The first week of Spanish Football’s 2018-19 season is in the books and on Friday last season La Liga’s darlings, Girona, and newly promoted Real Valladolid, tied 0-0, while Levante defeated hosts Real Betis 3-0.
On Saturday Barcelona defeated visiting Alaves 3-0 with two late goals to pad their goal differential. Villarreal lost at home 1-2 to Real Sociedad while Celta Vigo and Espanyol drew 1-1.
On Sunday, La Liga’s big boys began to play and Real Madrid won at home 2-0 over Getafe, Rayo Vallecano were beaten at home 1-4 by Sevilla and Huesca announced their promotion to first division with a 2-1 win at Eibar. On Monday, Athletic Bilbao defeated visiting Leganes 2-1 and Valencia were held at home by Atletico Madrid 1-1.
La Liga’s table had three teams with three points and a +3 goal differential, Sevilla, Levante and Barcelona, while Real Madrid followed with +2 and Real Sociedad, Huesca and Athletic Bilbao followed with +1.
Highlights of La Liga’s first round included Sevilla’s Portuguese striker Andre Silva, on loan from AC Milan scoring a hat trick to propel him to the top of the scorers’ table. Barcelona’s uber star Lionel Messi’s brace placed him second on the sharpshooter’s table. Gareth Bale continued scoring in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the repeated storyline from last season where newly promoted sides shine and the likes of Girona, in their second season ever in the top division, continuing to show strength.
But the first round saw Sevilla showcase its strength off a busy summer transfer season where they spent $30 million on seven purchases and several loans. Scoring with uncanny regularity in their opening game away to Rayo the Sevillistas scored every 15 minutes in the first half to put the game away early and a rampant Andre Silva led the way scoring in both halves.
In a match with but one yellow (to Rayo’s Jose Angel Pozo at the 12th minute), fans enjoyed a well-paced and mostly even-tempered match that saw the nets bulge at the 15, 31, 45+1, 79, and 85 minutes. VAR was omnipresent and critical in two of Sevilla’s goals and the technology seemed to work well throughout the opening round of domestic play as the officiating in several other matches was enhanced by the video assistance.
Next week Real Valladolid get welcomed to the big leagues by visiting Barcelona, Sevilla hosts Villarreal in an early matchup of pre-season top-seven favorites, and Girona get to see if their first season was all beginner’s luck as they host Real Madrid.