|Champions League final||Juventus v Real Madrid||3 Jun|
|Second division||Day 41||4 Jun|
|Friendly international||Spain v Colombia||7 Jun|
|World Cup qualifier||Macedonia v Spain||11 Jun|
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Girona are just a point away from direct promotion to the first division despite losing 3-1 to regional neighbours Nàstic on Sunday evening. The Catalans are now five points clear of Getafe after the Madrid based side were beaten 1-0 by Valladolid on Saturday, and with the head-to-head goal difference in their favour, a draw in either of their last two games would be enough to take them up for the first time in their history. Getafe stay in third place though, a point ahead of Tenerife, who won 1-3 at Alcorcón, and three in front of Cádiz, who saved a late point in a 3-3 draw at Sevilla Atlético. Valladolid’s victory keeps them in the play-off spots, still a point above Huesca, who won 1-0 against Lugo.
The fight to avoid the four relegation places is still very tight, with up to ten teams not out of danger yet. Bottom club Mirandés are down though after they lost 2-0 at Almería, and Elche and Mallorca are both struggling after draws against Reus and Numancia respectively. Nàstic’s win takes them out of the bottom four however, Alcorcón replacing them in the drop zone. Meanwhile the play-offs for promotion from the second division B are taking place, Lorca FC and Cultural Leonesa the first two teams to confirm their places in next season’s competition. (28.05.17)
Barcelona are champions of the Spanish cup for the third season in a row after they beat Alavés 3-1 on Saturday evening! The Vitoria based side were playing their first Copa del Rey final in their history, and Ibai Gómez hit the post before Messi opened the scoring on the half hour mark. Theo Hernández equalized though with a well struck free kick just three minutes later, but with half time approaching Neymar restored the lead, and just before the break Alcácer added a third following a good run by Messi. No more goals after that, and a first title of the season for Luis Enrique in his last game in charge before moving on to pastures new. (27.05.17)
Real Madrid are league champions for the 33rd time in their history after they beat Málaga 0-2 on Sunday night! Zidane’s side needed at least a draw to stay ahead of Barcelona, but with only two minutes gone Ronaldo gave them the lead, and some ten minutes in to the second half Benzema wrapped things up with the second. Barcelona themselves came back from two goals down to beat Eibar 4-2, although their efforts were all in vain. Inui put the visitors two up, but Juncà put through his own net with just over an hour gone, and Luis Suárez levelled the score before Messi scored twice to give his team the three points. Earlier in the evening Villarreal made sure of fifth place after a 1-3 victory at Valencia, and Real Sociedad take the second of the Europa League spots after a last minute 2-2 draw at Celta. Athletic Bilbao drop to seventh though after a 3-1 defeat at third placed Atlético, and they have to wait for the result of next weekend’s cup final to see whether they get the third Europa League place or not. (21.05.17)
Four more matches on Saturday, fourth placed Sevilla rounding off their season with a 5-0 win over next to bottom club Osasuna, Vitolo and Franco Vázquez got two each and Jovetic was also on the scoresheet in what was Sampaoli’s last game in charge before taking over as the Argentina national coach. The early evening had been reserved for the battle to avoid the last relegation spot, but as Sporting Gijón went down last weekend, there was nothing left to decide. Sporting themselves drew 2-2 with Betis in their last game, and Deportivo and Leganés both celebrated their survival, the Galicians beating Las Palmas 3-0, and the Madrid based side drawing 1-1 with cup finalists Alavés. (20.05.17)
The last weekend of the season, with the league title and the Europa League spots still to be decided. All of that takes place on Sunday though, but before the big day several games have been scheduled between teams with nothing to play for but pride (and possibly a bit of extra income from television rights!). The first of those was on Friday night between the already relegated Granada and their visitors Espanyol, the Catalans running out 1-2 victors to move up to eighth pending the rest of the weekend matches. All the goals came in the first quarter of the game, Leo Baptistao opening the scoring and then crossing in for Rubén Vezo to put through his own net, and Andreas Pereira getting one back for the locals. A sad end for the Andalusians though after six years in the top flight, and a disappointment for coach Tony Adams, whose side have failed to pick up a single point since he took over seven games ago. (19.05.17)
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui named his 25 man squad for the upcoming friendly game against Colombia and World Cup qualifier against Macedonia. There were only three changes from the previous call-up, Kepa, Sergi Roberto and Marco Asensio replacing Sergio Rico, Javi Martínez and Ander Herrera. Kepa, Asensio and Deulofeu have also been included in the under 21 squad for the European championships which take place later in June, and Valencia’s Carlos Soler has been called up for the first time at this level. Full squads as below. (19.05.17)
Keepers: Kepa (Athletic Bilbao), De Gea (Manchester United), Reina (Napoli);
Defenders: Monreal (Arsenal), Jordi Alba, Piqué and Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid);
Midfielders: Koke (Atlético Madrid), Busquets and Iniesta (Barcelona), Thiago (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Isco and Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Illarramendi (Real Sociedad), Vitolo (Sevilla);
Forwards: Deulofeu (AC Milan), Diego Costa and Pedro (Chelsea), Iago Aspas (Celta), Morata (Real Madrid).
