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La Liga Weekly: Atletico win Madrid derby, while Barcelona produce brilliant comeback

It was a goal-laden week in Spain, with the latest round of fixtures producing some high-scoring games. After this week, no team in the division has a perfect record.

We take a look at what happened on Matchday 6:

Atletico beat Real Madrid in convincing fashion

Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season ended on Sunday night when they were beaten 3-1 by neighbours Atletico Madrid.

Despite having the more defensive-looking side on paper, it was Diego Simeone’s men who came out of the blocks quicker, going ahead in the fourth minute.

Samuel Lino, who had an outstanding game at left-back, put in an inch-perfect cross with his right foot for former Madrid man Alvaro Morata to head home.

Carlo Ancelotti started with Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric and Jude Bellingham on the pitch, but his side were unable to gain control of the game.

Atletico used their wing-backs as much as possible to exploit Madrid’s potential weaknesses in the full-back areas. This was especially effective on the left, where Fran Garcia was having a torrid time dealing with Nahuel Molina.

It was 2-0 after 18 minutes, with Saul Niguez attacking the left half-space and standing up a cross to the back post, which was headed in by Antoine Griezmann.

The marking in the box from Madrid left a lot to be desired, and a better keeper than Kepa Arrizabalaga would have arguably kept the effort from the Atleti striker out.

Madrid then started to gain a little more control in the game but weren’t able to create any clear goalscoring opportunities.

They got a ray of hope from out of nowhere, with 10 minutes to go to half-time. Kroos controlled the ball on the edge of the box after a corner was headed away and smashed an unstoppable low volley past Jan Oblak to make it 2-1.

Any thoughts of a famous comeback were extinguished just a minute into the second half. In almost a carbon copy of the second goal, Saul was once again found in space down the left, and his cross to the back-stick was headed in by Morata for his second and Atleti’s third.

Madrid’s concerns at the back are there for all to see, especially at left-back. Every single one of the goals they conceded in this game was similar, coming from balls from the left flank beyond the two centre-backs.

Fran Garcia’s defensive frailties were well on show, and the Spaniard was taken off just before the hour mark and replaced by Ferland Mendy. Ancelotti also brought on Joselu, Aurelien Tchouameni and Nacho to revert to his preferred 4-4-2 diamond.

There was no getting past the Atleti defence, who stood firm and saw the game through in front of their fans for a memorable victory.

Barcelona go top with thrilling comeback against Celta Vigo

Barcelona produced a comeback that will be remembered by their fans for some time, scoring three times in the last ten minutes to beat Celta Vigo 3-2 at home.

Celta, who have given a lot of problems to Barca in recent times, will be kicking themselves at coming away with nothing from this game, having looked in control for large parts.

Barcelona started the game by dominating possession but didn’t pose too much of a threat to their opponents’ goal.

The visitors went ahead in the 18th minute. After Barcelona failed to clear a corner, Luca de la Torre found Jorgen Strand Larsen on the edge of the box, who finished brilliantly from a tricky angle.

It could have been 2-0 five minutes before half-time, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen prevented Strand Larsen from making it a brace before de la Torre blazed the rebound over.

The second half began in similar fashion, with Barcelona dominating possession but not creating much of note. Celta were looking dangerous with their swift counter-attacks.

Rafael Benitez’s side looked to have sealed the three points with 15 minutes to go, with an absolutely immaculate counter-attack.

They played through the Barcelona high press and found talisman Iago Aspas with space in the opposition half. The striker played a perfect through-ball to substitute Anastasios Douvikas, whose scuffed effort found its way into the bottom corner.

The game looked to be gone from their grasp, but Barcelona then did something that was nothing short of incredible.

Two quick-fire goals from Robert Lewandowski, from assists from Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo, brought the Blaugrana level with five minutes to play.

In the 89th minute, substitute Gavi spotted Cancelo ghosting into the box and found him with an inch-perfect ball over the top of the top of the Celta defence. The finish from the full-back was a formality, and absolute bedlam ensued at the Olympic Stadium.

In the news this week, Barcelona have made enquiries to Atletico Madrid and Manchester City, to make the loan deals for Felix and Cancelo permanent.

The club were also dealt a blow with news of an injury to Brazilian teenage sensation Vitor Roque, who is scheduled to join the club before the start of the 2024/25 campaign.

Girona win eight-goal thriller against Mallorca

Girona made it five consecutive wins in the league with a stellar attacking display in a 5-3 victory over Mallorca on Saturday.

Manager Michel continues to steal the headlines with his side playing an open, attractive brand of football. Girona are second in the table after this result, behind Barcelona only on goal difference.

Mallorca went ahead in the fourth minute through Vedat Muriqi from the penalty spot, but the home side came roaring back. They went into half-time with a 4-1 lead, thanks to goals from captain David Lopez, a penalty from Artem Dovbyk, Ivan Martin and Yangel Herrera.

Savio, who has caught the eye of everyone this season, made it 5-1 early in the second half.

Had Girona held on to this scoreline, they would have been top of the table. However, two late goals from substitute Abdon Prats made the scoreline a little respectable for Mallorca.

Around the grounds

The opening game of the weekend saw Athletic Bilbao run out 2-0 winners away at Deportivo Alaves, thanks to goals from Inaki Williams and Oihan Sancet.

Ten-man Las Palmas recorded their first victory of the season at home to Granada, with Kirian Rodriguez scoring the only goal of the game right at the end, in the second minute of stoppage time.

Villarreal and Real Betis were held to 1-1 draws by Rayo Vallecano and Cadiz, respectively.

In an absolute humdinger of a game at the San Sebastian, Real Sociedad came from behind to beat Getafe 4-3.

After going ahead in the second minute through in-form Takefusa Kubo, La Real were pegged back before half-time by a strike from Carlos Alena and a penalty from Borja Mayoral.

Mikel Oyarzabal came on in the second half and scored twice, while Brais Mendez added a fourth for Imanol Alguacil’s side. A stoppage-time goal for Getafe from Juanmi came as nothing more than a consolation.

Almeria drew 2-2 at home against Valencia. Sergio Arribas continued his fine start to the season with two goals for the hosts, while Diego Lopez and Javi Guerra scored for the visitors.

Osasuna and Sevilla played out a goalless draw in the only other game of the weekend.

Player of the week

The signings made on deadline day have proved to be a game-changer for Barcelona. With Felix being one of the players of the week last weekend, it was Cancelo who turned on the style this week.

The right-back has completely transformed Xavi’s team, with his technical ability on the ball coupled with a knack of finding all the right spaces.

With an assist for Lewandowski’s second goal, and a strike of his own which turned out to be the winner, Cancelo is this week’s best player in La Liga.

Looking ahead

The next round of fixtures comes in midweek, with teams only having a couple of days to recover and prepare.

Barcelona and Girona, both looking to make it six wins in a row, travel to Mallorca and Villarreal.

Madrid will look to bounce back from their defeat in the derby at home to Las Palmas, while Atletico travel to Osasuna.

Valencia host Sociedad at the Mestalla in what should be an entertaining affair between two teams looking to head in an upward direction.

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