La Liga Weekly Round-Up: Real Madrid and Barcelona both score late to maintain impressive starts –

The weekend of action in Spain began under ominous clouds – quite literally, with a red weather warning in place in large parts of the country, as most regions were battered by storms and heavy rain.
However, initially the torrid downpours had no impact on the football with Cadiz hosting Villareal in an entertaining match as the weekend’s opener. 
Rafa Benitez’s Celta Vigo finally secured their first victory of the season, with a tight contest seeing Williot Swedberg score the late winner which in turn was his first goal for the Galician side. 
Saturday’s first afternoon game in San Sebastian gave an idea of the rain to come, however, it failed to dampen Real Sociedad's spirits, with the Blue and Whites impressing in a 5-3 victory.
While those playing elsewhere had to brave the elements, that was not the case in Madrid, where Los Blancos played in their newly renovated Santiago Bernabeu, which now has a retractable roof to keep their superstar players dry and warm.
With other games continuing to be played, just the one was called off on Sunday. Atlético Madrid’s home tie against Sevilla was postponed for another day, with the Wanda Metropolitano not having the same luxury as their city neighbours. 
The final fixture of the weekend saw Xavi’s Barcelona head to El Sadar where they ran out eventual 2-1 winners courtesy of Lewandowski's 25th La Liga strike. 
Cádiz 3-1 Villareal 
With Barcelona coming back to beat Villareal at the Estadio de la Cerámica last week, Quique Setién’s side were left looking for redemption. However, El Submarino Amarillo would not find it in Cádiz, with the southern Spanish side condemning Villareal to their third loss of the season. 
Villareal started brightly, and when Isaac Carcelén played a poor backpass towards the direction of his goalkeeper, Villarreal took the lead. Alexander Sorlorth nicked the ball ahead of Jeremias Ledesma before finishing into an empty net to claim his second goal of the season.
However, Villareal’s lead lasted for just eight minutes. Darwin Machís played in a deep cross towards the backpost where it landed at the feet of Rubén Alcaraz who fired goal bounds for his shot to be saved before Chris Ramos arrived to turn the rebound home.
From then on it was a downfall of their own making, with Alfonso Pedraza firing the ball into Isaac Carcelén on the floor before attempting to headbutt Iván Alejo, which saw him rightfully dismissed in the 22nd minute. 
The next big error was made when Villareal goalkeeper, Filip Jörgensen, came marauding off his line to take down Ramos, with the subsequent spotkick converted by Machís.
The best and final goal came in the 50th minute, when Machís expertly cut inside to bend the ball round into Jörgensen’s goal from far outside the box, with the right-footed effort doubling Machís tally for the afternoon in what was a fine performance by both him and Cadíz.
Almería 2-3 Celta de Vigo 
With both clubs going into Friday evening’s game winless, there was emphasis on both sides to claim their first three points of the season. 
Rafa Benitez’s Celta Vigo started brightly, with Unai Nuñez nodding in from a looping set piece in the 23rd minute to take the lead. Eight minutes later, the Galician side’s advantage was doubled when Luca de la Torre won the ball high up the pitch before finding Jørgen Strand Larsen who bent the ball into the far corner with a right-footed effort.
Almería were not down and out yet, however, with Segio Akieme halving the deficit after Celta had got themselves in a muddle defensively. Eighteen minutes later, excellent work from Largie Ramazani on the left-hand side saw Segio Arribas teed up for a tap-in to level the game. 
Both sides continued to threaten, with Ibrahima Koné and Alejandro Pozo having the best chances to give Almería the lead when both were played through on goal. However, Almería’s chances were spurned and in the 87th minute Celta capitalised when Williot Swedberg sent a thumping header into the goal to get the Rafa Benitez era up and running. 
Real Sociedad 5-3 Granada 
On the week that Real Sociedad learnt their Champions League opponents, in the form of Benfica, Inter Milan and RB Salzburg, there was a chaotic game at the Anoeta, with an eight-goal thriller seeing Sociedad maintain their unbeaten start to the league. 
Takefuso Kubo got La Real up and running when Brais Méndez slid through an excellent ball to Kubo who used his strength to hold off the Granada defender before firing it into the bottom corner to provide a bit of life to what was a rain-soaked arena. 
Granada found the equaliser, in the 35th minute, when Robin Le Normand directed a Gerard Gumbau corner into the back of the net with the ball rather unfortunately flying in off of his calf. 
