Complete and utter shock in Spain as midnight football proves rather unpopular

Ah, midnight on a Monday. The witching hour. A time for luurve, romance or perhaps just getting some shut-eye on a school night. What better moment to start the second half of Zaragoza against Valladolid? That’s what LLL was considering over the summer, so it’s a big pat on the back to those running the game in Spain for matching the blog’s machinations with the scheduling of the final match in the first round of la Liga so LLL’s dream could come true.

Around 11,000 fans were also full of glee at the timing of the game, and went along to La Romareda before all trying to share the same taxi back home. However, there were some glum faces. A soporific Zaragoza missed the night-time adapted, but long since departed Jermaine Pennant, who would have been perfect for this match, and lost 1-0 at home to a Valladolid side who themselves managed to miss a penalty. “We have to improve, our opponents aren’t going to wait for us and we came late into the game,” admitted Manolo Jiménez.

The away win will be a bit of a boost for Valladolid, who have only just come up but may still go straight back down. The sweet smell of victory for the newly promoted team was shared by Deportivo, who played at the more reasonable hour of seven on Monday evening, and were a far cry from the awful, awful, awful version of the team that Miguel Angel Lotina took down fifteen months back before repeating the same crazy trick with Villarreal in May. The outfit was so different under José Luis Oltra that Deportivo played with actual strikers. Imagine that!

Unfortunately for Deportivo, one of them is still Riki, who botched a penalty but made amends by scuffing a shot under Osasuna’s Andrés Fernández. Deportivo then romped to a 2-0 win in the final seconds of the match to leave the Galicians in third at this early, early stage. “This result doesn’t change our perspective,” admitted the Deportivo boss, who shares the same gloom-filled view of the world as his predecessor, it seems. “This is a long and difficult year.”

Rayo began their campaign with a victory over Granada, but only by the hairs of the club’s debt-ridden chinny-chin-chin with Roberto Trashorras whacking in a free kick in injury time. “On the whole I’m happy, but not completely satisfied,” said another happy camper in the form of new Rayo boss, Páco Jémez. Also completely unsatisfied where the club’s ever-imaginative Ultras who protested about the 9pm kick-off time by unfurling an unrepeatable banner concerning the League’s Vice President and his mother.

AS saved LLL a lot of effort by calculating that the ten stadiums hosting games on the opening weekend (and Monday evening) were only at 61% capacity weekend, down from 70% last season, when matches where held on the weekend of 27/28th August. The attendance at Sevilla reached just 20,000, while Barcelona only managed 57,000 at their game against Real Sociedad in the Camp Nou. The three games kicking off at 11pm saw the unsurprising result of just 31% capacity - a poor performance that will only encourage those setting the kick-off times next August, rather than persuading them that the whole weekend was a bit of a mess and that they should sit in the corner to reconsider the unconventional decisions that they made.

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