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La Liga roundup: Scoreless Madrid Derby draw; Messi-less Barcelona win (video)

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It wasn’t this season’s first Madrid Derby, but a Barcelona 2-0 win over Getafe without an injured Lionel Messi that headlines Saturday’s La Liga action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Getafe 0-2 Barcelona

With Lionel Messi out indefinitely, the show that is Barcelona had to go on. And that was exactly what happened on Saturday at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez as the defending champions cruised past Getafe, 2-0.

Luis Suarez, amid all of the questioning of his efficiency at the age of 32, responded to his critics with style. In the 41st minute, following a world-class, across-the-field pass from Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Suarez beat his marker and gently tapped the ball over David Soria.

Barcelona didn’t look back.

Just four minutes into the second half, Juan Firpo – summer arrival from Real Betis – scored his first goal in a Barcelona top. In a game that Antoine Griezmann struggled to find his groove in and Messi missed due to injury, Ernesto Valverde and company pulled through, moving two points shy of leaders and rivals Real Madrid.

Barcelona’s upcoming bouts, however, will give a much clearer perspective on the true status of the team.

Midweek, the Catalonians host Antonio Conte‘s unbeaten Inter Milan in Champions League play before taking on Sevilla days later at the Camp Nou. Getafe, on the other hand, travel to Russia midweek to take on Krasnodar. Days later, in league play, a red-hot Real Sociedad will give them a run for their money.

Atletico Madrid  0-0 Celta Vigo

Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid huffed and puffed for 90 minutes straight, but nothing came from it as the Madrid Derby ended as a scoreless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano Saturday night in Spain’s capital.

With both sides nearly at full strength, the highly-anticipated showdown between both rivals lived up the exactions – without the goals, obviously.

Just as the ball started rolling, Joao Felix was handed Los Colchoneros’ clearest opportunity at goal. The 19-year-old, possibly under the pressure of such passionate derby, rifled it inches off the far post. Later down the stretch of the game, the Portuguese sensation did just the same.

On Real Madrid’s end, if it wasn’t for Jan Oblak’s formidable night, Zinedine Zidane’s men easily could have ran away with three points. Toni Kroos, who was one of the game’s better players, had to key chances which were denied by Oblak. In the dying minutes of the game, Karim Benzema forced the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper to make a save-of-the-week type of block, which denied the visitors from winning the game.

Atletico Madrid, winners once in their last five games, travel to Moscow to take on Lokomotiv in Champions League group stage play, while Real Madrid host club Brugge midweek in the same competition.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Villarreal 5-1 Real Betis

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Valencia

Granada 1-0 Leganes

Transfers in Europe: Final deals done before deadline

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A roundup of the final few transfers completed across Europe on Monday, including a few outgoing deals involving players belonging to Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Transfer Deadline Day in Europe: Deals galore ]

Yannick Bolasie (Everton to Sporting CP)
Bolasie is headed out on loan for the third time in 12 months, following half-season spells at Aston Villa and Anderlecht last season. After arriving at Goodison Park for $30 million back in 2016, Bolasie has battled long-term injuries and a lack of fitness/form.

Mario Lemina (Southampton to Galatasaray)
This is just about all the needs to be said of Saints’ transfer activity over the last few years…

Kenedy (Chelsea to Getafe)
Speaking of players going out on multiple loan spells from their parent club, Kenedy has departed Stamford Bridge for the fourth time since joining the club in 2015. First, he went to Watford (one appearance); then it was Newcastle United (13 appearances); and again, to Newcastle United (23 appearance). It’s the first time the Brazilian has been loaned to a club outside the PL.

Andre Silva (AC Milan to Eintracht Frankfurt) & Ante Rebic (Frankfurt to Milan)
AC Milan and Eintracht Frankfurt have essentially swapped forwards for a period of one season. According to reports, neither loan agreement includes an option to buy. Silva scored 11 goals in 40 appearances while on loan to Sevilla last season. Rebic bagged 10 in 35 during Frankfurt’s magical 2018-19 season.

Jese Rodriguez (PSG to Sporting CP)
From Real Madrid, to Paris Saint-Germain, to Las Palmas, to Stoke City, to Real Betis, and now Sporting CP, Jese has been trying to right the wrongs of his career for a few years now. Now 26, he has made 20 or more league appearances just once in his career (2015-16 for Madrid).

La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win first opener in four years

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Spain’s top flight is two days into a new season, and here’s a roundup of all of Sunday’s action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Getafe

It wasn’t done in aesthetically pleasing fashion, but Atletico Madrid won their first opening season game in four years.