However, La Real continued to push, in what was an impressive showing from the hosts, and eventually retook the lead just before half-time. Kubo found the ball on the edge of the box before delicately looping the ball into the far top corner, with a deflection adding to the dip, handing the advantage back to La Real ahead of the break. 
Sociedad only improved after the break, and would score three goals in the second half to go 5-1 up. Martin Zubimendi scored the third from a fine outside of the box effort, the fourth was just as good with Martin Oyazabal threading the ball through to Ander Barrenetxea with an excellent flick for the player to fire into the gaping net. 
The fifth and final goal for La Real would come through a piece of fortune with Mikki Bosch seeing his attempted block from a Kubo pass go into the net. While Granada would score two well-taken goals from debutant Lucas Boyé and Bryan Zaragoza, which helped to narrow the deficit, it was a thoroughly dominant display from Imanol Alguacil’s side to claim their first victory of the season. 
Real Madrid 2-1 Getafe 
On Real Madrid’s return to the newly refurbished Santiago Bernabeu, expectation was high to see the renovated building christened with a dominant win. Los Blancos went into Saturday’s afternoon game without the injured Vinicius, with Joselu coming in to replace the Brazilian while Luka Modric stepped in for Fede Valverde. 
The game began in a surprising fashion when a mistake from Fran Garcia saw his back pass end up at the feet of Borja Mayoral, who raced round Kepa to fire the ball into the empty net and in turn stun Los Blancos
With the lead, Getafe sat deep and allowed Madrid to have plenty of the ball, with Modric’s diving header from Fran Garcia the closest to levelling the game. However, Los Blancos started the second half in the best possible way with Joselu hammering home from sloppy Getafe defending to equalise. 
Real Madrid continued to dominate, with Kroos smashing the post off an excellent long range effort before forcing David Soria into a good stop off of the subsequent rebound.
As the clock ticked away, hope was running out for Real Madrid. However, when David Soria spilled Lucas Vazquez’s rifled effort it was Jude Bellingham who stepped up yet again to rifle in the rebound and provide his sixth goal contribution in four games to give Carlo Ancelotti’s side all three points. 
Alavés 1-0 Valencia CF 
The game at Mendizorroza started with some early drama when Giorgi Mamardashvili came racing off his line to inadvertently take out Luis Rioja. However, Mamardashvili remedied his mistake, saving both penalty attempts from Kike Garcia after the referee had ruled for a retake due to encroachment.
However, Valencia’s optimism was short-lived when Ruben Duarte played a ball into the box with Cenk Özkacar bundling the ball into his own net to hand Aláves the advantage in the sixth minute.
The game continued to ebb and flow, with neither side stamping their authority on the game. Valencia’s Diego López had the best chance of the game to equalise, however, the forward could only fire a tame effort goalwards, with the game eventually petering out for both sides to be left on six points.
Real Betis 1-0 Rayo Vallecano 
Ahead of Saturday evening’s game between Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano, both teams were heading into the clash on the back of heavy defeats. Last weekend saw Betis take a two-goal lead at the San Mames before Athletic went and scored four to comfortably take all three points. 
Meanwhile, Rayo Vallecano suffered a rout against neighbours Atlético Madrid, with a 7-0 scoreline the end result. 
In a tightly contested first half, there were few chances to speak of, with Juan Miranda for Betis and Isi Palazón for Rayo trying their luck early on from long distance to no avail. The best passage of play came from the home side, with Rodri cutting in on the right-hand side before finding Isco with the ball eventually landing to an incoming Ayoze Perez who unfortunately for Betis could not control the ball and get a shot away. 
A dull first half led the way to a second half that had considerably more attacking intent. Isco continued to impress with the former Real Madrid midfielder slamming the ball against the post from a narrow angle inside the box. 
The breakthrough came in the 53rd minute, when Betis’ Willian José lined up a free kick from the edge of the box. The Brazilian striker hit the ball up and over the wall, seeing it fly into the net much closer to the centre of the goal than the top corner, an effort Stole Dimitrievski will be annoyed he did not save.
With Betis having the advantage, the emphasis was on Francisco’s Rayo to come up with a way to get back into the game, however, it never looked like happening with Manuel Pelligrini’s side the more dominant throughout.
Girona 1-0 Las Palmas 
Girona maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a narrow victory, the third win on the bounce for Miguel Muñoz’s side.
Meanwhile, for Las Palmas, Sunday’s defeat represented their continued poor form in front of goal with the side from the Canaries failing to score a goal from open play yet this campaign – with Jonathan Viera’s penalty against Mallorca on the opening day of the season their only goal so far.
