Spanish Football’s new La Liga season opened Friday with a surprise Athletic Bilbao 1-0 victory over defending champions Barcelona, thanks to a spectacular 89th minute scissors kick goal from 38-year-old substitute Artiz Aduriz.
Lionel Messi was not on the pitch as he nursed a minor injury that still needed healing. Similarly, Real Madrid began their campaign without Eden Hazard who was also nursing a minor injury.
Following that Friday result was Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory away Saturday to Celta Vigo, which featured a rampant Gareth Bale providing assists aplenty. The victory was punctuated by a spectacular 25-plus-yard strike from Toni Kroos and a closing attacking sequence that saw six Real players touch the ball down the left side as it made its way from Real’s side to Celta’s and then to the opposite side for a Lucas Vasquez goal from the right side of the Celta box. Pretty plays abounded on this opening day for Spanish Football.
Not to be outdone, Villarreal hosted a fierce Granada who kept coming back, goal-for-goal, and ended earning a 4-4 away draw. Valencia was held 1-1 at home by Real Sociedad, Mallorca opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Eibar and Osasuna won 1-0 away to Leganes.
On Sunday, Atletico Madrid defeated Getafe 1-0 at home in a 41-foul, eight-yellow-cards, two-red-cards match that included a missed penalty by the hosts. Alaves won 1-0 at home over Levante while Espanyol lost 0-2 to visiting Sevilla and Real Betis lost 1-2 to visiting Real Valladolid.
With the transfer world still in play who knows how pre-season predictions will fare, but certainly we have had a booming start to the Spanish Football season. With ten matches played we have seen 26 goals! Next week might see the return of several stars not available this week but it will be hard to match such an exuberant beginning.
While eight teams managed a victory this first week, only Real Madrid and Sevilla managed a 2+ goal differential and thus shared first place on the La Liga table. No one player had more than one goal or one assist this week, so five players shared top of the scorers’ table honors.