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La Liga: Early-season drama expected amid tasty derby clashes

14:30 BST 23/08/2019
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2019-20
LaLiga Santander’s week two schedule brings further stiff tests for the big boys, alongside very tasty derby clashes up and down the country

LaLiga returned with a bang last weekend, with early reminders of the level of competition coming as defending champions Barcelona were beaten in Bilbao by Athletic Club and all three promoted sides went unbeaten.

Barca could have captain Lionel Messi fit and available on Sunday evening when they host Real Betis, who were the only opposition team to win at the Camp Nou last term.

Real Madrid will want to keep up the momentum generated by their 3-1 opening day victory at Celta Vigo when they host Real Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors’ president Ronaldo Nazario sure a warm welcome back at his old club.

After Atletico Madrid’s new star Joao Felix had an exciting LaLiga debut in last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Getafe, the Rojiblancos have another derby on Sunday evening when they visit CD Leganes, a fixture which has resulted in a draw in three consecutive seasons.

The weekend’s action begins with an all-Andalusian clash on Friday afternoon, as newly promoted Granada host Sevilla at Los Carmenes. New Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui registered a 2-0 debut win at Espanyol on the opening day, while Granada surprised almost everyone in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Villarreal.

Villarreal will go looking for their first three points of the 2019/20 season when they visit neighbours Levante later on Friday. Another high scoring clash is likely, as both sides have strengthened in attack over the summer.

Saturday’s action kicks off with a Basque region derby at Ipurua, with last year’s LaLiga SmartBank winners Osasuna aiming to make it six points from two games as they make the short trip to Eibar. Local rivals Athletic Club will also aim to keep up their 100% record when they travel to the capital to face a Getafe side who went down fighting at Atletico last weekend.

New Valencia forward Maxi Gomez returns to his old stomping ground this weekend, as Los Che visit Celta Vigo, with both teams looking to kick-start their campaigns with a first win.

Deportivo Alaves and Espanyol had mixed fortunes on day one, and their clash at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday afternoon will be another tight affair, history tells us.

Balearic Islanders Mallorca, back in the big time following two consecutive promotions, will be looking to make it two wins from two when they host a Real Sociedad team who snatched a last-gasp draw at Valencia last weekend thanks to a 90th minute penalty from rising star Mikel Oyarzabal.

As always in LaLiga Santander, drama is guaranteed.

Full SuperSport LaLiga schedule:

Saturday 24 August

Real Madrid vs Valladolid | SS7 & SS10 (ROA) | Kickoff at 19:00 (CAT)

Sunday 25 August

Barcelona vs Real Betis | SS7 | Kickoff at 21:00 (CAT)