La Liga Matchday 2: Real Madrid slip up early on as surprise leader emerges
Whilst the likes of FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are not a surprise in the top six of La Liga, few expected Real Sociedad to be leading the table, with minnows Leganes and newly promoted Levante completing the top six. A number of impressive results saw the likes of Girona and Athletic Bilbao also remain unbeaten, whilst there are early reasons to be concerned for Celta Vigo, Malaga and Villarreal fans as they join Alaves and Las Palmas in still looking for a point after two games.
Game of the weekend – Real Madrid 2-2 Valencia
Real Madrid rarely drop points at home, and with the imperious form that they have been in of late, few expected them to do so on their home debut of the 2017/18 season. Without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos and the injured Raphael Varane, Valencia took a brave point.
Marco Asensio’s brace rescued the home side, who had surrendered their lead. Fellow youngster Carlos Soler leveled for Valencia only eight minutes after Asensio gave Real Madrid the lead, with debutant Geoffrey Kondogbia taking the reigns for the visitors with a smart finish. Fortunately for Zinedine Zidane, Asensio proved the saviour with a late free-kick.
Moment of the weekend – Xabi Prieto scoring Real Sociedad’s second goal against Villarreal
A season ticket holder at Real Sociedad since the age of five, captain Xabi Prieto has never played for another club and made his 500th appearance for the San Sebastian club on Friday night against Villarreal. He got on the scoresheet too to cap off a dream night for the midfielder.
Pouncing on a loose ball after the Yellow Submarine failed to clear from a corner, Prieto fired into the corner of the net sparking wild, passionate and emotional celebrations.
Goal of the weekend – Koke (Atletico Madrid’s fourth goal against Las Palmas)
Atletico Madrid were rampant in their win over UD Las Palmas on the Canary Islands on Saturday, and Koke had already notched one superb strike from the edge of the area. The second was even more impressive, as he reacted when Yannick Ferreira Carrasco’s dribble was ended and the ball bounced up in the box.
Only about eight yards out, the Spaniard produced a dramatic overhead kick which ended up in the back of the net as no-one else on the field reacted quick enough to prevent the ball from looping beyond Leandro Chichizola. You can watch the Spaniard’s impressive strike here.
Controversy of the weekend – Marcelo’s injury time “dive” against Valencia
With Valencia having pinned Real Madrid to a surprise draw at the Bernabeu on their return to their Madrid home, Zinedine Zidane’s side were bombing forward in the final moments. Marcelo was one of those, and in the second minute of injury time he went over in the penalty area.
Whilst most angles suggested it was a clear dive from the left-back, one did seem to show that there was contact. No penalty was awarded but there were whistles around the stadium as fans desperately appealed. In truth, even if there was contact, the Brazilian certainly made the most of it.
Player of the week – Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
Narrowly ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, both players rescued their sides. Asensio produced two fine finishes, and in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo he stepped up to fill in the roll of the superstar who led the attack for Real Madrid.
Asensio caused problems from start to finish and Valencia did not quite know how to handle the youngster. Racing forwards to pounce on a loose ball, his finish from distance left Neto with no chance and his free-kick from similar range with only eight minutes left on the clock earned his side a point late on.
Team of the week
Three players in the team of the week recorded braces, including Koke, Lionel Messi and Marco Asensio. Kepa was in inspired form to deny Eibar for Athletic Bilbao, whilst a number of defenders produced top class displays with Pedro Alcala on the scoresheet for Girona and Matteo Mantovani also scoring for Leganes as both sides won by a goal to nil.
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