Under 21 squad:
Keepers: Kepa (Athletic Bilbao), Rubén Blanco (Celta), Pau López (Tottenham);
Defenders: Bellerín (Arsenal), Yeray (Athletic Bilbao), Grimaldo (Benfica), Jonny (Celta), Vallejo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Jorge Meré (Sporting Gijón), Gayà (Valencia);
Midfielders: Marcos Llorente (Alavés), Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético Madrid), Denis Suárez (Barcelona), Dani Ceballos (Betis), Mikel Merino (Borussia Dortmund), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Carlos Soler (Valencia);
Forwards: Deulofeu (AC Milan), Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Sandro (Málaga), Borja Mayoral (Wolfsburg).
With Bellerín, Marcos Llorente, Mikel Merino and Denis Suárez still involved in club competitions, and with Kepa, Marco Asensio and Deulofeu all initially called up to the senior squad, the following six players will join the group for pre-tournament training: Pape Cheikh (Celta), Alfonso Pedraza (Leeds United), Javi Ontiveros (Málaga), Aleix García (Manchester City), Pol Lirola (Sassuolo) and Rodri (Villarreal).
Final: Ajax v Manchester United
A brave fight by Celta, but in the end they fell a goal short of reaching their first ever European final after a 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Thursday. The single goal win from the first leg had given Mourinho’s side the advantage, and with just over a quarter of an hour gone Fellaini put them further in front with a header from Rashford’s centre. Roncaglia made it all square though following a corner with five minutes to go, and another away goal would have taken the Galicians through. Bailly and Roncaglia were sent off however as tempers frayed, and Guidetti missed a last minute chance to win it. For the first time in four years there will be no Spanish side in the final, Manchester United’s opponents in Solna being Ajax after they knocked out Olympique Lyon in the other semi-final. (11.05.17)
First leg: Celta 0 - Manchester United 1
Real Madrid will be defending their Champions League title in Cardiff after a 4-2 aggregate win over city rivals Atlético in their semi-final tie! For a short while it looked as if Simeone’s side might do the impossible and overturn the three goal deficit from the first leg, Saúl Ñíguez heading in a corner and Griezmann converting a penalty with only a quarter of an hour on the clock. However with the first half coming to a close Isco scored a vital away goal, and Atleti were never going to get the three they needed after that. Madrid’s opponents in the final will be Juventus after they knocked out Monaco on Tuesday evening. (10.05.17)
First leg: Real Madrid 3 – Atlético Madrid 0
Spain beat France 0-2 in their latest friendly fixture in Paris, a game in which the newly introduced “Video Assisted Refereeing” system played a big part. Only a minute after the restart a headed goal by France’s Griezmann was belatedly ruled out by VAR, and midway through the second half German referee Felix Zwayer waved away appeals by the locals to use the technology after he awarded a penalty for a foul in the area by Koscielny on substitute Deulofeu, David Silva firing home the resulting spot kick. Ten minutes later Deulofeu turned in a Jordi Alba cross only for Zwayer to disallow the goal at first, but once again the decision was over-ruled on video evidence. The right result in the end then, and proof that the system works, even if it needs a few finishing touches. Spain certainly won’t be complaining! (28.03.17)
Spain’s under 21 side clocked up a second victory in four days after they beat Italy 1-2 in Roma’s Olympic Stadium. The youngsters started well, Borja Mayoral testing Scuffet a couple of times in the opening minutes. And although Pau López had to save from Berardi soon afterwards, Saúl Ñíguez fired home the opener after the local keeper pushed out a shot from Denis Suárez with ten minutes to go to the break. Some four minutes later Mayoral headed the second after a defender headed back a Marco Asensio corner, and with half time approaching Scuffet saved again from Saúl. A minute after the restart though Benassi came up against Pau López and then fired the rebound against the bar, but a few minutes later Asensio also hit the woodwork at the other end. With twenty minutes to go Pellegrini headed one back for the hosts after Berardi laid the ball across, but Spain closed up shop after that to ensure a win against another of the teams who will be competing with them in the European finals this summer. (27.03.17)
