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Sport

Granada make strong start by beating Athletic, promoted Cadiz lose to Osasuna

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Granada v Athletic Bilbao - Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain - September 12, 2020 Granada's Yangel Herrera celebrates scoring their first goal with Darwin Machis REUTERS/Jon Nazca

GRANADA, Spain (Reuters) - Granada beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at home on Saturday on the opening day of the La Liga season, beginning the new campaign as they had ended the last.

Elsewhere, Cadiz’s return to the top flight after 14 years was spoiled by a 2-0 defeat at home to Osasuna, while Eibar drew 0-0 at home to Celta Vigo, with all matches still taking place without spectators due to coronavirus restrictions.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were among six sides who missed the opening weekend due to finishing last season late.

Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera put Granada ahead early in the second half with a glancing header before Luis Milla doubled their advantage with a thumping effort from outside the area.

Athletic’s star man Inaki Williams was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up by coach Gaizka Garitano but the forward came closest to scoring for the visitors when he did come off the bench, striking the bar with a shot with his knee.

Granada had thrashed Athletic 4-0 at home in their final game of last season to finish seventh in the standings and qualify for European competition for the first time in their history.

The match was supposed to be the league’s opening game on Friday but less than 48 hours before kick off it was switched to Saturday after the Spanish soccer federation ruled matches could not be played on Fridays or Mondays.

Eibar’s game with Celta started the season instead. Celta looked the more likely side to score but were thwarted by Eibar’s goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic, while the home side had midfielder Pape Diop sent off late on for a second booking.

Former Atletico Madrid and Spain forward Adrian Lopez fired Osasuna into the lead in the 10th minute at Cadiz while Ruben Garcia sealed the victory in the 79th, spinning away from a defender and smashing a bouncing cross high into the net.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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