La Liga - Matchday 2 Review
I guess there is only one place to start this week’s review of crazy La Liga action and that will be at the Estadio Nuevo Jose Zorilla, where Real Valladolid played host the Catalan Giants Barcelona.
This encounter will long be remembered for the iconic images of players lifting door-mat size pieces of turf off the ground, in a pitch described by Gerard Pique as “disgraceful” and “It was lucky no one got injured”. Amidst the madness, game itself finished with a 1-0 victory for the visitors with Ousmane Dembele netting the winner in the 55th minute. VAR correctly ruled out a Valladolid equaliser in the 92nd minute which put a further dampener on the welcome back to La Liga party this should have been for the newly promoted side.
Joining Barcelona at the top of the table and keeping their 100% record was Julien Lopetegui’s Real Madrid, who came from 1-0 down against an impressive Girona side, to run out 4-1 winners. A result that somewhat flattered Los Blancos.
Sergio Ramos, a Karim Benzema double and Gareth Bale strike all followed Borja Garcia’s brilliant opener. A game in which Luka Modric, Thibault Courtois and Raphael Varane, surprisingly, all started from the bench. Anthony Lozano was a constant threat down the right for the home side, exploiting the space unsurprisingly left by Marcelo but ultimately Real’s fire power proved too much.
Atleti gonna Atleti as the saying goes, and it was yet another 1-0 battling victory for Cholo Simeone’s side, with World Cup star Antoine Griezmann, again, proving the main man. Surprisingly, the visiotrs, Rayo Vallecano outshot their illustrious host, 13-9 with 3 on target compared to Atleti’s 2, and completed 63 more passes than last season’s Europa League winners (496-433). But as is always the case the only stat that matters is the score line, and the winner came from the grateful Griezmann who opened his account for the season, tapping home from Stefan Savics’ knockdown.
The biggest surprise of the weekend came at the RCD Stadium, where Espanyol bullied past a potential title chasing and heavy favourites Valencia, 2-0. Estaban Granero’s beauty opened the scoring, with Borja Iglesias - clubs record signing - adding a second, smashing into the roof of the net. On the plus side for Valencia and their fans is a deal for last season’s star forward Gonzalo Guedes has been struck with PSG for €40 million, potentially rising to €50 million with incentives and add-ons, for the Portuguese International to return “home” to Mestalla.
Elsewhere, there were cracking games between Real Sociedad and Leganes, as a Nabil El Zhar double rescued his side from two down in an enthralling game. Athletic Bilbao and newly promoted Huesca also played out a thrilling “Desmond”, 2-2. Similar to the Real Sociedad game, the home side found themselves 2-0 up through Susaeta and Yuri Berchiche, both assisted by the impressive Inaki Williams. Huesca showed tremendous grit and determination to claw themselves back into it, rescuing a point through Jorge Miramon and, then three minutes before the final whistle, Ezequiel Avila snatched a valuable point with one of the goals of the weekend, a stunning left foot turn and volley from outside the area. Look it up if you have time.
Week 2 results:
Getafe 2 – 0 Eibar
Alaves 0 – 0 Real Betis
Valladolid 0 – 1 Barcelona
Girona 1 – 4 Real Madrid
Levante 1 – 2 Celta Vigo
Leganes 2 – 2 Real Sociedad
Atletico Madrid 1 – 0 Rayo Vallecano
Espanyol 2 – 0 Valencia
Sevilla 0 – 0 Villareal
Athletic Bilbao 2 – 2 Huesca