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La Liga returns as modest Huesca make a major impact | Sid Lowe


Huesca are the 63rd team to make it up to primera and they marked their first game there with an historic success

On the opening day of the season, the happiest boy in the Basque country was in the stand on Indalezio Ojanguren street, when his cool older cousin came across to get him. It was full-time and everyone had left the pitch at Ipurúa, the picturesque little home of Eibar, but Huesca winger Álex Gallar headed the other way towards the family that had flown in from Mallorca, lifted him over the barrier and together they walked across the grass holding hands, waving at the 500 fans at one end. Then they disappeared down the tunnel and turned right in the direction of the dressing room, where celebrations had started, thud-thud-thud audible through the walls.

Not long after, in one corner of La Liga’s smallest stadium, he stood wearing one Huesca shirt and holding another – three times the size he is and sweaty still – smiling and watching, eyes wide, as Gallar stood in front of a TV camera and tried but mostly failed to find the words. When the camera failed too and they fiddled, trying to get a loose screw to go back in, Gallar grinned at his cousin, grinned at the little pack of fluffy radio mics across the room, shrugged and said: “Them next.” Now they all wanted to talk to him. He had, after all, just scored twice, the first of them wonderful, gliding in left-footed with a swish of the hips and a dip of the shoulder, going past two and easing smoothly, almost gently into the area before finishing with his right.

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Girona 0–0 Valladolid, Betis 0–3 Levante, Celta 1–1 Espanyol, Villarreal 1–2 Real Sociedad, Barcelona 3–0 Alavés, Eibar 1–2 Huesca, Rayo 1–4 Sevilla, Madrid 2–0 Getafe. Monday night: Valencia-Atlético, Athletic-Leganés.

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