Spain stay top of their group, ahead of Italy on goal difference, after a 4-1 victory over Israel on Friday night. Thiago hit the bar with a long shot before David Silva opened the scoring after Jordi Alba set him up with just under a quarter of an hour gone. However the visitors came close to levelling it a couple of times before the break, the first a shot by Zahavi just past the post after he intercepted a poor Alba back pass, and the second a header from Refaelov which De Gea pushed away for a corner. With half time approaching though Vitolo forced a shot past Marciano to make it two, and Diego Costa missed an easy chance before he headed in a Thiago corner for the third some six minutes in to the second half. Silva should have scored again soon afterwards when he volleyed a shot against the upright, and although Refaelov fired one back after Gershon headed a free kick against the post, Isco combined with Costa and Aspas to wrap things up near the end. (24.03.17)
That’s it, the winter transfer window closed at midnight last night, and no more moves will be allowed (except for injuries or players who are unemployed) until the end of the season! In the end Barcelona decided to keep the squad they had at the start of the campaign, and with Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid banned by FIFA, it was left to other teams to lead the market (although Real did loan Lucas Silva out to Cruzeiro). Sevilla only made one addition though since our last report, Walter Montoya joining after Hiroshi Kiyotake moved back to Japan to free up a non-EU spot. Kiyotake’s international team-mate Shibasaki (the local hero from the Club World Cup final) will be coming to Spain to join Tenerife however after a possible move to Las Palmas fell through, the Canary Islanders preferring to bring Halilovic and local boy Jesé back to Spain. Elsewhere Celta’s Orellana made the switch to Valencia, Celta replaced the Chilean international with their third Danish player, Hjulsager, and Leganés brought in four new men on the last day before the window shut. For more details on these and other transfers follow the above link. (01.02.17)
|Date||Player (Country)||Old club||New club||Position/Comments|
|31/01/17||Jesé||Paris Saint Germain (FRA)||Las Palmas||FW Finally got his wish! Emery doesn't want him, so have agreed loan deal for him to return to home town club.|
|31/01/17||Orellana (CHL)||Celta||Valencia||MF Fell out with Berizzo, so has agreed loan move to Mestalla with €3 Mio obligatory buy-out clause.|
|31/01/17||Lucas Silva (BZL)||Real Madrid||Cruzeiro (BZL)||MF Summer move to Sporting Lisbon fell through due to heart problems, but has recovered and agrees 18 month loan.|
As usual, there was a round of regional and friendly fixtures during the short winter break. Catalonia and Euskadi both played Tunisia, the former losing on penalties in Girona, and the latter winning 3-1 in the San Mamés stadium. Meanwhile the UNICEF Champions For Life charity game took place in Sevilla between sides from Andalusia and the league, and Atlético Madrid played an invitation match against Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia. (30.12.16)
Real Madrid are World champions for the second time after they beat Kashima Antlers 2-4 in this year’s final in Yokohama! The Liga side were clear favourites, and they appeared to be on track for an easy win when Benzema opened the scoring in only the ninth minute after Sogahata could only push out a shot from Modric. However just before the break Shibasaki levelled the scores with a shot on the turn past Keylor Navas, and some seven minutes in to the second half the team captain got his second of the match with a long shot wide of the Costa Rican keeper. Ronaldo made it all square again from the penalty spot after Yamamoto brought down Lucas Vázquez a few minutes later, but with full time approaching the locals failed to convert two or three chances to win it. However in the first half of extra time Ronaldo scored twice from Benzema and Kroos assists to complete another hat-trick and give Zinedine Zidane his third international title since taking over from Rafa Benítez just under a year ago. (18.12.16)
