First LaLiga derby of the season kicks off weekend fixtures

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Manager Robert Moreno of Granada CF attends questions from the media. Photo: Ãlex Cámara/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Manager Robert Moreno of Granada CF attends questions from the media. Photo: Ãlex Cámara/NurPhoto via Getty Images

SPORT


The first round of the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season didn’t disappoint, with late goals, big wins and emerging stars grabbing the headlines.

Now that Spanish football is well and truly back, fans can look forward to the first derby of the new campaign as Real Betis host Cádiz CF on Friday night.

This is a clash between two Andalusian sides with passionate fans and it will be extra special since this will be the first regional derby Cádiz play in front of fans since returning to Spain’s top flight last season.

On Saturday, Alavés’ fixture with RCD Mallorca is a huge match-up. It will be a particularly intriguing match for Japanese football fans, as former FC Tokyo team-mates Taichi Hara and Takefusa Kubo could go up against each other.

Elsewhere, the spotlight will be on the reigning Europa League champions Villarreal CF as they take on RCD Espanyol. Granada CF host Valencia CF in another tricky fixture in which two new coaches square off, as Robert Moreno and José Bordalás look to build on their promising starts at their new clubs.

Espanyol’s fixture will be a joyous one for their fanbase as LaLiga football returns to the RCDE Stadium. The Pericos test themselves against the winners of second-tier European club competition.

In the final match of Saturday night, a classic Spanish football fixture will take place in Bilbao as Athletic Club go up against FC Barcelona at 10pm.

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These two sides have never been relegated, playing every LaLiga season since the first in 1929. They’ve also met a lot in cup competitions, including last season’s Super Cup and Copa del Rey finals. This will be the fifth meeting between the sides this year.

The results have been three victories for Barça and one for Athletic Club, but this is always a tricky trip for the Catalans and a fascinating game of football is in store.

On Sunday, last season’s fifth-placed side Real Sociedad host a newly promoted Rayo Vallecano in San Sebastián, with both sides looking to pick up their first points of the season.

Even though Atlético de Madrid started their title defence with a victory, Diego Simeone’s side have another big game as they play in front of their home fans in the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano for the first time in a year and a half.

The defending champions will want to put on a show for their fans as they host Elche CF, although it has to be remembered that the Franjiverdes caused Atleti many headaches in their two meetings last season.

Sunday’s other late kick off is between Real Madrid and Levante UD.

This is always a tough fixture for Los Blancos, who haven’t taken six points from six against the Granotas since Levante returned to the top division in 2017. The evenly matched sides have met eight times – with three victories each and two draws.

In fact, one of the last games at home before the Covid-19 pandemic Levante beat Real Madrid thanks to a long-range slammer from captain Jose Luis Morales. Fans in the newly renovated Ciutat de Valencia would love nothing more than a repeat of that this weekend.

  • Watch LaLiga live this weekend on SuperSport 4


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