La Liga returned after a week’s break and saw various internationals depart to represent their country, with Spain recording dominant a 7-1 win over Georgia before beating Cyprus 6-0, with all the scorers apart from Dani Olmo regularly plying their trade in Spain’s domestic league.
Over the course of the weekend, Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Bilbao recorded an impressive 3-0 win on the tenth anniversary of the iconic San Mames. Valencia, however, would be the entertainers of the weekend with a captivating performance seeing them record a 3-0 victory over Atlético Madrid.
Barcelona also recorded an impressive win in a dominant display at their temporary home, with debutants Joao Félix and Joao Cancelo putting in superb performances in Barcelona’s best showing of the season so far.
Real Madrid, however, kept their winning streak continuing with another comeback victory over Real Sociedad, with the only change being that Jude Bellingham did not score the winning goal for Los Blancos.
Meanwhile, the best story of the weekend was Sergio Ramos returning to the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan, a stadium he last played at as a 19-year-old before packing his bags and going on to conquer world football.
Scores on the doors:
Rayo Vallecano 2-0 Alavés
The weekend’s first action took place on Friday evening as Deportivo Alavés were welcomed to Vallecas. Francisco’s Rayo Vallecano were keen to bounce back from their successive losses against rivals Atlético Madrid and Real Betis, the first of which was a 7-0 thrashing on Rayo’s home turf.
Vallecano started brightly, with Sergio Camello and Isi Palazón going the closest off well worked efforts. The majority of the joy in the first half for Vallecano seemed to be coming down the left hand side, with Alfonso Espino putting in numerous dangerous crosses for Rayo’s forwards to attack.
On the 43rd minute the breakthrough came, it was Espino and Alvaro Garcia who combined down the left hand side, with the latter being tripped in the box resulting in a penalty going Rayo’s way. The subsequent spot kick was cooly converted by Palazón, sending Antonio Sivera the wrong way in order to score Rayo’s first home goal of the season.
In the second half, the gaps down the left side of the pitch showed no signs of being filled, with Alvaro Garcia finding space to play the ball into Camello who was denied his first goal of the season from the diving Sivera.
In the 82nd minute, Rayo doubled their advantage when Raul De Tomas carved the Alavés backline open with a delicately threaded pass to Alvaro Garcia, who from the left side of the box played it across to an oncoming Jorge de Frutas to claim his first goal for his new club and ensure a much deserved victory for Francisco’s side.
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Cádiz
For Bilbao, today’s home game against Cádiz signified their tenth anniversary at the new San Mames, with the first game at the iconic stadium being played exactly ten years ago against Celta Vigo on the 16th of September 2013 in which they won 3-2.
Despite Athletic missing the in-form Nico Williams, who was injured after featuring for Spain in the international break, the Basque club looked bright from the off. Alex Berenguer found Oliver Sancet in the opening half hour only to see his header ricochet off the post.
Before the stroke of halftime, Sancet went the closest again to opening the scoring at the San Mames when Inaki Williams played a low cross into the box with the Bilbao midfielder subsequently working hard to get his shot off only to see it yet again slam against the underside of the bar and away from Jeremias Ledesma’s goal.
Gorka Guruzeta was the next to go tantalisingly close to opening the scoring when he saw his half volley cleared off the line from Isaac Carcelén. However, minutes later, Guruzeta saw his efforts bear fruit when Óscar de Marcos swung in an excellent cross from the right flank allowing Bilbao’s striker to head home for San Mames opening tenth anniversary goal.
Just two minutes later, Bilbao doubled their lead after William’s cross was deflected into the path of Asier Villalibre following a scythed clearance from Gonzalo Escalante which allowed the substitute to nonchalantly head home with his first touch.
The final nail in the coffin for Cádiz came in the 90th minute when Unai Simón played a long diagonal ball from a freekick, with Villalibre latching onto it to head the ball over the top and into the path of Williams. Williams ran onto it and poked home to grab his third goal of the season in what was a fine performance from both him and the Basque club on their iconic home’s anniversary.
Valencia 3-0 Atlético Madrid
Valencia’s victory over Diego Simeone’s previously in-form Atlético was by far the most surprising result of the weekend, with the hosts sinking their Madrid opposition by three goals at the Mestalla.
For Atlético, this was their first game of the month after their previous game against Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano was called off.
The opening goal of the game came when Sergi Canos beat former Chelsea defender Cesar Azplicueta in a one on one allowing him to play a low cross into the box that was deflected into the path of Hugo Duro from an unwitting Stefan Savic, allowing the Valencia striker to slide the ball past Oblak.
With Valencia on the front foot and creating chances, it was only a matter of time before they doubled their advantage against what was a sluggish Simeone side. In the 34th minute, Fran Perez glided into Atlético’s half with an excellent turn and subsequent run before dinking the ball into the channel for Duro to run onto.
The 23 year-old striker collected the ball before faking a shot to put Savic on the floor and firing home to grab his second of the game at the sun drenched Mestalla.
