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La Liga Weekly: Real Madrid thump Girona, Celta Vigo’s woes continue

It was a double Matchday week in La Liga, with several thrills and spills. We had a surprise leader for three days, while the bottom two went face-to-face.

Here’s a look at everything that went down in Spain’s top division this week.

Girona go top of the table, before Real Madrid reality check

Girona’s dream start to the season continued, with Michel’s side going top of the table after the midweek round of fixtures.

With Barcelona dropping points, Girona’s 2-1 away victory over Villarreal was enough to see them end Gameweek 7 at the summit.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Catalonian side, as they went behind at the El Madrigal to a Dani Parejo penalty early in the second half.

However, Girona showed guts to recover, with two goals in five minutes from Artem Dovbyk and Eric Garcia.

The elation lasted no more than three days, as the table-toppers were brought shattering down to earth by Real Madrid at the weekend. Carlo Ancelotti’s side arrived in Girona and left with a 3-0 victory.

Goals from Joselu and Aurelien Tchouameni gave the visitors a 2-0 going into half-time before Jude Bellingham added a third in the second period – his sixth league goal this season.

Nacho was sent off in injury time, but that was just a tiny blot in an otherwise perfect week for Los Blancos.

This came after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Las Palmas in midweek, with goals from Brahim Diaz and Joselu.

After dropping down to third following defeat in the Madrid derby last weekend, Madrid are once again top of the table, with eight matches played.

Barcelona thankful to old foe for hard-fought victory over Sevilla

The visit of Sevilla was always going to be a big test for Barcelona at the weekend, with both sides having contrasting fortunes in midweek.

Sevilla were rampant at home against Almeria, with goals from Youssef El-Nesyri, Dodi Lukebakio, Suso, Erik Lamela and Kike Salas sealing a 5-1 victory.

Barcelona came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw at Mallorca. Xavi’s side were behind at the break, with goals from Vedat Muriqi and Abdon Prats either side of a Raphinha strike seeing the home side 2-1 ahead.

The saviour for the Catalans was an unlikely one, as Fermin Lopez came off the bench to score his first-ever goal for the club, to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Barcelona versus Sevilla was a game that wasn’t short on chances, with both goalkeepers earning their wages with some brilliant saves.

The deadlock was finally broken 15 minutes from time when Lamine Yamal’s header across the face of goal was bundled into his own net by Sergio Ramos.

The Spanish legend has had his fair share of forgettable moments against Barcelona in his career, but this one would have hurt just as hard as any of them.

Celta Vigo are in the bottom three

Celta Vigo have had a terrible start to life under Rafael Benitez, and another forgettable week sees them in the relegation zone.

This would have been the week they were targeting to get maximum points in games against fellow strugglers Alaves and Las Palmas. However, Celta ended the latest round of fixtures with just one point from a possible six.

At home against Alaves in midweek, Benitez’s men took the lead in the first half thanks to a Rafa Marin own goal.

They made things hard for themselves, with Luca de la Torre getting sent off with 20 minutes to play. Alaves pounced within the next five minutes, with Samu Omorodion earning the visitors a point.

Celta were dealt an absolute heartbreaker at Las Palmas over the weekend.

They went ahead well into the second half through Anastasios Douvikas. With less than ten minutes to go, disaster struck.

Oscar Mingueza gave away a penalty for a silly foul on Marc Cardona, and the spot kick was duly converted by Jonathan Viera.

Cardona was in the limelight once again in the seventh minute of injury time, as he volleyed home the winner to send the home fans into raptures.

This victory sees Las Palmas climb out from the relegation zone to 14th, while Celta are 18th, with just five points from their opening eight games.

Around the grounds

It was a great week for Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad, with both sides picking up maximum points from their two games.

Atleti beat Osasuna 2-0 in midweek, with goals from Antoine Griezmann and Roman Riquelme. The victory was marred by a red card to Alvaro Morata late in the game.

Morata’s replacement, Angel Correa, played a starring role at the weekend, as Diego SImeone’s side came from 2-0 down to beat Cadiz 3-2. Correa scored twice, with Nahuel Molina adding the other.

For Sociedad, it was two wins and two clean sheets, starting with a 1-0 win over ten-man Valencia in midweek. Carlos Fernandez, given a start in this one by Imanol Alguacil, scored the only goal of the game.

This was followed by a magnificent display in the Basque derby against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend. Goals from Robin Le Normand, Takefusa Kubo and Mikel Oyarzabal saw La Real run out comfortable 3-0 winners over their close rivals.

In arguably the most dramatic game of the weekend, Granada produced an incredible second-half comeback to earn a 3-3 draw against Almeria. The point saw Granada stay in 19th, two points ahead of their opponents in the table.

A stunning five-minute hat-trick from Luis Suarez looked like it had done the business for Almeria in the first half.

A penalty in the 66th minute by Bryan Zaragoza Martinez gave the away side some hope before Ricard Sanchez cut the deficit even further four minutes later.

Mytro Uzuni produced an absolutely brilliant finish into the top corner with four minutes to go to complete the comeback.

Player of the week

With four goals in two games, Almeria’s Luis Suarez will be looking back at a bittersweet week. On a personal level, the Colombian scored his class, with his movement, finishing and poacher’s instinct all on show. However, his side remain rooted to the bottom of the table despite his effort.

His penalty against Sevilla was nothing more than a consolation in a 5-1 drubbing, while his fantastic hat-trick against Granada was also not enough to give Almeria all three points.

Looking ahead

Two in-form sides, Atletico and Sociedad, go face-to-face at the Metropolitano next Sunday. Even at this early stage in the season, this is a very important fixture in the race for the top four.

Madrid will look to continue at the summit when they host Osasuna, while Barcelona will look to be hot on their heels on their trip to lowly Granada.

Vigo host Getafe in their latest bid to turn their season around.

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