Semi-final: Real Madrid 2 – Club América 0
LaLiga and the sports paper Marca have combined to set up a Spanish Fantasy Football game. This looked like good fun, so Soccer-Spain have set up a couple of private leagues for our readers to participate in. Details of how to join at the above link. (24.08.16)
Barcelona won the Spanish Supercup, a 3-0 victory over Sevilla giving them their twelfth title since the competition started in 1982. Looking to overturn the 0-2 scoreline from the first leg, the visitors came out strongly at first, Bravo having to save from Ben Yedder and Ganso going close. However soon afterwards Messi put Arda Turan through to open the scoring, and Messi volleyed a shot just wide minutes later. With half an hour gone the Andalusians had a chance to get back in the match when Umtiti handled in the area, but Bravo guessed correctly and saved Iborra’s spot kick, and with the first half coming to a close Ben Yedder headed another chance against the bar. Just two minutes after the restart though Turan latched on to a loose ball outside of the area to lob a shot over the head of Sergio Rico, and the Turkish midfielder missed a chance for a hat-trick before Messi headed in Digne’s cross for the third. An injury to Mascherano shortly after Luis Enrique had made his last substitution left the locals with ten men for the last quarter of an hour, but by then the tie was all but over. (17.08.16)
First leg: Sevilla 0 - Barcelona 2
The pre-season is coming to an end at last, and in four days time the new season begins again. Most of the big summer tournaments are over, with Málaga winning Cádiz’s Ramón de Carranza trophy, Deportivo and Recreativo retaining their own Teresa Herrera and Colombino trophies, and many teams participating overseas in the LFP World Challenge. Barcelona beat Sampdoria in their own Gamper Cup, and the only major trophy left to decide is Real Madrid’s “Trofeo Bernabeu”, with France’s Stade Reims invited to the Spanish capital tomorrow. (15.08.16)
Trondheim, Norway. The new season kicked off with the all-Spanish European Super Cup, Champions League winners Real Madrid beating Europa League victors Sevilla 3-2 thanks to a strike by Dani Carvajal in the last minute of extra time! The game got off to a slow start, and there was little action until Marco Asensio (a surprise inclusion in Zidane’s starting line-up despite the absence of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema) picked up a ball outside of the area to curl a shot over Sergio Rico in to the net. Kiko Casilla had to save from Carriço a few minutes later though, and with five minutes to go to the break Franco Vázquez equalized with a snap shot from the edge of the area after Vitolo pulled down a cross from the right wing. Midway through the second half Konoplyanka gave the Andalusians the lead from the penalty spot after Sergio Ramos fouled Vitolo in the area, and it looked like they were heading for a victory until Ramos headed in a Lucas Vázquez centre with the match already in time added on. That took the tie into extra time, and just two minutes later Sampaoli’s side were left with ten men when Kolodziejczak picked up a second booking. Rico kept out efforts from James, Lucas and Casemiro however, and Ramos had a strike ruled out for what the referee considered to be a previous foul. But with a penalty shoot-out looming, Carvajal cut a swathe through a tired defence to steer a shot past Rico for the winner. For the second season in a row Sevilla had been beaten at the last hurdle, and Madrid have their first trophy of the new campaign . (09.08.16)
|League champions||Real Madrid|
|Spanish cup winners||Barcelona|
|Promoted to the first division||Levante + 2 TBD|
|Relegated to the second division A||Sporting Gijón, Osasuna, Granada|
|Promoted to the second division A||Cultural Leonesa, Lorca FC + 2 TBD|
|Relegated to the second division B||Mirandés + 3 TBD|
|Champions League||Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla|
|Europa League||Villarreal, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao|
|European Super Cup||TBD|
|Club World Cup||TBD|
|Day 38 - May 21|
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