La Liga wrap: Barça and Vallecano lead defending champions Madrid
Tom Wellman looks at Real Madrid's early struggles in La Liga as Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano maintain 100 per cent record
Shock defeat for Madrid disappoints Mourinho
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was left rueing another dismal performance on Saturday night as his side lost 2-1 to Getafe to fall five points behind Barcelona after only two games. After the defeat, Mourinho slammed his players after two defeats and a draw so far this season. “We deserved the defeat and we played badly. It was unacceptable,” he said. The Portuguese manager was particularly irked by another goal conceded from a set-piece, especially after Valencia’s Juan Valera scored a similar strike last week against the defending Spanish champions. New signing Luka Modrić will not provide much help in that department but his arrival could spur Mourinho’s sleepy strike-force into life and begin to outscore opponents again.
Tito to miss Supercopa decider as Barca edge win
Two late goals from Lionel Messi salvaged a win in Pamplona but for long periods Osasuna looked destined to repeat their famous victory over Barcelona last year. Pep Guardiola’s successor Tito Vilanova was sent to the stands during the controversial affair which also saw Patxi Puñal red-carded moments after Messi’s equaliser. Joseba Llorente put Osasuna ahead on 17 minutes, and the hosts constantly threatened to widen their lead as Roland Lamah went close on numerous occasions and Nini hit the post. With the score still at 1-0, Vilanova saw red for arguuing with the linesman but luckily for the Barça boss, Messi grabbed a leveller almost instantly. Puñal argued with the referee in the aftermath and was dismissed, making Barça’s task much easier. Messi swept in a winner four minutes later for the win which unsurprisingly takes him to top of the goal scoring charts.
Llorente and Martínez absent for Europa League final rematch
Javi Martínez’s move to Bayern Munich appears imminent as rumours circulated over his whereabouts during Bilbao’s game with Atletico Madrid. Fernando Llorente was another absentee from the squad as his transfer saga continues, though Bilbao really struggled in defence last night in the 4-0 defeat. Radamel Falcao once again brought misery to Bilbao with a hat-trick, similar to his match-winning double in the Europa League final last May. Marcelo Bielsa made drastic half-time changes for the second week running but Atletico dominated and made Bilbao look poor and nothing like the attacking threat which made them revered throughout Europe last year. Now, they sit bottom of the league without a point to their name. Atletico will prepare for the Uefa Super Cup on Friday with Chelsea in great form as Diego Simeone looks to enjoy the occasion.
Rayo become the capital’s top team
Unsurprisingly La Liga is led by teams from Barcelona and Madrid after just two games. However that Madrid-based team is not the one usually associated with the top of the table as city minnows Rayo Vallecano currently sit level on points with Barcelona in second. Rayo’s impressive start to the season has included two wins over Granada and Real Betis, ridiculing those who selected them as prime relegation fodder. Despite losing the sultan of Swansea – Michu – during pre-season, the club have found a gem in 19-year-old Leo who scored the winner on Saturday. Rayo have maintained their 100 per cent record and can claim to be Madrid’s best team, albeit only temporarily. It will hurt Real Madrid fans to see that Barcelona are five points ahead and Vallecano are simply compounding the current misery.
Sleepless night for Málaga fans who make unique protest
The Costa del Sol would usually be considered as one of the busiest places in Spain once the sun goes down due to the swathes of tourists out for an enjoyable evening. Despite this, local fans showed their feelings against the 11pm kick-off times by going along dressed in their pyjamas to Málaga’s game with Mallorca! Annoyed at having to travel home late into the following morning after a match, several protests have popped up during the opening two weekends of the new season with perhaps the most unusual seen at La Rosaleda. Last week saw Tomer Hemed become the first player to score on different days during the same match, and he again scored late into the night for Mallorca in a forgettable 1-1 draw. With matches finishing deep into the twilight hours surely attendances will fall and see fewer women and children attend games. Instead the LFP argue that the cooler temperatures make playing easier. Is a longer summer break required throughout Spain in that case?