Spanish clubs relieved to resume La Liga after CL turmoil



BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Antoine Griezmann laughed. Sergi Roberto booed. Sevilla are grateful for having drawn with an Austrian side.

The Spanish teams were eagerly awaiting the end of the summer and the return of the Champions League.

Not this time.

Of the five Spanish teams, Real Madrid were the only ones able to secure a victory in the first group of matches of the European elite competition.

And even Madrid will be relieved to return to the Spanish league on Sunday when they visit Valencia with the two points tied for the top of the table with Atlético Madrid.

Valencia have exceeded expectations under new coach José Bordalás and an exceptional season for Carlos Soler. The midfielder leads Valencia with three goals and has scored twice for Spain in World Cup qualifying in recent weeks.

But Carlo Ancelotti will expect his Madrid to offer more at Mestalla Stadium than just another gritty defensive performance that kept him alive against Inter Milan before Rodrygo could snatch a 1-0 win with a goal at the 89th minute on Wednesday.

Rodrgyo was only Madrid’s second shot aimed at Inter’s goal in the entire game. It took Dani Carvajal almost an hour to score the first goal.

Until then, Madrid were on the verge of replicating Barcelona’s embarrassment which was too much for some of their fans to bear.

Overwhelmed 3-0 by Bayern Munich, Barcelona failed to field a single shot on goal throughout the game on Tuesday.

The crowd, returning to Camp Nou for their first European game since the start of the pandemic, expressed frustration with Roberto. The local player who instantly became a hero for his latest winner in Barcelona’s memorable 6-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, was booed when he was substituted after being completely outmaneuvered by Alphonso Davies of the Bayern.

Coach Ronald Koeman and club president Joan Laporta have asked their fans to be patient but the pressure will be immense on the team to respond with a convincing victory when Granada visit without a win on Monday.

Atlético’s talented attack was thwarted by Porto in a scoreless stalemate on Wednesday, when Antoine Griezmann suffered an unpleasant reception at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

The French striker was booed both before kick-off and when he came on as a second-half substitute. Many Atlético fans are still angry that he left the team for Barcelona two years ago, only to return on loan at the end of the transfer market this summer when Barcelona had to lose his salary.

But an attack that can also field Luis Suárez, João Félix, Ángel Correa and Yannick Carrasco still has not found a way to break Porto, who were only deprived of the victory by a video review which spotted a handball which canceled a possible latecomer. goal.

“We have recovered an extraordinary player. We hope he can come back to his best and respond to people who criticize him, ”coach Diego Simeone said of Griezmann. “He faces a great challenge.

Griezmann will have another chance to win back the hearts of Atlético’s faithful on Saturday against the undefeated Athletic Bilbao.

When Sevilla visit Real Sociedad on Sunday, they will hope to avoid the amateur mistakes that cost them a 1-1 draw with Salzburg.

Sevilla committed three penalties, all for reckless tackles, in the first half on Tuesday. Sevilla ended up seeing the point as a good result after forward Youssef En-Nesyri was sent off shortly after half-time with a second warning for faking a foul in the box.

Villarreal also drew Atalanta 2-2 and went winless in five appearances in all competitions this campaign. Last season’s Europa League winner will try to break through his bad patch when he travels to Mallorca on Sunday.


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