Pejiño had the best chance for Las Palmas in the first half, with the Spanish forward being played in on goal to only fire into the legs of Paulo Gazzaniga who got down well to keep the tie level inside the opening five minutes.
Girona grew into the game and in the 30th minute, Cristian Stuani found space in the box to poke the ball past Álvaro Valles. However, the goal was disallowed for a marginal offside and the game remained level.
On the stroke of half-time, a Girona corner found Stuani yet again, with the player volleying in from close range. Unfortunately for Los Gironistes, once more the referee ruled the goal out, citing a foul in the build-up from Diego López, and by the skin of their teeth, Las Palmas were still in the game. 
Girona continued to work hard, and in the 88th minute a deserved breakthrough finally came. Miguel Gutieérez beat his man to play a deep cross in to the box, with a pink-haired Yan Couto directing the ball back across the six-yard box to find Portú who nodded the ball in, allowing Girona to claim a much warranted victory over their struggling opponents. 
R.C.D Mallorca 0-0 Athletic 
Sunday’s late afternoon game between Mallorca and Athletic was the only tie of the weekend to end goalless, with 23 goals scored across the seven previous games. 
Ernesto Valverde’s side arguably went the closest when Oihan Sancet wriggled free in the box to fire just wide of the goal. Nico Williams was the next to go the closest for the Basque team when he cut inside to only see his effort fail to trouble Predrag Rajković.
In the 48th minute, Mallorca thought they had found the opener when Muriqí headed the ball down onto the leg of an unwilling Dani Vivian who directed the ball into his own net. However, what would have been a rather fortunate goal for Mallorca was ruled out due to Muriqí taking up an offside position. 
In the closing stages, both sides had chances to take the lead but poor finishing was on show in what was a drab affair at the Iberostar Stadium.
Osasuna 1-2 Barcelona 
Ahead of Barcelona's game against Osasuna, much of the debate surrounded the two new additions to Barcelona's squad, with highly anticipated moves for both Joa Cancelo and Joa Felix being finalised in time for a place on the bench against Los Rojillos.
Barcelona began in imposing style with Frenkie De Jong hitting the post inside the opening minute as the Catalonian side dominated on the ball.
However, it was Osasuna who should have taken the lead when Juan Areso pulled the ball back for Aimar Oroz who was denied by a fabulous stop from Andre Ter Stegen.
On the stroke of halftime, Jules Kounde found the opener for his side when he lept the highest from an Ilkay Gundogan corner to direct the ball past Aitor into the Osasuna goal.
With few chances in the second half, it was Osasuna who equalised and in excellent style. Chimy Avila gathered the ball outside the box before making room for himself in a heavily congested area and smashing it with his left boot off the post and into the net, past a motionless Ter Stegen.
With the game level, referee Miguel Ortez swung it back into Barca's favour. Ortez ruled that Lewandowski had been brought down inside the box with Alejandro Catena pulling him back. With Lewandowski ready to take the penalty, the referee halted proceeding, going over to the VAR monitor where after a lengthy check he reentered the field of play to rather harshly send Catena off.
Lewandowski converted the subsequent penalty calmly, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to give his side all three points in what was a tightly contested game at the El Sadar.
Goal of the week: Chimy Ávila vs Barcelona
This week’s goal of the week goes to Chimy Ávila for his excellent strike against Xavi's Barcelona. Ávila returned from his suspension in style to hit a shot full of power and precision into the net, smashing off the inside of the post in the process. 
Stat of the week: 
Joselu’s equaliser on his return to Real Madrid against Getafe was the first time the player had scored in the club’s shirt since the penultimate day of the 2010-11 season, in which he hit the back of the net in an 8-1 thrashing of Almería. A result which allowed Los Blancos to finish off the campaign as the highest goalscoring team with 102 goals. 
Bonus stat: Both Real Sociedad’s Takefuso Kubo and Real Betis’ Isco secured their fourth Man of the Match awards in as many games, with the latter enjoying an impressive run of form after a six month sabbatical from the game.
Skill of the week:
Matchweek Four’s skill of the week had to come from the build-up to Real Sociedad’s fourth goal against Granada in their rampant win. Ander Barrenetxea found Zubimendi who fired the ball into Martin Oyarzabal with the Spanish forward delicately flicking it through with his left boot to set up his teammate in a swift passage of play. 


Leave a Comment