2019/20 La Liga Matchday 1 Review – Acrobatic Aduriz gives the new Season Lift Off

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Match Preview & Prediction

The Spanish top flight finally returned this weekend after a long summer break with a major upset on the opening night, a host of stunning goals and plenty of red card controversy. Here was the best of the action from La Liga matchday 1:

La Liga Matchday 1 Results, Expected Goals & Highlights

Friday 16th August 2019

Athletic Club 1-0 Barcelona (xG 0.46-1.30)

Saturday 17th August 2019

Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid (xG 1.49-1.95)

Valencia 1-1 Real Sociedad (xG 2.18-1.34)

Mallorca 2-1 Eibar (xG 1.65-0.94)

Villarreal 4-4 Granada (xG 2.04-1.86)

Leganes 0-1 Osasuna (xG 1.27-0.18)

Sunday 18th August 2019

Alaves 1-0 Levante (xG 0.91-0.79)

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla (xG 0.15-2.4)

Real Betis 1-2 Valladolid (xG 1.26-0.73)

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Getafe (xG 2.45-0.33)

Links lead to Youtube highlights via the official LaLiga channel and may contain ads.

xG data via Understat

Aduriz Stunner inflicts Defeat on the Champions

A disjointed Barcelona came unstuck on the opening night of the season at San Mames. Ernesto Valverde opted to leave both Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic out of the starting line-up as both Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann made their debuts. However the Catalans struggled to find much fluency in the final third with talisman Leo Messi absent. An injury to Luis Suarez that saw the Uruguayan replaced further hampered their efforts against an organised Athletic side. Just when it looked as though the Basques were more than happy to settle for a point, they threw on veteran forward Aritz Aduriz who produced a stunning 89th minute scissor kick to inflict an opening night defeat on the champions to the delight of 50,000 Basque fans.

Opening Weekend Wins for the Madrid Clubs

It was a better start for the Madrid clubs who both won on the opening weekend to leave Barcelona in the rare position of having to play catch-up on their only likely title rivals. The first big surprise of the day came as Gareth Bale was named in the starting lineup just weeks after Zinedine Zidane made it crystal clear that the Welshman had no future at the club. An injury to Eden Hazard on the eve of the new campaign contributed to that call but it paid off as Bale helped Real to a 3-1 win at Balaidos despite the sending off of Luka Modric.

There were controversial red cards shown at the Wanda Metropolitano too as Jorge Molina and Renan Lodi were both dismissed within a few 1st Half minutes of each other. Atleti won the game courtesy of a headed goal from Alvaro Morata but it was a wonderful winding run from new boy Joao Felix that provided the game’s most memorable moment, with the world’s most expensive teenager ultimately hauled down inside the Getafe box for a penalty which Morata failed to convert.

A Bright Start for the New Boys

It was 6 points from a possible 9 for the ‘big three’ but the promoted clubs actually went one better than that. A special night at Son Moix saw Mallorca claim a deserved victory over Eibar while Osasuna staged something of a ‘smash and grab’ at Butarque with new signing Chimy Avila firing home another fine long-range goal to add to his growing collection. The game of the weekend was at the Ceramica though where Granada fought back to draw 4-4 against Villarreal with two late goals from set-pieces.

Match Day 1 in Numbers

  • Atletico Madrid have kept 14 consecutive clean sheets against Getafe in La Liga under Diego Simeone following their 1-0 win on Sunday.
  • Barcelona’s loss in Bilbao was their first opening day defeat in La Liga in 11 years. The Catalans went on to win the treble that season under Pep Guardiola.
  • Granada scored 4 on their return to the top flight, a feat they only managed once all season in the Segunda Division last term.
  • Sevilla named 7 debutants in their starting XI but still came away with a 2-0 win at Espanyol.
  • The opening weekend saw 6 red cards shown and a 101st minute equaliser for Real Sociedad at Valencia.

Up Next…

La Liga is back with a double-header on Friday night as Granada and Sevilla face off in an Andalusian derby before an all Valencian affair between Levante and Villarreal. The pick of the weekend games sees Betis travel to Camp Nou hoping to repeat last season’s stunning victory in Barcelona.

Check out our Spanish football blog for more analysis and opinion on events on and off the pitch around La Liga.

Follow La Liga Expert on Twitter | Like us on Facebook

Featured Image, CC BY-ND 2.0

Avatar photo
About Mark Sochon 2053 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk