Coming fixtures
Copa del Rey First round 2 Sep
U21 Euro qualifier Estonia v Spain 2 Sep
Euro 2016 qualifiers Spain v Slovakia
Macedonia v Spain
5 Sep
8 Sep
Second division Day 3 5/6 Sep
First division Day 3 11-14 Sep

Match round-up - First Division, Day 2

It seems that Eibar are determined to make the most of their reprieve from relegation this summer, and they stay joint top of the table together with Celta after a 2-0 victory over neighbours Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Mendilibar’s side went ahead with a Saúl Berjón penalty after Laporte brought down Sergi Enrich in the area some ten minutes before the break, and Adrián González made it two with a looping header from a corner with just over an hour on the clock. The defeat leaves Athletic at the bottom of the table. Atlético Madrid are just behind the top two on number of goals scored though after they beat Sevilla 0-3 later in the evening. Griezmann set up Koke for the first goal shortly before half time, Gabi made it two with a deflected shot after the restart, and substitute Jackson Martínez opened his account for his new side with a long shot near the end.

Valencia can be forgiven for concentrating on their Champions League qualifier over the last few days, but once again they were held in the league, this time drawing 1-1 against Deportivo. Both goals came before the break, Lucas Pérez putting the visitors ahead, but Negredo making it all square on the stroke of half time. Granada meanwhile picked up their first points of the season with a 1-2 victory at Getafe. An El-Arabi penalty and a shot by Success which went through the hands of keeper Guaita put the Andalusians two up at the break, but a Lafita strike with ten minutes to go gave the locals hope of saving a point. They finish next to bottom though, now below Las Palmas and Levante, who played out a fairly eventless 0-0 draw. (30.08.15)

Celta and Barcelona both won on Saturday, and they share top spot on maximum points pending the rest of the week two fixtures. Celta have the edge on goal difference though after they beat Rayo Vallecano 3-0, things swinging their way with only ten minutes gone when Nolito converted a penalty after visiting keeper Toño was sent off for bringing down Wass. Nolito added a second with a deflected shot soon after the restart, and then set up Fontàs from a free kick for the defender to score the third near the end. Earlier in the evening Barcelona won 1-0 against Málaga, their second single-goal victory in a row. The Andalusians didn’t let in a single goal in their two games against Luis Enrique’s side last season, and once again they proved a tough nut to crack until Vermaelen volleyed home the winner with twenty minutes to go.

Real Madrid ended their goal drought with a convincing 5-0 win over Betis in the last match of the evening, Bale heading the first and scoring an impressive last with a long shot in off the post, James converting a wide free kick and an overhead scissors kick either side of half time, and Benzema heading in another goal at the start of the second half. Keylor Navas also saved a second half penalty from Rubén Castro to give Rafa Benítez some breathing space. Madrid move on to four points, level with Villarreal, who came from behind to beat Espanyol 3-1 on Friday evening. Soldado scored one and set up two more for Bakambu after Caicedo had given the Catalans an early lead. Elsewhere Real Sociedad and Sporting Gijón drew 0-0 in Saturday’s opener, a second scoreless draw in a row for both teams. Pity their fans! (29.08.15)


Spanish international squads

Vicente Del Bosque named a 23 man squad today for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers with Slovakia and Macedonia. There were recalls for Mata, and Azpilicueta, with San José, Nolito and Morata (just coming back from an injury) left out. Under 21 coach Albert Celades also named his squad for the European qualifier in Estonia next Wednesday, keepers Remiro and Pau López, and forward Santi Mina, the new faces. Full squads as below. (28.08.15)

Full squad:
Keepers: De Gea (Manchester United), Casillas (Porto), Sergio Rico (Sevilla);
Defenders: Juanfran (Atlético Madrid), Jordi Alba, Marc Bartra and Piqué (Barcelona), Bernat (Bayern Munich), Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid);
Midfielders: Koke (Atlético Madrid), Cazorla (Arsenal), Busquets and Iniesta (Barcelona), Fàbregas (Chelsea), David Silva (Manchester City), Mata (Manchester United), Isco (Real Madrid), Vitolo (Sevilla);
Forwards: Diego Costa and Pedro (Chelsea), Paco Alcácer (Valencia).