Just eight minutes into the second half, Valencia grabbed their third of the game, stifling any chance of an Atlético comeback. 20 year-old Javi Guerra collected the ball in the middle of the park before twisting one way and then the other to get free of the half-hearted Mario Hermoso and bend the ball around Axel Witsel and into the goal.
Despite Atlético having close to 70 per cent of the possession, Simeone’s side could not make it count with few and far chances in-between for his side, despite having the firepower of Alvaro Morata, Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Lemar.
Instead it was Rubên Baraja’s young side that continued on their impressive start to the season, with the club sitting in fifth place as of Saturday evening, firmly above their most recent opposition who kick off their Champions League campaign against Lazio on Tuesday evening before they play host to Carlo Ancelotti’s travelling party in the Madrid derby.
Celta Vigo 0-1 Mallorca
Rafa Benitez’s Celta Vigo continued their inconsistent form with a 1-0 loss to Mallorca at the Balaídos. Mallorca started the best right from the word go with Toni Lato and Vedat Muriqí going the closest to opening the scoring with respective on target efforts.
Celta started to grow into the game with Iago Aspas almost firing home from an audacious acrobatic effort after Jonathan Bamba had played a good cross into the box. On the stroke of half time, Jørgen Strand Larsen almost poked his side in front when he turned well only to fire the ball across the face of the goal.
Celta continued to threaten in the second half, with Aspas hitting the woodwork off a corner while Fran Beltrán forced Predrag Rajković into a good stop off a sublime long range effort. Jonathan Bamba thought he had put Celta ahead when he fired home from Aspas’ cross with the ball seemingly going in after hitting the underside of the crossbar, however, following a VAR review the ball was deemed not to have crossed the line, resulting in the tie staying level.
In the end, it the missed chances proved to be costly for Celta. In the 85th minute, Mallorca made Celta rue their missed opportunities when Muriqí tapped Samu Costa’s redirected cross home to stun Balaídos at the death and snatch all three points.
Barcelona 5-0 Real Betis
Going into Saturday evening’s game against Manuel Pelligrini’s Real Betis, Xavi chose to hand a first start to both João’s with both João Félix and Joáo Cancelo making their debuts in the colours of La Blaugrana. Barcelona looked to maintain the pressure on Real Madrid and go top of the table albeit before the Los Blancos had played their fixture.
Betis arguably had the best chance of the opening proceedings at the Estadí Olympic Montijuic when Luiz Henrique narrowly missed, firing the ball across the face of Marc Andre Ter Stegen’s goal.
Félix rewarded the faith shown from his manager when in the 25th minute he scored from a tight angle after originally scuffing his volley from an Oriel Romeu cross.
Six minutes later, Robert Lewandowski grabbed his third goal of the season when he was slid through by Andreas Christensen, with the Polish striker expertly finishing past Rui Silva to double Barça’s advantage inside the first half.
Both goalkeepers saw themselves make superb saves in the first half injury time, with Ter Stegen diving well to his right to save from a Willian Jose point blank range effort while Silva got down well at the other end to deny Félix a breakaway goal.
In the 62nd minute, Barcelona found their third, when former Manchester City star Ferran Torres bent a delightful free kick round the seven man wall of Betis and into the bottom corner of Silva’s net.
Minutes later, it was Raphinha’s turn to net from a long range effort when the Brazilian fired home an excellent long range left footed strike into the same area of the net Torres had scored in earlier.
In the 80th minute, it was the turn of the other João to grab a goal on his debut when Cancelo dummied Juan Miranda, turning inside from the right flank before coming back out to fire across Silva and into the net to cap an impressive performance from the right back.
For Barcelona, Saturday evening’s performance represented just how good they can be. Xavi’s side start their Champions League campaign against Royal Antwerp on Tuesday as they look to go much further against Europe’s elite.
Getafe 3-2 Osasuna
Saturday’s game at the Coliseum Alfonso Peréz began with both Getafe and Osasuna looking for their first win of the calendar month, after coming off respective 2-1 losses to Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Jose Bordelas' side took the lead when Damián Suarez played in an excellent corner for Stefan Mitrović to meet and glance towards the back post nestling in the top corner of Sergio Herrera’s goal.
However, it didn’t take long for Osasuna to find an equaliser, when on the stroke of halftime Iker Muñoz volleyed home to level the game off a well-worked corner of their own involving a clever lay off from Aimar Oroz to set up Muñoz.
At the start of the second half, the pendulum swung again when José Carmona connected with a Diego Rico cross to head the ball firmly into the top corner of the net and hand the lead back to his side.
Once again, Osasuna found a way back into the game with Ante Budimir cooly converting a spot kick after he was brought down by David Soria in the six yard area.
With the game all square, both sides pushed for a potential winning goal, with Borja Mayoral looking the liveliest in a Getafe shirt and the most likely to create or finish an attacking manoeuvre.
