All three of the newly promoted teams have got off to a good start, Girona and Getafe drawing against Atlético and Athletic earlier in the weekend, and Levante beating neighbours Villarreal 1-0 on Monday evening. The locals had the better of things throughout the ninety minutes, but the game appeared to be heading for a draw until Morales won a hotly disputed penalty off Rukavina which he himself converted with three minutes to go.
Later in the evening Eibar also won 0-1 at Málaga, Charles heading the only goal against his old side from a José Angel cross some twelve minutes in to the second half. Charles had already brought a couple of good saves out of Roberto earlier on, and Inui also tested the local keeper after the break, and Málaga’s best efforts were a couple of shots wide of the mark from Juanpi and Borja Bastón. After losing almost all of the pre-season friendly matches, local coach Michel is already under pressure to get a result. (21.08.17)
Real Madrid followed up their victories in the European and Spanish Super Cups with a 0-3 win at Deportivo on Sunday, and they start the new season where they left off, at the top of the table. Strikes by Bale and Casemiro put them two up by half time, and Kroos added a third on the hour mark after connecting with Bale’s pass. Keylor Navas had to save an Andone penalty near the end though after Dani Carvajal brought down Bruno Gama in the area, and Sergio Ramos was sent off for a second bookable offence in injury time, but Zidane’s side are already looking strong favourites for another title.
There were emotive scenes at Barcelona as players and fans paid hommage to the victims of last week’s terrorist attack (as they did in every ground this weekend). Valverde’s side bounced back though from their Super Cup defeat with a 2-0 victory against Betis, and they occupy second spot pending Monday’s games. Both goals came in a three minute period shortly before the interval, Tosca turning a Deulofeu cross in to his own net, and Deulofeu setting up Sergi Roberto for the second. The locals could have won by a bigger margin though after Messi hit the woodwork three times!
Earlier in the evening Athletic Bilbao and newly promoted Getafe shared the points in a 0-0 draw, the visitors holding on despite having Alvaro Jiménez sent off for a second bookable offence with a quarter of the game still to go. The Madrid based team felt themselves hard done by though when the referee ruled that Bergara’s early header had not fully crossed the line before Kepa got it away, but the locals could also have won it had Williams not wasted a couple of chances either side of half time. (20.08.17)
Girona were just three minutes away from a historic win against Atlético Madrid in their first ever match in the top flight, but in the end they had to settle for a more than respectable 2-2 draw. Two headed goals from Stuani before the break gave the Catalans the lead, and the visitors were left with ten men when Griezmann was sent off for insulting the referee midway through the second half. However Correa got one back with twelve minutes to go, and Giménez headed a last gasp equaliser to save a point for his team.
Sevilla can be forgiven for having their minds set on their Champions League qualifier, and a side much changed from Wednesday’s play-off first leg in Istanbul were held to a 1-1 draw by Espanyol. Lenglet put the Andalusians in front with just under half an hour gone, and Pau López had to save from Nolito and Muriel. However Leo Baptistao ran through to beat Sergio Rico (who had replaced the injured David Soria early on) and make it all square soon afterwards, and although Muriel hit the post after the interval, the locals had Banega sent off for abusing the referee near the end.
Earlier in the evening Real Sociedad came from behind to beat Celta 2-3, taking them to the top of the table pending the rest of the weekend results. New signing Maxi Gómez twice put the home side ahead, the first midway through the first half after Wass headed back Sisto’s cross, and the second following a corner soon after the break. Oyarzabal and Juanmi levelled it both times however, and Willian José got the winner near the end with a controversial penalty after Jonny brought down Vela as he was entering the area. (19.08.17)
La Liga is back after a three month lay-off, with two matches already on Friday evening. As luck would have it, Leganés and Alavés (who met on the last day of last season) opened the new programme, the Madrid based team running out 1-0 winners to at least be able to say that they topped the table for the first time in their history! The visitors could have taken the lead though had Manu García not fired an early penalty kick straight at Cuéllar after Diego Rico brought down Burgui in the area, but a few minutes later Gabriel got what was to prove the only goal after Pacheco could only push out a long free kick from Guerrero.
Later in the evening Valencia also beat Las Palmas 1-0, a good start for new coach Marcelino on his return to Spain. Zaza opened the scoring after Carlos Soler set him up with twenty minutes gone, and later in the first half the visitors were left with ten men when Halilovic was sent off for a hard tackle on Gayà. Neto was only troubled by a long shot from Jonathan Viera after the restart, and only a couple of good saves by Chichizola prevented Cancelo and Zaza from adding to the lead. (18.08.17)