Espanyol move out of the relegation spots after a 2-1 victory over Celta on Monday evening. The Catalans went two up with less than half an hour gone, Gerard Moreno shooting just wide before beating Sergio Alvarez with a shot on the turn to open the scoring in the tenth minute. Iago Aspas failed to convert a couple of chances at the other end, but midway through the first half Piatti won the ball off Cabral and worked a quick passing move with Jurado before beating the keeper again with an angled shot. With twenty minutes to go though the visitors got one back, Pione Sisto’s shot taking slight deflections off Javi Fuego and Fontàs to fly past Pau López, and there were some nervous moments for the home fans before the final whistle. (18.09.17)
The big match on Sunday was between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid, Zidane’s side running out 1-3 winners to move up to fourth, within a point of their hosts in the table. The visiting coach gave a first start to Borja Mayoral, and the Spanish under 21 international took advantage of the opportunity, opening the scoring after Sergio Ramos juggled the ball back to him with twenty minutes gone. A few minutes later Kévin Rodrigues connected with Odriozola’s cross to volley the equaliser under Keylor Navas, and soon afterwards the left back bounced a shot on to the crossbar in a virtual carbon copy of his goal. Play went up the other end however, and Kévin could only deflected Mayoral’s centre in to his own net to put the visitors back in front. Rulli had to save from Modric and Mayoral either side of the break, and with an hour on the clock Bale ran on to a long pass from Isco to lift a shot over the local keeper for the third. Agirretxe and Willian José tried their luck after that, but Asensio could have added a fourth had the referee not ruled out his strike for the positional offside of Bale.
It was a first defeat of the season for the Basque side, and they drop to third, a point below Sevilla, who won 0-1 at Girona earlier in the evening. There were few chances in a cagy first half, N’Zonzi testing Iraizoz with a volley, and Granell and Juanpe going close either side of half time. Iraizoz was in action again to keep out Muriel a couple of times after the restart, but with twenty minutes to go the Colombian striker picked up a Franco Vázquez through ball and fired a shot inside the keeper’s near post. With the game coming to an end Pere Pons put a good chance just wide of the post, and the locals could have saved a point had Granell not fired an injury time penalty against the crossbar after the referee ruled that Vázquez had fouled Kayode in the area.
Athletic Bilbao drop to sixth after they lost 1-0 at Las Palmas, a first defeat of the season for Kuko Ziganda’s side. Honours were shared in the first half, Kepa saving from Halilovic and Calleri failing to convert a couple of chances, and Chichizola keeping out Sabin and Susaeta. Sabin tested the local keeper again soon after the restart, and Laporte headed a corner over the top, and Tannane struck a long shot against the outside of the post at the other end. The game though appeared to be heading for a draw until substitute Loïc Rémy picked up a pass from Dani Castellano to fire an angled shot past Kepa, giving the Canary Islanders a first home win which takes them on to six points together with six other teams.
Villarreal also join the group on six points after they won 0-3 at Alavés in the mid-day kick-off. Barbosa had to keep out an early shot from Ibai Gómez, but with just over half an hour gone Bakambu opened the scoring with a long shot which took a deflection off Alexis to wrong-foot Pacheco. After the interval Rodri had a headed goal ruled out for offside, and soon afterwards Bacca made it two after the local keeper could only parry a shot from Samu Castillejo. With an hour on the clock Bakambu connected with Castillejo’s pass to add a third, and although alexis did head a good chance wide, Castillejo came close to a fourth when he hit the bar later on. The result leaves the Vitoria based side down at the bottom of the table with zero points, and zero goals in their favour, and that cost the job of coach Luis Zubeldia, who was fired later in the evening. (17.09.17)
Barcelona made it four wins from four after beating Getafe 1-2 on Saturday afternoon, although they had to come from behind to do so. The home side started well, Jorge Molina testing Ter Stegen and then turning a shot just wide of the post before Shibasaki volleyed in the opener after Markel Bergara headed a long ball in to his path. Up to then Barça’s best effort had been a header from Umtiti which Guaita saved comfortably, but soon after the restart the local keeper had to save from Sergi Roberto, and with just over an hour gone substitute Denis Suárez made it all square after Deulofeu (who had replaced the injured Dembélé) and Sergi Roberto combined to set him up. The locals could have restored the lead when Sergi Roberto deflected a shot from Arambarri on to the post, but with six minutes to go another substitute Paulinho ran on to Messi’s pass to score the winner.
Later in the evening Atlético Madrid finally inaugurated their new Wanda Metropolitan stadium with a 1-0 victory over Málaga, a change of venue but a result which has been their trademark over the last few years. Simeone’s side had the better of the first half, Correa and Thomas firing shots over the top and Griezmann and Correa bringing good saves out of Roberto, although ex Atleti striker Borja Bastón could have put the Andalusians in front had Oblak not kept him out shortly before the break. The introduction of Carrasco at half time livened things up, the Belgian international firing a shot wide, and creating chances for Saúl which Roberto dealt with more or less with ease. With an hour gone though Griezmann connected with Correa’s cross to open the scoring, and Oblak produced the save of the night in the dying minutes from Diego Rolán to ensure a win which takes his side up to third, and leaves the visitors down at the bottom of the table.
Elsewhere city rivals Levante and Valencia drew 1-1 in the lunchtime kick-off, a result which leaves both unbeaten and level on points in the middle of the table. Raúl Fernández had to save from Carlos Soler before Rodrigo headed Marcelino’s team in front from Pereira’s return cross, and only another good save from Raúl prevented Soler from making it two. With five minutes to go to the break however Bardhi picked up a poor clearance from a Pedro López centre to level the scores, and Jason came close to giving the hosts the lead when he shot wide after Neto could only push out a shot from Campaña. After the interval Rodrigo lobbed an effort just over the top, and Soler had another long effort saved by Raúl, but in the end both sides settled for a draw.
Meanwhile Betis beat Deportivo 2-1 later in the evening, the result taking the hosts in the top half of the table, and leaving the Galicians on the brink of the drop zone with only one point from four games. Tello fired a shot just wide before Joaquín headed the opener after Pantilimon could only push out a header from Sergio León midway through the first half. However Celso Borges rattled the crossbar with a long shot a few minutes later, and the rebound fell to Fede Cartabia, who drilled a low shot past Adán to make it all square. Pantilimon had to keep out Tello, Guardado and Sergio León either side of the interval, and referee Undiano Mallenco awarded a penalty to Durmisi before changing his mind on the advice of his linesman, booking the left back for diving. With a quarter of an hour to go though Joaquín fired home the winner after latching on to Guardado’s through ball to disappoint visiting coach Pepe Mel on his return to his old hunting ground. (16.09.17)
Back to reality for Leganés after their great start to the season, the Madrid based side losing 1-0 at Eibar on Friday evening. Expecting a dour battle in a rainy Ipurúa stadium, Garitano put out a much changed defensive line-up. And although the locals had the majority of play in the first half, the best chances fell to the visitors, Omar Ramos and Naranjo bringing good saves out of Dmitrovic, and Brasanac shooting wide. Shortly after the restart though Gálvez won the ball in his own half and ran on to meet Inui’s cross and steer a header past Cuéllar, and Inui, José Angel and Dani García all had chances to increase the lead later on. The result takes the Basque side level with their opponents on six points from their first four games. (15.09.17)