Under 21 squad:
Keepers: Remiro (Bilbao Athletic), Pau López (Espanyol), Kepa (Valladolid);
Defenders: Bellerín (Arsenal), Jonny Castro (Celta), Duarte (Espanyol), Manquillo (Olympique Marseille), Gayà (Valencia), Vallejo (Zaragoza);
Midfielders: Saúl Ñíguez and Oliver Torres (Atlético Madrid), Dani Ceballos (Betis), Marco Asensio (Espanyol), José Rodríguez (Galatasaray), Denis Suárez (Sevilla), Samu Castillejo (Villarreal);
Forwards: Munir (Barcelona), Deulofeu (Everton), Santi Mina (Valencia).

Europa League, play-off round, second leg

Europa League draw

Athletic Bilbao 1 - Zilina 0

Athletic Bilbao scraped through to the league stage of the competition, although there were some nervous moments before they beat Zilina 1-0 to qualify on the away goal rule. Despite the 3-2 defeat in the first leg, the Basque side were confident of overturning the scoreline, and Beñat and Eraso tested keeper Volesak before Elustondo beat him with a shot from outside of the area midway through the first half. Beñat and Susaeta failed to convert chances either side of half time, but Herrerín had to save from Jelic before the break, and Paur and Kacer both had shots deflected wide after the restart. In the end though Valverde had to pull his men back to run down the clock, and there was relief all round when the referee blew the final whistle. (27.08.15)

First leg : Zilina 3 - Athletic Bilbao 2

Champions League qualifier, second leg

Champions League draw

Monaco 2 - Valencia 1

Valencia made it through to the league stage of the competition after beating Monaco 4-3 on aggregate in the play-off round. Once again the Ches got off to the best possible start, Subasic having to clear off the line from Mustafi before Negredo intercepted a bad back pass and ran chrough to lob an angled shot over the keeper into the far top corner of the net. The striker went close again soon afterwards, but the locals fought back, and Raggi equalized with a shot on the turn after Ryan could only punch a free kick up in the air. With a quarter of an hour to go a long free kick sneaked past everyone, and although Ryan got a hand across to keep it out, the ball came back off Carrillo for Elderson to score from close to goal (possibly in an offside position). That meant that Monaco only needed one goal to take the match to extra time, but the visitors held for a nail-biting six minutes of injury time to make it five Spanish clubs in Thursday evening's league stage draw for the first time ever. (25.08.15)

First leg : Valencia 3 - Monaco 1

Match round-up - First Division, Day 1

Eibar are the first leaders of the top flight this season after they beat Granada 1-3 in the Monday night game! The Basque side are only playing at this level after they got a reprieve against relegation thanks to Elche’s financial irregularities, but they went two goals up with first half strikes by Adrián González and Escalante. Rochina got one back after the interval, but Salva Ruíz was sent off soon afterwards, and substitute Arruabarrena wrapped things up just a minute after coming on. (24.08.15)

Even Real Madrid and Barcelona were unable to buck the low-scoring trend on the opening round of the season, Real Madrid playing out the fourth 0-0 draw of the weekend at newly promoted Sporting Gijón, and Barcelona getting some revenge at least for their Super Cup defeat with a 0-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao. Luis Suárez scored the only goal early on in the second half, but not before Iraizoz had saved a Messi penalty. Celta were in fact the only team to score more than one goal, their 1-2 win at Levante incredibly giving them top spot in the table pending the Monday night game between Granada and Eibar. Iago Aspas got the winner for the Galicians late on after a Verza free kick had cancelled out Orellana’s opener. Meanwhile Betis and Villarreal drew 1-1 in the last game of the evening, Rubén Castro levelling the scores with three minutes to go after the returning Soldado had given the visitors the lead. Given the rest of the weekend results, that actually leaves them joint fifth, in the Europa League spots. A very strange start to the new campaign! (23.08.15)

The new season began not so much with a bang but with a dull whimper, and at the half way point of the opening weekend we are yet to see a goal from open play! The scene was set on Friday evening, when local rivals Málaga and Sevilla kicked off with a 0-0 draw, and on Saturday that was followed by score-less draws between Deportivo and Real Sociedad, and then between Rayo Vallecano and Valencia. Salva Sevilla got the first goal of the new campaign, his third minute free kick making the difference as Espanyol beat Getafe 1-0. And later in the evening Atlético Madrid won 1-0 as well against newcomers Las Palmas, Griezmann also converting a free kick on the quarter hour mark to give Simeone’s side the three points. Not the start we were expecting from ostensibly the best league in the world, but then things are only just starting off. (22.08.15)


