Mood mournful as La Liga kicks off

GAME GOES ON: A minute’s silence for the victims of Barcelona attack was held at Leganes and Valencia, where Zaza scored the game’s only goal against Las Palmas. PHOTO COURTESY: Valencia FC/Twitter
GAME GOES ON: A minute’s silence for the victims of Barcelona attack was held at Leganes and Valencia, where Zaza scored the game’s only goal against Las Palmas. PHOTO COURTESY: Valencia FC/Twitter
MADRID: Valencia ended a three-match losing streak against Las Palmas as the new La Liga season got underway in sombre mood on Friday following the terror attacks in Catalonia which left 14 people dead.

A minute’s silence for the victims was held in Valencia and at Leganes, who hosted Alaves, where a moving rendition of “Cant dels Ocells” (“The song of the Birds”), a traditional Catalan song, was also sung.

Italian striker Simone Zaza, a former West Ham player who joined Valencia on a permanent deal in the summer after being loaned out by Juventus, scored the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute after being set-up by Carlos Soler.
Things got worse for Las Palmas, who like Valencia finished mid-table last season, when they were reduced to 10 men when Croatian midfielder Alen Halilovic was red-carded.

Las Palmas had won the last three league games between the teams including a 4-2 romp in the corresponding fixture 12 months ago.

Alaves, who lost the Copa del Rey final 3-1 to Barcelona last season before losing coach Mauricio Pellegrino to Southampton of the English Premier League, suffered a 1-0 defeat at Leganes.

With Argentine coach Luis Zubeldia now in the hot-seat but without midfielder Enzo Zidane, the son of Real boss and French legend Zinedine, missing from the match day squad, Alaves were unable to start their new era with a win.

In fact it was Brazilian striker Gabriel who scored the only goal of the game after 24 minutes for a Leganes side who narrowly avoided relegation last season.

The 23-year-old was alert to the opportunity which presented itself when Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco managed to only parry a deflected free-kick from Miguel Angel Guerrero into his path.

 

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