In fact, the first half was rough with both Atletico and Getafe loosing players to straight red cards. Getafe’s Jorge Molina saw red for a studs-up challenge in the 38th minute, while Renan Lodi was asked to leave the field in his debut for Los Colchoneros. 

Summer signing Alvaro Morata proved to be the difference for Atletico, however. Assisted by former Tottenham fullback Kieran Trippier, the team’s academy product scored early on in the 23rd minute – the goal made Atletico one of eight clubs to start the season with three points.

$140 million signing Joao Felix also made his La Liga debut, and impressed the home crowd with a dazzling run in the second half that ended drawing a penalty for Atletico. Morata missed.

Not the smoothest of games for Diego Simeone’s side, but like Real Madrid, they already have an edge on Barcelona.

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla 

Julen Lopetegui can finally breathe (and coach) in peace.

Following a series of unfortunate events with the Spanish national team and Real Madrid, Lopetegui and Sevilla started their new era in a winning way.

Sergio Reguilon got things started for the visiting side with a tap in inside the six-yard box. And in the final minutes, no stranger to stepping up for Sevilla, Nolito slotted one past Diego Lopez.

With only two shots on frame to speak for them, Espanyol was one, two steps behind Los Hispalenses, who look for another top-six finish in Spain’s top-flight league.

Sevilla’s young quest for that continues as they travel to Granada. Meanwhile, Espanyol have no time to waist with a Europa League play-off bout against Ukrainian side Zorya lined up midweek.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Real Valladolid

Alaves 1-0 Levante

Transfer rumor roundup: Man City joins race for Spanish playmaker

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Manchester City is now looking to win the race to sign former Barcelona academy winger Dani Olmo after the Spaniard shined brighter than most in the nation’s championship run at the U-21 EUROs.

They’ll have to beat out a host of clubs including Barca, with Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and Real Madrid also said to be on the laundry list of clubs eyeing up the Dinamo Zagreb 21-year-old.

[ MORE: Herrera to PSG ]

Olmo just posted a 12-goal, nine-assist season with the Croatian side, including two and four in the Europa League. He got on the board against Benfica, Anderlecht, and Fenerbahce amongst others, so not like he’s picking on the minnows.

The Catalan youngster started his academy career at Espanyol before spending seven seasons with Barcelona’s youth set-up.

Plus if you go to the 1:12 mark of this video, you can watch him dribble through fog to score (although perhaps fog is to the advantage of the ball handler?).

Spanish striker Alvaro Vazquez is off to Canada, but for which team?

Reports say the 28-year-old has an offer from one of the three Major League Soccer teams north of the border, and is currently there.

Vazquez scored 10 goals in Spain’s second flight last season for Real Zaragoza, and is two seasons removed from a pair of productive seasons in the top flight with Getafe.

Mainly a center forward, Vazquez can also handle being deployed out wide and was on loan with Toronto FC’s Pozuelo when the pair were with Swansea City in 2013-14.

Some internet sleuths are positing a reunion due to the following Instagram comments:

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😃⚽️ #training @TorontoFC

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La Liga: Real Madrid win to stay within striking distance of second

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: PSG crowned Ligue 1 champions with five games left ]

Real Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao

Karim Benzema bagged a hat trick (WATCH HERE) — his 19th, 20th and 21st goals of the league season (second-most, 12 behind Lionel Messi) — to send Real Madrid to a comfortable victory over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu. The result also keeps Los Blancos within four points of capital rivals Atletico Madrid in something of a battle for second place behind runaway leaders Barcelona.

Benzema has scored 10 goals in his last seven La Liga appearances, a run in which Madrid have complied a 5W-1D-1L record. Benzema failed to score in Zinedine Zidane’s re-debut as Madrid manager, but has scored eight goals in five games since.

Sunday’s game marked the 300th league appearance for midfielder and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric in a Real Madrid shirt.

Getafe 3-0 SevillaWATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sevilla’s hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League following a one-year hiatus took a serious hit on Sunday, as Pablo Machin’s side was hammered by Getafe, the side which now occupies fourth place, two points ahead of them. Getafe continue to enjoy their meteoric rise through the Spanish ranks, as they were competing in the second division this time two years ago.

Two of the three goals the scored on Sunday came from the penalty spot, as Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina converted in the 35th and 45th+4′, respectively. Molina completed the scoring eight minutes into the second half.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Valencia
Levante 2-2 Espanyol
Villarreal 2-1 Leganes