In the 85th minute, they found the breakthrough when Nemanja Maksimović connected with Carles Aleñá’s corner to strike a thunderous header into the roof of the net, the fourth goal of the game that came from a corner, giving Getafe their 17th win against Osasuna in the first division, their most amount of victories against any side.
Villareal 2-1 Almería
El Submarino Amarillo bounced back to winning ways after three losses out of the four opening games of the season saw the sacking of Quique Setien, with former Real Valladolid manager Pacheta appointed in time to oversee the tie against Almería at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Meanwhile, Almería were still awaiting for their first victory after only picking up one point on the board so far.
Almería started brightly away from home, with Luis Suarez forcing Filip Jörgensen into a number of good saves. On the stroke of halftime, Almería took the advantage when Lucas Robertone scooped an excellent ball over the Villareal defence to Sergio Akieme who had ran off the back of Juan Foyth to score his second of the season.
However, deep into the first half’s injury time, Villareal found a way back into the game when Carlos Romero pulled it back for Alex Baena who fortuitously found Gerard Moreno, with Villareal’s greatest ever goalscorer firing the ball into the net to equalise the game going into the break.
With the game ebbing and flowing in the second half, the tie looked like it would peter out. However, in the 94th minute, Villareal would show their quality to snatch all three points at the death. Alberto Moreno sent in an excellent cross to the jackpot where a towering Alexander Sorlorth leapt the highest to send the ball past Luis Maximiano.
In a game where there was few and far between both sides, the victory for Villareal will come as a relief as they look to climb the table again while for Almería points need to be picked up quickly if they are to have a serious chance of staying in the league.
Sevilla 1-0 Las Palmas
Both Sevilla and Las Palmas headed into this game looking for their first wins of the season, with Sevilla suffering three losses to start the season, while Las Palmas had drawn two games and lost two.
The mood in Seville was arguably more upbeat with the return of Sergio Ramos while the Las Palmas players made Sunday’s game by the skin of their teeth after 15 players had wandered off to get a coffee and subsequently missed the plane.
Sevilla came the closest to opening the scoring early on when Rafa Mir fired a powerful shot goalbound that was only saved by an outstretched palm of Álvaro Valles. Minutes later, Valles made another smart stop to deny Mir a potential headed goal.
On the stroke of halftime, Luis Ocampos’ tap in goal was ruled out after the provider, Suso, had been offside in the build-up.
With Sevilla inching closer with almost every effort towards goal, it looked like only a matter of time before Mendilibar’s side would take the lead. In the 71st minute, the goal came, when debutant Dodi Lukebakio, who had been excellent off the bench, smashed home from Youssef En Nesyri’s rebounded header.
With the game coming to a close, Marko Dmitrović in the Sevilla net was forced to make an excellent stop to deny Las Palmas an equaliser, with the goalkeeper helping to see Sevilla over the line in their first win of the season at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
Imanol Alguacil’s Sociedad started the best, and when Takefuso Kubo drifted in-field from the left flank, he played a sumptuous cross into the box that was met by Andre Barrenetxea who despite having his initial effort saved by Kepa saw his insistence pay dividends when he poked home the rebound to give the travelling side the advantage in just the fifth minute.
In the 11th minute, Kubo continued his show of class when he thumped in a powerful left footed strike from far outside the box. However, the goal was ruled out, with Oyarzabal in an offside position as the ball took the gentlest of touches off him as he ducked out the way.
Both sides continued to create chances, and in the 47th minute Real Madrid took one of theirs. Fran Garcia pulled the ball back to Fede Valverde who fired the ball goal bounds, smashing in off the post and past Álex Remiro.
On the hour mark, Real Madrid would find their second with Fran Garcia once again providing the assist, playing a well placed cross into the box and onto the head of Joselu who directed the ball into the far corner to give Real Madrid another comeback victory.
Both sides will start their respective Champions League campaigns this coming week, with Real Madrid hosting Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin while Real Sociedad will welcome last year's finalists Inter Milan to the Anoeta.
The ‘of the weeks’
Goal of the week: Javi Guerra’s vs Atlético Madrid. Guerra’s excellent strike against Diego Simeone’s side represented some of the best attributes of the midfielder. The 20-year-old showed his strength, agility, technical ability and confidence all in one move as he skilfully went around Hermoso to bend the ball around Witsel into the net. Guerra could just be one of Spain’s great future number eights if he continues his progression under Ruben Baraja’s guidance.
Stat of the week: Ahead of Real Betis’ match at the Estadi Olímpic against Barcelona, Betis had seven former Barca players in their ranks, with 21-year-old winger Abde the latest to arrive from the Catalan club.
The player showed his hunger and expert finishing ability to score the first goal of the game, demonstrated his awareness to allow the ball to run through his legs to find Lewandowski for the second and was unlucky not to claim another goal. With Barcelona representing one of Félix’s last chances to show how good he is among Europe’s elite, more performances like this will be needed to fill the once lofty hopes for the boy from Benfica.