First division - day 2
Reigning champions Real Madrid are already two points clear at the top of the table after thrashing Villarreal 0-5 on Sunday evening. Both sides had chances early on, but Madrid took the lead close to half time when Raúl poked Sneijder's long cross past Viera. Sneijder himself got the second with a free kick in off the post three minutes after the restart, and two minutes later it was game over when Van Nistelrooy calmly collected a Sergio Ramos pass to roll the ball in to the net. And Sneijder and Guti added two more later on, both with low shots wide of Viera, to emphatically end Villarreal's run of nine league wins in a row.
Barcelona moved up to third in the table after beating Athletic Bilbao 3-1. Ronaldinho was the star of the first half, firing a house special free kick past Iraizoz in the eighth minute and converting a hotly disputed penalty later on after Henry was brought down by the keeper. Youngster Susaeta got one back after Valdés could only punch away Iraola's free kick, but a minute later referee Megia Dávila further upset the visitors when he awarded Barça a goal after Touré's long shot bounced down off the bar on to the line. Both sides ended with ten men after Márquez and Koikili were sent off late on.
Atlético Madrid's faltering start to the season continued, and they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by a Mallorca side who are now second in the table. The visitors went ahead in the eighteenth minute when Güiza picked up a pass from Jonás Guttiérez and rounded Leo Franco to score, and the frustrated fans whistled at their own players until Pernía latched on to a loose ball in the area to equalise with fifteen minutes to go.
Valencia bounced back after their opening defeat against Villarreal, a 1-2 victory at Almería taking them up to mid-table. Their newly promoted opponents had pulled off the surprise of the first day though, and they had the better chances in the first half. A minute after the restart though Morientes opened the scoring with a low shot, and although Negredo headed an equaliser a few minutes later, Moretti got the winner after Arizmendi headed on a free kick.
Valladolid were another of the promoted sides to win on the opening day, and they came close to a second victory before drawing 2-2 with Deportivo. García Calvo put them ahead from Kome's corner on the stroke of half time, but Taborda levelled the scores with a header from Manuel Pablo's cross early in the second half. Sisi restored the lead though with a well taken goal, and only a fluke shot from Riki ten minutes from the end saved a point for Lotina's side.
A 2-2 draw as well between Betis and Espanyol, although the Catalans must be wondering how they didn't come away with three points after throwing away a two goal lead in the last seven minutes. Luis García scored twice in a ten minute period near the end of the first half, and wasted a golden chance to complete his hat-trick after the break. But two goals in a minute by Fernando and Sobis gave Betis their second draw in a row.
Honours were also shared in the match between Getafe and Recreativo, but only after Manu Del Moral made it 1-1 in the fourth minute of injury time. The locals had been left with ten men midway through the second half when Cotelo was sent off for a push on Sinama-Pongolle, and the French striker appeared to have given his side the three points when he beat Pato with six minutes to go.
The match between Osasuna and Sevilla has been postponed to another date yet to be confirmed, as on Monday the Andalusians will be playing their Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens, itself postponed from last week due to the untimely death of Antonio Puerta. A minute's silence was observed at all grounds this weekend in his honour. (02.09.07)
Only two matches on Saturday evening, with newly promoted Murcia spending the night at the top of the table after drawing 0-0 at Levante. Lucas Alcaraz's side were the better of the two, with Baiano bringing a good save out of Storari early on and Regueiro also going close before the break. Only Savio caused only problems for visiting keeper Notario, and in the end both sides were happy to settle for a point.
The points were shared as well at the Romareda stadium, where Zaragoza and Racing Santander drew 1-1. Oliveira hit the bar for the locals early on, but it was the Cantabrians who took the lead ten minutes after the restart when Oscar Serrano volleyed the ball back past César following a corner. Oliveira equalised though twenty minutes later after Ayala's header was blocked, the striker's second goal in as many games. (01.09.07)