Second division

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

Latest transfers

Daily transfers - all the most recent moves

Some major transfers this week, with Chelsea getting ahead of Manchester United to sign Barcelona’s Pedro, Manchester City paying around €45 million for Valencia’s Otamendi, and Real Madrid surprising everyone by moving for Inter Milan midfielder Kovacic. We were all expecting Rafa Benítez to sign a striker, but it appears that that will not now happen, and Kovacevic’s arrival means that players will have to leave to make room. Lucas Silva will be the first of those, especially as he occupies a non-EU spot (Kovacevic has already been assigned his shirt number), but Illarramendi is probably on his way out as well, and promising youngster Marco Asensio has already agreed a loan move to Espanyol to give him playing time. Expect a brief lull in new moves now as teams concentrate on the opening league fixtures this weekend, but things will surely pick up after that, with the transfer window due to close on or around the end of this month (as usual the information given by the powers that be on the actual date and time is absolutely zip!). (22.08.15)

Date Player (Country) Old club New club Position/Comments
20/08/15 Pedro Barcelona Chelsea (ENG) FW Mou nipped in quickly as Van Gaal dithered to sign striker for €30 Mio.
20/08/15 Otamendi (ARG) Valencia Man City (ENG) DF Finally settled for fee of €45 Mio after Mangala turned down loan as part exchange.
19/08/15 Kovacic (CRO) Inter Milan (ENG) Real Madrid MF Have signed promising youngster on 6 year contract. Fee around €32 Mio.


New season transfers - first division
New season transfers - second division

New season fixtures

2015/16 fixture list - first division (revised)
2015/16 fixture list - second division

We are now seeing the real implications of these late changes for the fans. We received several e-mails from people affected by this, including the one below from a lady in Scotland who has had to change her plans twice at great personal expense. A complete disgrace! Anybody have any suggestions to help her?

"I stay in Scotland and had booked flights and accommodation for barcelona v athletico Madrid tickets for January 31st 2016. I then discovered that the game had been moved forward to 7th February so I had to rebook flights and lost £500. This now has been changed back and I am going to lose more. This is so unfair as it is my sons 16th birthday and loves Barcelona, it is all ruined as I will now need to rebook again back to the original date. I am devastated and would like to put in a complaint about this as it has all now been ruined and I cannot afford to do this."

We told you so! Following further discussions between the warring parties, it has now been decided that the calendar will be changed once again, with the week 17 round of games to be played on or around 30th December! That means that all fixtures from week 18 onwards will be changed back to the original dates that were set last month. The latest modifications (which required the approval of the players’ union AFE as this falls in the holiday break) have been made to give the Spanish squad more time to prepare the upcoming European Championships. As ever though, neither the LFP nor the RFEF have officially announced the changes, and it has been left to the local press to publish the details (see the above links). Why does the phrase “laughing stock of Europe” come to mind? (20.08.15)

PS No news either about the week 10 fixture between Getafe and Barcelona, which had provisionally been brought forward to 26th August due to Barça’s participation the Club World Cup. We have to assume therefore that this is not now going to take place!

Spanish Super Cup, second leg

Barcelona 1 - Athletic 1

Athletic Bilbao won the Spanish Super Cup after beating Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate! The 4-0 result from the first leg had virtually ended the contest, but Luis Enrique put out his strongest available side hoping for a miraculous turnaround in a packed Nou Camp. At half time it looked as if they may just do that, Piqué hitting the bar and Messi firing a free kick over the top before Luis Suárez chested back a Rakitic cross for Messi to open the scoring on the stroke of half time. But Eraso had missed a good chance shortly before that, and Bravo had to save from Susaeta and Aduríz early on in the second half as the visitors looked to score on the breakaway. Soon afterwards Barça were left with ten men when Piqué was shown a red card for insulting a linesman, and although Rakitic and Suárez went close, Aduríz took advantage of some sloppy defending to wrap things up after De Marcos headed a long punt into his path with a quarter of an hour to go. That ended Luis Enrique’s hopes of emulating Guardiola’s six cups in a calendar year, and Athletic had won their first trophy since their league and cup double way back in 1984. (17.08.15)

