La Liga Game of the Weekend – Rayo Vallecano 1-4 Sevilla

sevillaWhat an opening weekend of the new season it proved to be for former Europa League champions Sevilla. Travelling to last season’s Segunda División champions Rayo Vallecano, Los Rojiblancos wound up finishing the day at the summit of Spain’s top-flight after beating their hosts 4-1. The match served as a wonderful start for Pablo Machín’s side, and also a stark warning to newboys Rayo about the level of football being played in La Liga right now. The last time they spent in the competition was back in 2016, when they were relegated with an 18th-placed finish. Their first season in the second flight was disappointing as they ended 12th, but those wrongs were corrected as they won the title last season, hoping to re-solidify themselves at the top level having spent five seasons there previous to their relegation.

The arrival of Sevilla offered some insight as to exactly where Los Vallecanos are at at the moment, however – and if early signs are anything to go by, it could be a long season at Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas. Things began to look bleak after just nine minutes, when Sevilla had the ball in the back of the net before it was ruled out for offside. Midfielder Franco Vázquez opened the visitors’ account just six minutes later, getting on the end of a squared cross into the box to finish low inside Alberto García‘s near post. Things went from bad to worse as André Silva netted twice before the interval, making it 0-3 at half time.

The former Milan midfielder then completed his hattrick with a little over ten minutes to go, becoming the first player to score three on his La Liga debut since Romario managed the feat on his Barcelona debut against Real Sociedad in 1993. Adri Embarba scored a late penalty for the hosts, but it proved little more than consolation. The result means that Silva is the highest fantasy points-scoring midfielder in the whole of La Liga up to now, having amassed 14 from his opening 90 minutes. That kind of form is enough to catch anyone’s eye, and the fact that he plays for one of the top teams in the league will certainly encourage some players to bring him into their fantasy squad.

Vázquez earned himself six points thanks to his goal and providing the assist for one of Silva’s strikes, while Gabriel Mercado, Sergio Escudero and Jesús Navas bagged two for themselves thanks to their assists. Things aren’t quite so rosy on the Rayo Vallecano front, of course. Embarba’s goal means he is the only player for the home side to have ended with a positive points tally (four), but it was certainly a season opener to forget for keeper García (-6), and defenders Abdoulaye Ba, Jordi Amat, Roberto Román Triguero and José Antonio Dorado, who are each now on -3. Midfielder Jose Pozo is also on negative points with -1, thanks to a booking.

Victors Sevilla next play on Sunday evening when they host Villarreal, while Rayo Vallecano have another corker of a match on their hands as they travel to Atletico Madrid on Saturday evening.

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