Spanish league begins with tributes to victims of attacks
LEGANES, Spain (AP) — Leganes defeated Alaves 1-0 to get the Spanish league underway on Friday, after they paid tribute to the victims of the attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils.
A minute of silence was held before the match, and will also be observed ahead of all league games this weekend.
Valencia defeated 10-man Las Palmas in the late match thanks to a first-half goal by striker Simone Zaza.
Defending champion Real Madrid and Barcelona will play on Sunday, but both squads held a minute of silence before their training sessions on Friday.
Barcelona players will wear shirts worded with “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back when they host Real Betis at Camp Nou. The hashtag “TotsSomBarcelona” (We are all Barcelona) will be on the front of the shirts, following the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 others.
Titleholder Real Madrid will debut at Deportivo La Coruna without Cristiano Ronaldo, who is serving a suspension for shoving a referee in the Spanish Super Cup final which Madrid won.
Atletico Madrid opens at promoted Girona on Saturday.
Gabriel scored the league’s first goal from close range after Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco partially stopped a free kick cross. Gabriel appeared to be offside, igniting criticism for the lack of video review in La Liga.
Alaves, which surprised as a promoted club last season by finishing ninth and reaching the Copa del Rey final, missed a chance to open the scoring when Manu Garcia missed a penalty kick less than 10 minutes before Gabriel’s first-half goal.
Leganes made its top-flight debut last season.
Zaza, who was signed by Valencia after playing for the club on a loan from Juventus last season, scored the winner for the hosts at Mestalla Stadium with a well-placed left-footed shot from just outside the area in the 22nd minute.
Las Palmas played a man down from the 33rd after midfielder Alen Halilovic was sent off with a straight red card for a hard tackle on Jose Gaya.