Barcelona and Real Madrid took care of business, but there were plenty of surprises the first weekend of La Liga.
Promoted up to La Liga after three years in the Segunda Division, Osasuna scored a late goal to secure a draw on the road against Málaga in the opening La Liga match of the season. A solid result for both sides, especially for Osasuna, who are expected to be relegation candidates this season.
Goals: Málaga: Juanpi 56’ Osasuna: Fran Mérida 85’
Deportivo La Coruña vs. Eibar: 2-1
Deportivo overcame an early goal from Eibar for the victory at home to start their season on the right note. It was an even match up as the possession stats were essentially even (50.1 percent to 49.9) and almost equal in shots taken (12 for Depor and 11 for Eibar). Lucas Pérez scored the match winner from the penalty spot with three minutes left in stoppage time and also assisted the first goal.
Goals: Deportivo: Pedro Mosquera 69’; Lucas Pérez 87’ Eibar: Iván Ramis 55’
Barcelona vs. Real Betis: 6-2
Barcelona steamrolled Betis in a 6-2 match that saw Luis Suárez score a hat-trick and Lionel Messi add a brace. The Catalans dominated the entire match and comfortably won the three points. Messi dominated the match helping create for his teammates. Saúrez scored a spectacular free kick that put the stamp on the match. Barca are still without Neymar, Andres Iniesta, and Javier Mascherano, but the depth they acquired over the summer is already getting a chance to shine.
Betis shouldn’t be that hung up over the defeat as they lost to a superior side, but hope to recover for their following match.
Goals: Barcelona: Arda Turan 6’; Lionel Messi 37’, 57’; Luis Suárez 42’, 56’, 82’ Betis: Rubén Castro 21’, 84’
Paco Jemez’s side overcame a free kick goal from Villarreal to salvage a point at home. It was a tight affair that saw both sides fail to take chances. Villarreal had two shots hit off the crossbar and will feel unlucky to walk out with only a point. Granada retained over 62 percent of the possession, which will be expected from any Jemez managed side. It was a solid outing for a side that wants to avoid the relegation battle for the first time in many seasons.
Goals: Granada: 65’ Ezequiel Ponce Villarreal: Samu Castillejo 61’
In what was arguably the most exciting match of the weekend, Sevilla and Espanyol starred in a ten goal affair that had plenty of action. The game ended 3-3 at halftime. The match was very open and provided plenty of drama and flair, with both sides seeming to be lacking on defense, the offenses came forth and provided high quality attacking prowess, with 26 total shots between both sides. Jorge Sampaoli’s first year as Sevilla manager may be one of transition, but they have their style and won’t shy away from it.
Luciano Vietto, who is on loan from Atlético Madrid, looked to be the player many expected to come out of Argentina initially.
Goals: Sevilla: Pablo Sarabria 15’; Luciano Vietto 22’ 46’; Franco Vázquez 54’; Wissam Ben Yedder 66’; Hiroshi Kiyotake 74’ Espanyol: Pablo Piatti 8’; Hernán Perez 20’; Víctor Sanchez 44’; Gerard Moreno 79’
A tight contest saw both sides end up scoreless at halftime, but the second half saw Sporting take advantage of their chances as they scored twice in a span of four minutes. Duje Cop scored wonderful volley off a corner kick, and then Sporting counterattacked and Víctor slotted it past Gorka Iraioz. Sporting also had a penalty saved by Iraizoz that kept them at two goals. Iñaki Willaims pulled one back for Athletic in the final minutes but the score held after that.
The game also held some controversy in the first half as the referee Clos Gomez called for a stop in play when the Sporting crowd began to yell racist insults at Williams.
Goals: Sporting: Duje Cop 50’; Víctor Rodríguez 53’ Athletic: Iñaki Williams 86’
Gareth Bale scored inside of two minutes from the start. Marco Asensio added a second just before half time with a chip over Gerónimo Rulli after a pass over the top from Raphael Varane. At that point Madrid had the match locked up as they cruised the rest of the way. The standout for Sociedad was Rulli, who made key stops to keep the game close throughout.
Sociedad did themselves no favors in front of goal, wasting multiple opportunities. The worst being Illaramendi passing up a shot on goal, instead deciding to cross to nobody.
Bale slotted in Madrid’s third on a counterattack in stoppage time.
Goals: Real Madrid: Gareth Bale 2’, 90+3’; Marco Asensio 40’
Atlético Madrid vs. Alavés
Locked in a stalemate until stoppage time, Atletico and Alavés both scored in stoppage time for a 1-1 draw. Former Sevilla man Kevin Gamiero socred a penalty in the 92nd minute, but right on the cusp of the final whistle, Manu Garcia sent shocking drive from outside the penalty area and equalized for the away side as time expired.
Despite being outshot 27 to 2, it was a precious point for Alavés at one of the toughest away grounds in La Liga. Fernando Pacheco put in a man of the match performance for Alavés as he saved six shots to keep the game scoreless, including a double save on Gameiro in the 88th minute.
Goals: Atlético: Kevin Gameiro 90+2’ Alavés: Manu Garcia 90+4’
Celta Vigo vs. Leganés
Playing their first ever game in La Liga, Leganés scored with in the 75th minute to upset Celta Vigo on their home ground. It was also their first ever goal in the top flight and first victory. It was a huge three points for the team from Madrid.
Goals: Leganés: Víctor Díaz 75’
Valencia vs. Las Palmas
Valencia, who have had a hectic offseason, began their first game of the campaign with a disappointing loss to Las Palmas. Despite a brace from Santi Mina in the first half, they also conceded three to the Canary Islanders. Kevin-Prince Boateng, Las Palmas marquee signing over the summer, scored the third goal with an accurate header from a difficult position.
Valencia continued to chase the equalizer throughout the second half, throwing everyone forward as the clock wound down. However, they were caught out and conceded the fourth to Marko Livaja, who had a brace on night. The fans headed to the exits in disappointment.
Goals: Valencia: Santi Mina 6’, 34’ Las Palmas: Marko Livaja 16’, 88’; Jonathan Viera 24’; Kevin-Prince Boateng 31’