First division, day 2
Another low scoring round of matches, and we still haven't seen any side score more than two goals in a game. Many teams were missing their non-Spanish internationals, and three of the games were brought forward to Tuesday night to enable the top players to be present. Barcelona couldn't play on Tuesday though, and so organised their game against Sevilla to start just after midnight on Wednesday morning.
Deportivo La Coruña beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 on Wednesday night to move to the top of the table, the only side to have won both their opening games and also the only side not to have let in a goal. The hero of the night was once again Pandiani, who for the second game in a row came on for Diego Tristán in the second half and scored within a minute of making his appearance. Valerón had given the Gallicians the lead early on with a magnificent chip over the keeper, but Athletic came close to scoring a few minutes later when Tiko crashed a long shot against the post.
An exciting and at times bad tempered match at Betis, where Espanyol came back from two goals down and levelled the scores at 2-2 in the fourth minute of injury time. Joaquín had volleyed the Andalucians in front on the half hour mark and Martín Palermo added a second before the break, his first goal for the club. But substitute Raúl Molina pulled one back and Lopo headed home Alex's free kick to save a point for the Catalans. Joaquín was sent off at the end after picking up a second booking for arguing about the last goal.
Mallorca picked up their first points of the season with a 2-0 win over newly promoted Zaragoza. The visitors started well, and only some good goalkeeping by reserve keeper Miki kept them at bay for most of the first half. But a good run by Eto'o created space for his strike partner Bruggink to fire home his first league goal just before the break, and the Camerooni international added a second from the penalty spot after the referee ruled rather harshly that Cuartero had handled in the area.
The Condomina stadium was packed to see Real Murcia return to the top flight for the first time in fourteen years. However, although they were the better side, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Lucas Alcaraz's Racing Santander. Richi gave his side the best possible start with a goal in the ninth minute, but Javi Guerrero struck home a vicious free kick just before half time to keep his side up with the leaders.
Talking of free kicks, Atlético Madrid's under 21 international Jorge scored a beauty early in the second half to give his side a 1-0 win over another of the league's new sides, Albacete. Otherwise though it was a dull game, with very few chances for either side. Albacete find themselves in the bottom three together with Athletic Bilbao and Zaragoza, all without a point and not having scored a goal in their first two games.
Málaga are not doing much better though, and although they have a point to their name, they too have yet to score. They were beaten 1-0 on Wednesday by Valladolid, who join the group near the top of the table on four points. The only goal came from the penalty spot after the referee ruled that Fernando Sanz had pulled over Sousa, Jesús converting the kick. (03.09.03)
Real Madrid were still missing Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cambiasso though for their fixture at Villarreal, and having encouraged several of their back-up players to leave this summer, they were obliged to include five B team players in their list of substitutes. In the end it was one of the most promising prospects Antonio Nuñez who saved the day, coming on to make his league debut late in the game and almost immediately heading home Beckham's corner to level the scores at 1-1. The home side had taken the lead twenty minutes from the end when another substitute Sonny Anderson crashed a spectacular first time shot over Casillas from left of goal. The down side for Madrid were injuries to Zidane and Helguera, both of whom could miss their countries' international ties next week.
A 1-1 draw as well in the match between Spain's two new Champions League sides Real Sociedad and Celta. The Basques had dominated the first half and took the lead after the break when Kovacevic headed Karpin's cross down and wide of reserve keeper Pinto, standing in for Argentina's Cavallero. But Lotina, who had made seven changes following the disappointing draw at the weekend, brought on Jesuli and Milosevic and the two combined for the Yugoslavian striker to volley a shot past Westerveld.
Osasuna's first ever top spot was short lived as they fell to a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Valencia. The Pamplona based side had led the pack after their victory at Albacete on Saturday, but a headed goal by Baraja from a second half corner was enough to give Rafa Benítez's side the three points.
No less than 80,000 fans turned up for the match between Barcelona and Sevilla, which kicked off five minutes after midnight after the Andalucians refused to play on Tuesday. Reyes put the visitors ahead early on from the penalty spot after keeper Víctor brought down Darío Silva, but Ronaldinho made it all square on the hour mark with a brilliant individualist goal. (02.09.03)