First division - day 1
Real Madrid joined the leaders at the top of the division after beating Espanyol 2-0 on Monday evening. With new signing Ronaldo watching from the stands, Madrid were pushed back in the opening ten minutes. However they gradually took control ,and after a sustained period of attack Iván Helguera headed them into the lead from Figo's corner. A great performance from Espanyol keeper Sergio Sánchez and some poor finishing by the home side kept the visitors in the game in the second half, and Roger rattled the crossbar with a quarter of an hour to go. However late substitute McManaman finally put the fans at ease with a last minute goal. (01.09.02)
What a start to the league! An exciting first Sunday produced no less than 32 goals in the eight games, with Betis recording the result of the day with four goals at Deportivo, and Real Sociedad also getting four in the Basque derby. Málaga's Musampa produced the league's first hat-trick as his side came back from two goals down to win, and Atlético Madrid returned to the top flight with a draw in the Nou camp against Barcelona. Real Madrid will play Espanyol tomorrow, although their flamboyant new signing Ronaldo will not be making his debut just yet.
Betis top the table though after a spectacular 2-4 win at Deportivo La Coruña. Inspired by a fantastic Marcos Assunçao who hit the woodwork three times from free kicks, new manager Víctor Fernández saw his side go two up against the Spanish Super Cup champions. Assunçao hit the first himself with a spectacular shot from outside of the area, and Alfonso got the second from the penalty spot after Romero barged into a Joaquín in full flight. Makaay pulled one back with a shot in off the post, but Arzu restored the two goal lead before the break heading home Assunçao's corner. Joaquín turned in Alfonso's cross after the break to make it four, and Irureta turned in desperation to Diego Tristán and Luque. Tristán it was who forced a penalty when brought down by Juanito, and the international striker converted the spot kick himself. It was little consolation though, and Assunçao could have got a fifth later in the game to complete the rout.
Betis share top spot with Real Sociedad, who beat their local rivals Athletic Bilbao 4-2 in one of the most exciting Basque derbies in years. Valeri Karpin celebrated his return to San Sebastian with an opportunist goal just before the half hour mark, but a minute later youngster Gurpegui levelled the scores after another young player Arriaga laid the ball across. Two mistakes though either side of half time by Athletic keeper Lafuente let in Turkish World Cup player Nihat to put Real well ahead, the first a free kick which he bounced in front of him and the second a shot through his legs. Gurpegui got his second of the night to close the gap, but only two minutes later Kovacevic got on the end of Nihat's cross to head home the fourth.
League champions Valencia go third after a comfortable 0-2 win at Mallorca. Manager Rafa Benítez had sent his players for an early shower in the training session the day before saying they were not taking things seriously, and it appeared to work, with his side taking the lead through De los Santos in the tenth minute. Baraja added a spectacular second early in the second half to finish things off. Mallorca's best effort was a header against the bar from new signing Pandiani just before the break.
Atlético Madrid celebrated their return to the top flight taking a late point from Barcelona with a 2-2 draw. Luis Enrique gave the locals an early lead turning in Xavi's free kick, but they failed to capitalise on several chances and the visitors equalised on the stroke of half time when Barça's young keeper Víctor Valdés totally misjudged a long cross from Otero and let it into the net. Luis Enrique re-established the lead chipping Saviola's pass over Burgos, but substitue Correa blasted the ball past Valdés four minutes from the end to save a point.
New boys Recreativo Huelva appeared to have gotten off to the best possible start, taking a two goal lead over Málaga with just over a half an hour on the clock with strikes from Raúl Molina and Viqueira. However they paid the price for over confidence, and let their opponents back in the game. Musampa made it all square with goals either side of half time, and completed his hat-trick later in the second half to take the three points.
Celta started off their challenge for a trophy under new manager Miguel Angel Lotina with a 0-1 victory at Sevilla. The only goal of the game came shortly before half time when Gustavo López took advantage of a makeshift defence to win the ball in the area and round keeper Notario. Cáceres saved the day in the last minute clearing off the line from Gallardo, who nearly joined them this summer.
Villarreal appeared to have laid the ghost of their Intertoto final defeat at the hands of Málaga when they raced into a two goal lead against Osasuna in the first quarter of an hour of the game. Víctor had been left out of the starting line up for the second leg of the final, but he came back in to score both goals with well placed headers. However the introduction of new signing Pablo García in the second half inspired the visitors, and after setting up Antonio López for the first, the Uruguayan midfielder scored the second himself to make it 2-2 at the end.
A 2-2 draw as well between Rayo Vallecano and Alavés, with the visitors coming back from behind twice to earn themselves a point. Julio Alvarez put Fernando Vázquez's side ahead, but after hitting the woodwork twice, Mané's side equalised through Iván alonso. Alvarez scored his second of the night from the penalty spot after Geli brought down Peragón in the second half. However substitute Magno made it all square five minutes later. (31.08.02)
The new season kicked off with a match between two of the league's unfancied teams, newly promoted Racing Santander and Valladolid. And it was the visitors who finally took the three points thanks to an injury time strike from new signing David Aganzo. With the game apparently petering out to a draw, the youngster was on hand to finish off after Belgian keeper Lemmens spilled a long shot from Sousa. Earlier in the game, Racing had a goal from Bodipo disallowed, and missed a couple of easy chances in the second half. (31.08.02)