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La Liga Weekly – Real Madrid & Barcelona made to work for wins

The second gameweek of the 2023/24 La Liga season was an intriguing one.

Only three teams are left with a perfect record, and the new campaign looks set to have its share of twists and turns.

Here’s a recap of everything that went down on Matchday 2.

Real Madrid come from behind to beat Almeria

Jude Bellingham was once again the talk of the town, following his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

The Englishman scored twice to make it three goals in two games for his new club, who triumphed 3-1 over Almeria away from home.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. They went behind after just three minutes, with former Castilla graduate Sergio Arribas getting on the scoresheet for Almeria.

The teething problems for a new-look Madrid were there for all to see, but even though their football wasn’t the most fluid, they found a route back in.

Bellingham scored twice to complete the turnaround before Vinicius Jr added a third to seal the three points and make it two wins out of two.

Barcelona finally break through against Cadiz

The defending champions scored twice in the last 10 minutes to seal their first win of the season, at home against Cadiz.

Xavi went with a new-look midfield featuring summer signings Oriol Romeu and Ilkay Gundogan, with Frenkie De Jong playing as the third centre-back in a three-man backline.

Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma was the player of the match for his side, making eight saves to keep Barcelona at bay. However, there was little he could do when the home side finally broke through.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 83rd minute when Gundogan played a perfectly weighted through ball for Pedri to run onto and finish.

The result was sealed in the third minute of injury time, when Ferran Torres was put through by Robert Lewandowski, and the substitute finished with aplomb.

Valencia, Rayo Vallecano continue perfect records

Valencia had a season to forget last time around, finishing 16th and only escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth. They have started this in a vein more reminiscent of their old selves.

Ruben Baraja’s men made it six points out of six with a 1-0 win over newly promoted Las Palmas at Mestalla.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, it was a penalty by summer signing Pepelu that sealed the deal fifteen minutes from time.

For Vallecano, life after Andoni Iraola has started in the best possible fashion.

They maintained their perfect start to the season under new manager Francisco, with a 2-0 away win over Girona away courtesy of late goals from Alvaro Garcia and Pathe Ciss.

Around the grounds

In one of the weekend’s most high-profile fixtures, Real Betis and Atletico Madrid played out a goalless draw at the Benito Villamarin.

Despite the wealth of attacking talent on show, neither team was able to engineer too many clear openings.

In the opening game of the week on Friday, Villarreal beat Mallorca 1-0 away from home.

Summer signings Ben Brereton Diaz and Alexander Sorloth featured in the frontline for The Yellow Submarine.

However, it was their trusted old captain Gerard Moreno who got the winner of the game on the hour mark.

Alaves recorded their first win of the season in dramatic fashion, with a 4-3 victory over Sevilla at the Mendizorroza. Kike Garcia scored his first two goals for the club, while winger Luis Rioja put in a starring performance.

Celta Vigo secured a last-minute draw away at Real Sociedad, but are still looking for their win under Rafael Benitez.

Athletic Bilbao beat Osasuna 2-0 away from home, while a Cristhian Stuani-inspired Girona ran out 3-0 victors over Getafe.

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