espanyol
Celta v Getafe
Real Madrid v Córdoba (25 Aug)
Eibar v Real Sociedad
Rayo Vallecano v Atlético Madrid (25 Aug)
Granada v Deportivo
Barcelona v Elche
Levante v Villarreal
Málaga v Athletic Bilbao
The summer transfer window is open again, and clubs have until the end of August to build up their new squads. The latest moves are set out below, and you can follow all the transfer news at the above link (subscribers only). (23.07.14)
|Date||Player (Country)||Old club||New club||Position/Comments|
|23/07/14||Mathieu (FRA)||Valencia||Barcelona||DF Gave in to Ches' demands & paid €20 Mio buy out clause for him. Player signs for 4 years.|
|23/07/14||Michel||Valencia||Getafe||MF Returned to Mestalla last summer after spell at Levante, but didn't play much and has agreed two year loan deal.|
|23/07/14||Brahimi (ALG / FRA)||Granada||Porto (POR)||MF Another World Cup star on his way! Lopetegui paying €6.5 Mio to take him to Portugal.|
All teams are now back in pre-season training, with the first of the friendly games already under way. Basque sides Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao were the first to kick off, both having to get through tricky European qualifiers before the season starts at the end of August, and they play several matches before their international commitments. Several teams will be taking part in the LFP World Challenge this summer, with games against opposition around the world to promote Spanish football, and there will be usual summer tournaments, with Recreativo bringing forward their Colombino trophy to allow Barcelona to take part. New coach Luis Enrique had to put out a makeshift line-up with most of his international players still on holiday after the World Cup, but they still managed to win the trophy thanks to a second half strike from Joan Román. Over a month to go though before the new season officially kicks off, and you can follow all of the pre-season results following the above (subscriber only) link. (20.07.14)
The World Cup is finally over, and it’s back to planet Earth for most of us. The transfer window is already in full swing though, and although several transactions are awaiting the return of “The Gods” from Mount Maracaná, many big deals have already gone through. Barcelona in particular have been very active since our last report, new coach Luis Enrique completing the clean-out with the sale of Dos Santos, Cuenca, Tello, Oier and of course Alexis, thereby freeing up the number nine shirt for Liverpool’s Luis Suárez.
As everybody knows though, Don Luis will not be available to play for his new team until the beginning of November after his ill-advised nibble at Chiellini’s shoulder, unless Barça’s formidable legal team can convince FIFA otherwise. Real Madrid meanwhile are waiting for Kroos to confirm his arrival, and they are also eyeing up James (Ham-ess as he likes to be known) after his great performance in the “Mundial”. Somebody will have to move on however to make room, with Di María and Khedira the two main candidates right now, and Morata already deciding to take up an offer from Juventus.
Elsewhere Atlético are having to reconstruct their forward line after Costa, Villa and Adrián all left, Mandzukic the first man chosen to carry the mantle, and they also moved to replace goalkeeper Courtois after Mourinho carried out his threat to bring him back to Stamford Bridge, Oblak and Moyà drafted in to take over. There is still over a month to go though until the window closes, and expect many more surprises before the action begins again at the end of next month. We will be there with you to keep you informed! (15.07.14)
Spain recovered a little bit of dignity in their last match in this summer’s World Cup, a 0-3 victory over Australia at least sending them home with points on the board. Neither team had anything at stake after losing their first two games, and Del Bosque used the occasion to give a run out to the rest of his squad, with Reina, Juanfran, Albiol, Villa and later on Mata all getting their first minutes in the competition. Despite the changes though they dominated the first half, Villa volleying wide and Alba bringing a good save out of Ryan before Villa got on the end of Juanfran’s cross to open the scoring, his 59 th and probably last goal for “la selección”. With twenty minutes to go Torres scored a second after Iniesta put him through, and Mata wrapped things up with a third, steering an angled shot under the legs of the keeper after controlling a centre from Fàbregas. An unexpectedly premature end to Spain’s participation in the tournament though, and they now have to go home to get some much needed rest, and decide where they go from here. (23.06.14)
A sensational end to the play-offs, Córdoba winning promotion on the away goal rule with the last kick of the match! After a score-less draw in the first leg, Las Palmas went ahead at the start of the second half, Apoño finishing off after Raúl Bravo gifted the ball to Aranda. Two minutes in to injury time the local fans invaded the pitch mistakenly thinking that the referee had blown the final whistle. However the game eventually resumed after a long delay to clear them away, and Uli Dávila got a vital away goal to take the Andalusians up for the first time in 42 years. (22.06.14)
Second division B play-offs: Llagostera 3 - Nàstic 1 (after extra time); L'Hospitalet 1 - Leganés 1
Llagostera and Leganés promoted.
Match round-up - Second Division, Day 42
An amazing last day in the second division, with the final relegation spot in particular only being decided with virtually the last kick of the season! No less than 14 teams came in to Saturday’s fixtures not knowing which division they will be playing in next season, six fighting for the four promotion play-off spots and eight trying to avoid the drop. Two of the play-off places were decided pretty quickly, with Sporting Gijón beating Tenerife 3-0 and Murcia winning 1-0 against Real Madrid Castilla, all of the goals coming early on. Las Palmas had some problems though before running out 3-2 winners against Ponferradina, and Córdoba were forever looking over their shoulders as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Mallorca, their place only secured because the game between Sabadell and Recreativo also ended without goals. Córdoba will play Murcia and Las Palmas meet Sporting in the first legs of the semi-finals on Wednesday, with the return games next Sunday.
Incredible drama though in the relegation battle, with Mirandés going down right at the end as Alavés came back from behind to beat Jaén 2-3 in injury time. Four of the goals in that game came in the last ten minutes, the situation swapping around with each goal, but in the end a 1-0 defeat at Lugo signalled the end for Mirandés, and a Houdini-type escape for Alavés. Jaén are relegated as well, as are Castilla, but Girona saved themselves thanks to a 3-1 victory over the already promoted Deportivo, and Lugo, Ponferradina and Mallorca will also stay in the second division for another season. (07.06.14)
Real Madrid have finally won the “décima”, their tenth European league title, after beating city neighbours Atlético Madrid in a dramatic Champions League final! Both teams came in to the match on their last legs after a grueling season, Pepe and Arda Turan failing late fitness tests but Ronaldo, Benzema and Diego Costa all coming through to line up at the start (although Costa lasted less than ten minutes before he had to go off). The start was tense though, and there were few chances in the first half hour, Ronaldo testing Courtois with a long free kick and Bale intercepting a poor pass by Tiago and running on to shoot just wide. With ten minutes to go to the break however Atlético took a surprise lead, Godín looping a header over an out of position Casillas after Juanfran headed a corner back in to the penalty area.
After the restart Madrid did most of the attacking, Courtois saving from another Ronaldo free kick and Bale shooting wide a couple of times, but just when it looked as if Atlético were going to hold on, Ramos got above the defence to head Modric’s corner in to the net. That took the game into 30 minutes extra time, and with ten minutes to go Courtois could only get a hand to Di María’s shot, and the ball bounced across for Bale to head it in on the far post. Atlético were finished, and in the last three minutes Marcelo ran on to score a third, and Ronaldo made it four from the penalty spot after Gabi pushed him over in the area, his own 17 th goal of the competition this year.
A frustrated Simeone got himself sent off after the final whistle for his protests, but he has done his side proud this year, winning the league last week and seeing his team lose the European title in the last minute, as they did in their only other European cup final appearance many years ago. They will surely be back! Bragging right though go to Madrid, and Ancelotti can rest easy. He had reportedly been told that if he didn’t win this one he was out. They set the bar pretty high in the Bernabeu! (24.05.14)
Match round-up - First Division, Day 38 (final weekend)
Atlético Madrid are the new league champions! Congratulations to Simeone and his side! Valladolid and Osasuna are relegated to the second division together with Betis though after both failed to escape the bottom three on the last day.
Osasuna and Valladolid will be playing their football in the second division next season after both were relegated on the last day of the season! Osasuna started the day in next to bottom spot, and although they beat the already relegated Betis 2-1, results elsewhere went against them. Oriol Riera put the Pamplona based side ahead in the twelfth minute, provoking a landslide in the crowd after a barrier gave way which delayed the match for over half an hour (luckily without any serious injuries). The other three games taking place at the same time were halted at half time to allow them to catch up, and when play resumed Acuña made it two almost immediately. That was it though, and Chica pulled one back later on as the bad news came in from the other grounds, putting an end to a run of 14 years in the top flight. Valladolid meanwhile were at home to Granada, a team just two points ahead of them in the table. That meant that at least one of the two sides would go down, and in the end the Andalusians saved themselves with a 0-1 victory, the only goal coming when Mitrovic turned Piti’s cross past his own keeper following a set-piece free kick shortly before half time.
Getafe and Almería came in to the last weekend three points above the drop zone, and both got the results they needed to stay up. Getafe were away to local rivals Rayo Vallecano, but it was anything but a friendly encounter as Cosmin Contra’s side ran out 1-2 winners in the end. Ciprian put the visitors head before the break, but Trashorras equalized with a long free kick which bounced past keeper Julio César, and (with a negative head-to-head record against Osasuna) there were some nervous moments for the visiting fans before Ciprian converted an injury time penalty. Almería did have a better record against most of their rivals, and only a strange combination of results would have seen them down. As it was though they played out a relaxed 0-0 draw against Athletic Bilbao, who had already done their homework a couple of weeks ago to finish fourth in the league.
