Valencia got their 2017-18 La Liga season off to a winning start on Friday as they overcame 10-man Las Palmas 1-0 at the Mestalla Stadium.
Simone Zaza opened the scoring for the hosts in the first half, and Alen Halilovic dented Las Palmas' hopes of a comeback not long after as he was given his marching orders for a poor challenge.
Earlier in the day, the 2017-18 season got under way at Butarque in Madrid, where Leganes overcame visitors Alaves 1-0 thanks to Gabriel's goal.
Here's a look at the schedule for the rest of the weekend and a recap of two intriguing matches that got the La Liga season started.
Friday, August 18
Leganes 1-0 Alaves
Valencia 1-0 Las Palmas
Saturday, August 19
Celta Vigo vs. Real Sociedad
Girona vs. Atletico Madrid
Sevilla vs. Espanyol
Sunday, August 20
Athletic Bilbao vs. Getafe
Barcelona vs. Real Betis
Deportivo La Coruna vs. Real Madrid
Monday, August 21
Levante vs. Villarreal
Malaga vs. Eibar
The full La Liga table is provided by Sky Sports here.
Although Leganes' clash with Alaves may not have been the most glamorous way to open a league season, as we can see courtesy of The Guardian's Sid Lowe, Butarque was looking a picture:
Sid Lowe @sidlowe
Ah, Butarque. We've missed you. #tsfpatthegames https://t.co/hVTKzqE5G22017-8-18 19:02:02
Those in attendance got an entertaining first half, too. Alaves had the chance to go ahead from the penalty spot after 17 minutes, but Manu Garcia's tame effort was comfortably saved by Ivan Cuellar in the Leganes goal.
Per OptaJose, the stopper is developing a reputation in penalty situations, saving the last three he's faced in La Liga.
His stop inspired the hosts, with Gabriel looking especially lively. And it was the midfielder, a couple of minutes after firing just wide, who tucked home from close range after a parried shot fell into his path after 24 minutes.
The Spanish Football Podcast Twitter account caught the aftermath:
Spanish Football Pod @tsf_podcast
And the first La Liga goal of the season sparks wild celebrations at Butarque... https://t.co/rWGAehXXET2017-8-18 18:40:57
Chances were at a premium for the rest of the encounter, though Alaves did carry more of a threat in the second period. With seven minutes left, Burgui came closest to an equaliser, as he rattled the crossbar.
The day's second game got off to a rapid start as well, with Valencia vibrant under new boss Marcelino.
Zaza produced a wonderful finish from the edge of the box in the 22nd minute to give the home side the lead. But the key moment came 12 minutes later when Halilovic was shown a red card for a reckless challenge.
Simon Harrison wasn't totally convinced it merited a red card:
Simon Harrison @simonhfootball
Got to feel a little bit sorry for Alen Halilovic. Bad tackle, for sure, but it was an honest attempt for the ball. #LaLiga2017-8-18 20:48:58
With the extra man advantage Valencia controlled the game in the second period, with Joao Cancelo proving a particularly tough man to pin down. But they found the cohesive 10 men tough to break down and eventually had to make do with a narrow win.
After a dominant 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona in the 2017 Super Cup, all eyes will be on champions Real Madrid to see how they begin their campaign against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Manager Zinedine Zidane will have to make do without Cristiano Ronaldo for the beginning of the season due to suspension, yet Madrid are still a force to be reckoned with without their attacking talisman. Los Blancos have class in every single area of the field.
And while there's so many stars to get excited about in the final third, it's Marco Asensio who has had pulses racing ahead of the new season.
As noted by journalist Kieran Canning, he's one of a number of young jewels in this Madrid squad:
Kieran Canning @KieranCanning
Theo (19), Asensio (21), Kovacic (23), Varane (24), Isco, Casemiro, Carvajal (25), Kroos (27). Not to mention Vallejo, Llorente, Ceballos...2017-8-16 22:59:36
Barcelona, by contrast, have big issues to address in their setup, with the team seemingly still reeling from the sale of Neymar.
Against an imperious Madrid team, they were stifled easily, with Los Blancos keeping the ball and creating chances at will. Barca will need to improve if they're to begin the season with a win on Saturday and make massive strides if they're to challenge Madrid for the title this term.
Per journalist Graham Hunter, the Blaugrana also have a couple of key players missing for the match with Real Betis:
Graham Hunter @BumperGraham
#Barça announce #Suárez out 4 weeks. #Piqué adductor strain, no time specified for recovery but looks likely absent v Betis2017-8-17 13:12:01
The side most likely to push the big two will once again be Atletico Madrid. They will begin the season with a potentially testing visit to Girona, who have been busy in the transfer window since their promotion last term.
Elsewhere, Sevilla begin their domestic campaign under new manager Eduardo Berizzo with a home clash with Espanyol.