Real Madrid comes from behind to defeat newly promoted Almeria, Barca involved in a goalless draw

David Alaba's free-kick gives Madrid a 2-1 win over Almeria

The race for the 2022/23 season of the La Liga began last weekend but the three favourite clubs to win the competition had contrasting start to their campaigns.

Whilst Atletico thrashed fellow Madrid team Getafe 3-0, Real Madrid had to come back from a goal deficit to win against newly promoted club Almeria, but it was a disappointment for Barca who was held to a goalless draw by Rayo Vallecano.

Barcelona 0-0 Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona’s bright new future began with a stuttering goalless draw at home to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday. It was, at least, better than the two 1-0 defeats they suffered against the same opposition last season.

Barca’s frustration was amplified in stoppage time when Sergio Busquets was shown a second yellow card for what was deemed an elbow to the face of Rayo striker Falcao.

Real Valladolid 0-3 Villarreal

There was plenty of criticism of Unai Emery from last season that his team busts up too much energy in the first half and ends up giving away points in the second. The new season began a little differently for them, with the side scoring thrice against Real Valladolid in the second 45 after a goalless first half. 

Four minutes into the second half, Nicolas Jackson found himself in a great position in close range and scored the first goal of the evening. Substitute Alex Baena made his mark with a sensational long-range goal in the final 10 minutes, and soon after, he got another towards the end of normal time.

Celta Vigo 2-2 Espanyol

There was some quintessential La Liga drama at Balaidos, where Celta Vigo and Espanyol played out a 2-2 draw. The game had its share of talking points right from the get-go, but the biggest one remained the late penalty in stoppage time. Iago Aspas scored for the hosts at the stroke of half-time. Goncalo Paciencia made it two around the hour mark, which seemed to have sealed their three points.

But Espanyol had a stellar comeback which no one saw coming. After Edu Exposito flared comeback hopes with a goal in the 72nd minute, a foul from Oscar Mingueza in the fourth minute of stoppage time got Espanyol a penalty. After the VAR check was done, Joselu converted the penalty and rounded off a terrific opening game for the visiting unit.

Osasuna 2-1 Sevilla

Sevilla FC were shocked by Osasuna at El Sadar

Sevilla FC were shocked by Osasuna at El Sadar

Sevilla meanwhile was dealt a shocker when they began their La Liga campaign with a defeat against Osasuna at El Sadar. The game started with two early goals from Chimy Ávila and Rafa Mir before a dubious penalty saw Osasuna move back in front.

Osasuna started the game on the front foot in front of their fans. After an early warning, Ávila would score his second chance of the game, heading in a Rubén Peña cross. Sevilla would immediately react through Rafa Mir. Papu Gómez took the ball down perfectly in the box, swivelled, and fired a cross into the Spanish striker to send past Sergio Herrera.

With the game level, a controversial call to signal a penalty after a light brush between Papu and Moncayola would decide the match. Only hours prior, the referees’ association announced that penalties for soft contact in the box would be avoided at all costs.

Aimar would score on his debut from the penalty spot, sending Osasuna in front. With little time to react, Sevilla pushed forward but Osasuna remained firm until the end.

Cadiz 0-1 Real Sociedad

Former Real Madrid wonder kid Takefusa Kubo scored the only goal for his new side, Real Sociedad, in their narrow win over Cadiz. The Japanese ran in behind the opposition backline in the 24th minute before bringing down Mikel Merino’s superb long-pass with a feather-like first touch and firing the ball past custodian Jeremias Ledesma.

Valencia 1-0 Girona

Former AC Milan player and manager Gennaro Gattuso began his stint as the manager of troubled-club Valencia with a 1-0 win over the newly promoted Girona.

Vice-captain Carlos Soler scored the only goal from the spot after a handball inside the Girona box, and Los Che defended the lead for the remainder of the match – forty minutes of which they played with ten men after Eray Comert’s red card – to secure the points. 

Almeria 1-2 Real Madrid

Champions Real Madrid overcame a slow start in their first match of the LaLiga season with a 2-1 comeback win over Almeria at the Power Horse Stadium on Sunday night.

David Alaba netted a divine winner after Lucas Vazquez had drawn Madrid level following a surprise opener from Almeria’s Largie Ramazani in the sixth minute.

Athletic Club Bilbao 0-0 Real Mallorca

Athletic Bilbao was held at home to a 0-0 draw against Mallorca in the return of coach Ernesto Valverde to the Basque Country club. Athletic dominated from the start but could not capitalise on its scoring chances. The hosts had more than 20 attempts at San Mames Stadium.

Valverde, who hadn’t coached since leaving Barcelona in 2020, is back for his third stint at Athletic’s helm. The Basque club finished only eighth last season, missing out on the European competitions. Mallorca barely escaped relegation, finishing one point outside the relegation zone.

Getafe 0-3 Atlético Madrid

Morata double steers Atletico to a 3-0 resounding win over Getafe

Morata double steers Atletico to a 3-0 resounding win over Getafe

Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata made a triumphant return to LaLiga as he scored twice to help the visitors win 3-0 at Getafe in their opening match of the season on Monday.

Substitute Antoine Griezmann scored the third goal late on and Atletico had enough chances to make the result even more comprehensive under the scorching heat. Their inspired Portugal forward Joao Felix roamed all over the field and collected three assists.

Real Betis 3-0 Elche

Real Betis beat Elche 3-0 in their season opener – putting aside their off-field troubles in registering new signings. John Nwankwo’s early red card helped Betis; the youngster was sent off for bundling over Aitor Ruibal as the last man in his defence.

Borja Iglesias was the first to take advantage, tapping in the opener from Nabil Fekir’s low cross. Former Southampton player Juanmi added a second just before the interval, collecting a superb pass from William Carvalho and poking it past the goalkeeper. 

Juanmi added a second on the stroke of the hour, capitalising on a defensive mix-up, rounding the defender, and tapping the ball into an empty net for a comfortable 3-0 win.