Two more matches on Sunday, with Villarreal beating Real Sociedad 1-2 in the mid-day kick off to snatch sixth place away from the Basque side on the head-to-head results. Giovani and Uche put them two up before Carlos Vela got a late consolation for the locals. The result was important, as Villarreal now enter the Europa League at the last qualifying stage, whereas their hosts will have to start their campaign in the earlier rounds at the beginning of August. Not that that is all too bad, as Sevilla did just that last season and still went on to win the competition. Villarreal’s victory meant that they went in to the very last game of the season already sure of fifth spot, and there was a festival atmosphere as they ran out 3-1 winners against Elche. Iborra netted two of the goals, with Jairo getting one in between, and Boakye had the honour of scoring what was the last goal of a very exciting season. (18.05.14)
Atlético Madrid are league champions after holding second placed Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in the Nou Camp on Saturday! After failing to beat Málaga last weekend, Simeone’s side needed at least a point in their last match, the first time that the top two had met in an end of season decider in over 60 years. The visitors lost Diego Costa and Arda Turan to injuries early on, and with ten minutes to go to the break Alexis smashed a shot past Courtois to open the scoring. David Villa hit the post at the start or the second half though, and a couple of minutes later Godín got on the end of Gabi’s corner to head the equalizer. Messi thought he had scored the winner later on only for the strike to be ruled out by the referee for offside, and after that Atleti held on to take their first league title in 18 years.
Barça’s draw at least gave them second place, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference even though Ancelotti’s side beat Espanyol 3-1 earlier in the evening. Ronaldo pulled out after aggravating an injury in the pre-match warm up, but Bale got the opener midway through the second half, and Morata added two more late on, with Pizzi replying for the Catalans. Elsewhere Valencia came back from a goal down to beat Celta 2-1, Feghouli and Piatti heading the goals either side of half time to overturn Iñigo López’s early strike, and on Friday Málaga ended their season with a 1-0 victory over Levante, Portillo getting the only goal on the hour mark. (17.05.14)
Sevilla are the Europa League champions after beating Benfica in a penalty shoot-out! The Andalusians had won the competition twice in the past when it was still known as the UEFA Cup, but they were up against last season’s losing finalists, who had knocked out Juventus (hosts of the final in Turin) at the semi-final stage. Reyes went close a couple of times and Moreno brought a good save out of Oblak in the first half, but Beto also had some work to do, in particular keeping out Maxi Pereira and Rodrigo shortly before the break. The Portuguese side built on that after the restart, Nico Pareja having to clear off the line from Rodrigo with the keeper beaten, and although Reyes fired a shot just wide, Beto had to be at his best to tip a long shot from Lima over the bar. The game went in to extra time though, with Beto stopping a Lima free kick and Rakitic putting Bacca clear only for him to curl a shot just wide of the post. But in the end it was down to penalties, and Beto saved spot kicks from Cardozo and Rodrigo to give his team the title. An amazing achievement, especially as the Andalusians only got in to the competition after Málaga and Rayo Vallecano were disqualified for financial reasons, and they had to enter at the early stages at the beginning of August. They are already sure of place in the Europa League next season though, and with Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid to meet in the Champions League final, there will be an all-Spanish European Supercup next summer! (14.05.14)
A wonder-goal by Gareth Bale handed Real Madrid a 1-2 victory over Barcelona, and a 19th Spanish cup title. With Cristiano Ronaldo still injured, Bale was given more responsibility, and he went close a couple of times early on before Di María opened the scoring in the tenth minute. Messi fired a shot wide and then struck a long free kick over the top either side of half time, but Bale and Benzema both failed to hit the target at the start of the second half, and Bale got the ball in the net only for referee Mateu Lahoz to rule it out for a previous foul on Pinto. Casillas had only really been tested by Marc Bartra though, and the young centre back got on the end of a Xavi corner to head the equalizer soon afterwards. It looked like the game would be going in to extra time, but with five minutes to go Bale picked up the ball in his own half and ran on past Bartra to poke a shot under Pinto for the winning goal. It was another blow for Tata Martino’s team, who in the last eight days have been knocked out of the Champions League and have thrown away their advantage in the race for the league title. A first title of the season though for Ancelotti and his boys, and who is to say they cannot complete a first ever triple this year? (16.04.14)
Summary of 2013/2014
|League champions||Atlético Madrid|
|Spanish cup winners||Real Madrid|
|Promoted to the first division||Eibar, Deportivo, Córdoba|
|Relegated to the second division A||Osasuna, Valladolid, Betis|
|Promoted to the second division A||Racing Santander, Albacete, Llagostera, Leganés|
|Relegated to the second division B||Hércules, Jaén, Castilla, Mirandés|
|Champions League||Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao|
|Europa League||Sevilla, Villarreal, Real Sociedad|
|European Super Cup||Real Madrid and Sevilla|
|Borja Pantzov and his side-kick Goran Arsic are in Poland! You can follow their latest adventures in Borja's Blog.|