La Liga is back! The Spanish first division returned this weekend after its three-month break. The Big Three all picked up points, new boys debuted, and of course, there was controversy. Let’s round it up!
– Barcelona 3-0 Elche
Last year’s runners-up started the season in fine form, I’d say. Lionel Messi scored twice as ten-men Barça ran riot on the Valencian side. La Masia product Munir El Haddadi scored the other goal for Luis Enrique’s club, and holy Ivan Rakitić, Batman! The Croatian fired off 112 passes in his competitive debut. No Neymar, no Suárez, no problem.
– Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Atlético Madrid
The reigning Spanish champions endured a disappointing start to their season: a scoreless draw at the Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas. Atlético, Supercopa winners three days ago, played their third game in a week and will be without manager Diego Simeone for seven more weeks after the RFEF suspended him for his actions during Friday’s game. Rayo enjoyed 60% possession and Atleti finished with a lowly 68% passing. The champs have adjustments to make.
– Real Madrid 2-0 Córdoba
Karim Benzema scored his first goal for Real since April as the European Cup winners kept the Andalusians at bay. This was Córdoba’s first Liga game in 42 years, and they managed to keep a fatigued Real within striking distance until Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal in the 90th minute. Not a bad result for the new boys, all told.
-Eibar 1-0 Real Sociedad
Eibar’s first-ever La Liga couldn’t have gone any better: a Basque derby which ended in a victory. Javi Lara’s free-kick just before half gave the Liga Adelante winners a famous win in front of only 5,000 supporters. Lara pretty much did it all in the victory, accruing three total shots, five tackles, four key passes, and two interceptions.
-Málaga 1-0 Athletic Club
The weekend’s opening game featured a highly controversial ending. Luis Alberto, scored 34 minutes in, slotting home a rebound after his penalty was stopped by Gorka Iraizoz. Speaking of Iraizoz, it was late in second-half injury time when the keeper headed home what should have been the equalizer. But #SpanishRefs struck, the goal was disallowed, and Málaga escaped.
Granada 2-1 Deportivo, Sevilla 1-1 Valencia, Almería 1-1 Espanyol, Celta Vigo 3-1 Getafe, Levante 0-2 Villarreal.