First leg: Athletic 4 - Barcelona 0

Pre-season fixtures

The pre-season is coming to an end at last, and in six days time the new season begins again. Most of the big summer tournaments are over, with Atlético winning Cádiz’s Ramón de Carranza trophy tonight, and many teams participating overseas in the LFP World Challenge. Barcelona beat Roma in their own Gamper Cup, and the only major trophy left to decide is Real Madrid’s “Trofeo Bernabeu”, with Galatasaray invited to the Spanish capital next Tuesday. Hopefully things will settle down once the season starts, although the league programme itself was modified only a few days ago after the superior sports council ruled to impose the LFP calendar rather than that of the RFEF, changing all the match dates from week 10 onwards and bringing the cup final forward by two weeks. Meanwhile it seems that Elche will be playing in the second division after they settled their debts with players, and for the first time in many years there were no late changes to the makeup of the regional second division B. We don’t take anything for granted though, and possible appeals by the Federation, Elche or whoever could turn everything upside down once again. This is Spain remember! (15.08.15)

European Super Cup

Barcelona 5 - Sevilla 4 (after extra time)

Barcelona won the European Super Cup for the fifth time following an incredible match in Georgia, substitute Pedro scoring the winner in extra time after Sevilla came back from 4-1 down. The first three goals all came from free kicks in the first fifteen minutes of the match, Banega putting the Andalusians ahead, bu Messi striking twice in ten minutes to turn the scoreline around. Luis Suárez had a goal ruled out for a borderline offside soon afterwards, and with the first half coming to a close Beto managed to stop the striker on a quick breakaway, only for him to pass through the legs of Krohn-Dehli for Rafinha to make it three. When Suárez himself added a fourth after Busquets intercepted a poor pass by Tremoulinas, it appeared to be all over, but just five minutes later Reyes got on the end of Vitolo’s cross to pull one back. A quarter of an hour later Gameiro closed the gap to one goal when he converted a penalty, and with ten minutes to go substitutes Immobile and Konoplyanka combined for the latter to equalize. Luis Enrique turned to the unsettled Pedro though as the match went in to extra time, and the striker fired home the winner after a first Messi free kick was blocked, and a second shot by the Argentinian forward was pushed out by Beto. Even so however Sevilla didn’t give up, and Coke and Rami both failed to convert easy chances in the dying minutes. (11.08.15)

2014 Club World Cup final: Real Madrid 2 - San Lorenzo 0

Copa del Rey, first round draw
Copa del Rey, second round draw

Under 19 European finals

Spain 2 - Russia 0

Spain’s under 19 side are champions of Europe for the seventh time in fourteen years after beating Russia 2-0 in the final! Although Luis De la Fuente’s team had lost to their opponents at the group stage, this time they left them no option, the youngsters dominating the match from start to finish. Only a couple top class saves from Mitryushkhin prevented Meré from scoring following two of the many corners, and Borja Mayoral hit the crossbar before heading the opener after the keeper could only a push a shot by Marco Asensio onto the bar shortly before half time. At the other end Sivera was only tested once by a Shaydaev header, although the result was in doubt until Asensio put substitute Nahuel away to round the keeper and wrap things up with twelve minutes to go. (19.07.15)

Other youth international games:
Under 21 / Under 18 / Under 17 / Under 16

Euro 2016 qualifier

Belarus 0 - Spain 1

Another tight win for Spain, Del Bosque’s side beating Belarus 0-1 to hold on to second spot in the table. The coach returned to his tried and tested line-up for this match after giving a run out to others in the midweek friendly, Casillas back in goal and Morata leading the attack. Pedro and Ramos brought early saves out of Gorbunov and Jordi Alba volleyed a shot over the top as the visitors dominated, but it was not until the stroke of half time that David Silva collected a long Fàbregas corner on the far post to open the scoring with an angled shot in off a defender. The hosts came out strongly after the restart, Kornilenko in particular firing a free kick wide and then bringing the save of the night out of Casillas. Gorbunov responded though deflecting a shot from Silva over the bar, and Morata missed a couple of chances to put the game to bed later on. Not the best of performances, but with Slovakia and Ukraine both winning as well they at least got the result they needed to stay on track for a place in the finals. (14.06.15)

