Yunus Musah

Yunus Musah and ten-man Valencia heroically held on to an early lead to start the season on a high note, while Sergiño Dest is seemingly on the outs for Barcelona as their financial trickery didn’t prevent on-field mediocrity.

FC Valencia 1 – 0 FC Girona

Yunus Musah went the distance in Valencia’s midfield on Sunday night, helping them to lock down and hang on for the win against Girona after a dismissal early in the second half left them with their backs against the wall.

Musah lined up on the right side of a three-man midfield, and had a strong outing in the season opener. He had a total of 36 touches, took a pair of shots in the first half when Valencia were still on the front foot, and completed 83% of his 23 passes.

He showed hints of a vicious nature in the 18th minute, when he received the ball deep in the right flank and charged towards the area before unleashing a low shot towards the far post that flew a few yards wide.

He came even closer in the 38th minute, receiving the ball in a good position in the middle of the area from Carlos Soler, however his one-times shot was blocked before it reached the Girona keeper.

Still, Valencia were first on the board with the game’s only goal at the tail-end of the first half. Samu Castillejo fired in a free kick from the right side, attempting to slide it just to the left of the Girona wall. Valery Fernández failed to keep his right arm in front of his torso, leading the referee to point to the spot.

Valencia’s captain stepped up to the spot and made easy work his successful attempt, taking a short stutter-step on his approach before chipping it to the right of goal, opposite of the keeper’s ill-fated diving attempt.

The game was flipped on its head just before the 50 minute mark, shortly after Eray Cömert was initially shown a yellow card for a harsh tackle on Valentín Castellanos. Much to the dismay of the hosts, the VAR team opted to review the tackle, and upgraded it to a red for Cömert’s blatant ankle-stamp, leaving Valencia down a man for the final 40 minutes.

Nevertheless, they were heroic in their defense of the narrow lead, and managed to eke out the victory.

Musah and his teammates will try to hang on to their first-week momentum when they go on the road to face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Highlights of the game can be seen here.

Celta Vigo 2 – 2 Espanyol

Luca de la Torre missed out on his La Liga debut while American U-20 target Luca Koleosho earned late sub minutes as Celta Vigo and Espanyol ended on even terms on Saturday.

The season started well enough for the hosts, taking the lead just before the half on an angled shot from Iago Aspas, then doubling it three minutes past the hour thanks to a towering header from Goncalo Paciencia.

However, Espanyol didn’t lose their cool and was able to snatch an unlikely draw from the road encounter.

Their come-back began in the 72nd minute when Edu Exposito put away a poorly cleared cross from 18 yards out following a bad giveaway in the Celta midfield, giving his team a new lifeline.

Koleosho entered the game in the 80th minute for right winger Rubén Sánchez, adding fresh legs to the attack as the surged for the equalizer.

The goal they so desperately needed came deep into injury time, after Barcelona cast-off Óscar Mingueza knocked over Joselu in the area while the two tussled for a long throw-in.

Play continued for awhile after the seemingly innocuous infraction, with Koleosho even managing to fire in a fine cross from the right flank in the follow-up. However the VAR booth eventually led to the visitors being awarded a spot kick, which Joselu coolly put away to earn the point.

Koleosho will look to continue getting minutes when Espanyol host Rayo Vallecano on Friday, while de la Torre will hope to make his debut on Saturday when the Sky Blues welcome reigning league and European champions Real Madrid.

Highlights of the game can be seen here.

SD Eibar 2 – 1 CD Tenerife

Samuel Shashoua was in Tenerife’s starting lineup, but couldn’t help them to start their La Liga 2 season on the front foot as they fell at SD Eiba on Saturday.

In his 80 minutes on the right side of the midfield, Shashoua had 35 touches, completed 15 of 16 passing attempts, took a pair of shots and two corners for his team, and drew two fouls.

Mohammed Dauda put Tenerife ahead in the 49th minute in spectacular fashion, sending a rocket of a shot from the upper left corner of the area to the far upper corner of goal.

The lead wouldn’t stand, however with Frederico Venancio heading home a free kick in the 55th minute, then Stoichkov earning the three points for Eibar with an 84th-minute spot kick following a hand-ball by the Tenerife defense.

Tenerife and Shashoua are back in action on Sunday when they host Lugo.

Highlights of the game can be seen here.

Notes

Sergiño Dest was mysteriously not in uniform for Barcelona on Saturday for their lifeless, scoreless draw at home against the mighty Rayo Vallecano. If he’s still with the financially shady Catalans next weekend, he will hope to make his first season appearance on Sunday when they visit Real Sociedad.

Jonathan Gómez wasn’t in uniform for Real Sociedad on Sunday for their 1-0 road win over Cadiz. Gómez, who is currently still playing with the team’s development squad in the Spanish third tier before graduating to the first team, will see his season commence in late-August.

Armando Shashoua, brother of Tenerife’s Samuel Shashoua, made his debut for UD Ibiza on Sunday in their 2-0 home loss to Granada. Shashoua started in his team’s central midfield and played 72 minutes.

By David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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