Full and under 21 squads
Group C table
Euro 2016 fixtures
Friendly internationals

Friendly international

Spain 2 - Costa Rica 1

Spain beat Costa Rica 2-1 in a warm up game three days before their European qualifier against Belarus. There was a bit of added spice to the match as the two current Real Madrid keepers, Casillas and Keylor Navas, were in the squads, as well as the man tipped to replace them in the Madrid starting line up, De Gea, and Del Bosque gave the Manchester United number one pride of place in a starting eleven which also included debutant Aleix Vidal. It only took the Central Americans six minutes to beat him however, Venegas connecting with Joel Campbell’s cross to fire a low shot inside the near post. Just two minutes later though Paco Alcácer equalized after Fàbregas played a long ball from Sergio Ramos into his path, and on the half hour mark Fàbregas made it two after Nolito laid a long Vidal centre into the six yard box. Navas made two first class saves from Ramos after the restart, and Bartra and David Silva both went close, with Bryan Ruíz firing a shot over the top for the visitors later on as both coaches made the usual round of substitutions. A good curtain raiser though for Sunday night’s big match, and the only real complaint Del Bosque had was about some whistles from the Real Madrid supporters in the crowd when Piqué came on, protesting about his remarks during Barcelona’s triple celebration. (11.06.15)

Copa del Rey final

Athletic Bilbao 1 – Barcelona 3

Two down and one to go! Barcelona followed up their league title with a 1-3 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish cup final, and with the Champions League final coming up next week they are still on track for a historic triple. Although the match took place in the Nou Camp, Barça were designated as the away side, and half of the 100,000 fans made the trip from Bilbao to support their side. The Catalans dominated from the early stages though, Neymar connecting with Messi’s cross to find the net in the tenth minute only for referee Velasco Carballo to incorrectly rule out the strike for offside. Herrerín had to save from Luis Suárez soon afterwards though, and with twenty minutes gone Messi opened the scoring with a shot inside the near post after an amazing run from wide out on the right. Herrerín kept out Neymar and Piqué again soon afterwards, and with ten minutes to go to the break Luis Suárez set up Neymar for a second. A goal from Valverde’s side could have changed things though, and Williams fired a first time volley against the top of the bar shortly before the break. But Messi brought another good stop out of Herrerín with a well struck free kick, and with a quarter of an hour to go Messi made it three after Dani Alves set him up. With their fans behind them however Athletic kept going, and after Williams got one back with a header from Ibai’s cross there was a moment of hope. Ibai even tested Ter Stegen with a long shot, but Xavi (in his last match in the Nou Camp) almost added to the lead near the end with a free kick which hit the upright. A 27 th cup title for Barcelona though, and they go on to Berlin with their morale at a high. (30.05.15)

Summary of 2014/2015

League champions Barcelona
Spanish cup winners Barcelona
Promoted to the first division Betis, Sporting Gijón,
Las Palmas
Relegated to the second division A Elche, Almería, Córdoba
Promoted to the second division A Nàstic, Oviedo,
Athletic Bilbao B, Huesca
Relegated to the second division B Racing Santander, Recreativo, Sabadell, Barcelona B

Clubs taking part in international competitions in 2015/16 season
Champions League Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla
Europa League Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao
European Super Cup Barcelona and Sevilla
Club World Cup Barcelona

  Borja Pantzov and his side-kick Goran Arsic are in Poland! You can follow their latest adventures in Borja's Blog. Borja's Blog

First Division
Celta 3-0 Rayo
L Palmas 0-0 Levante
Sevilla 0-3 Atlético
Barcelona 1-0 Málaga
Eibar 2-0 Athletic
Getafe 1-2 Granada
Villarreal 3-1 Espanyol
R Madrid 5-0 Betis
Real Soc 0-0 Sporting
Valencia 1-1 Deportivo
Day 2 - Aug 30

Levante 1-2 Celta
Atlético 1-0 L Palmas
Málaga 0-0 Sevilla
Athletic 0-1 Barcelona
Granada 1-3 Eibar
Espanyol 1-0 Getafe
Betis 1-1 Villarreal
Sporting 0-0 R Madrid
Deportivo 0-0 Real Soc
Rayo 0-0 Valencia
Day 1 - Aug 23

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