Strange to see neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid in the top four, even if we are still only in week two. The first big test for both though may be next weekend, when Barcelona visit leaders Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid travel to Real Sociedad, who replaced them in fourth spot tonight after drawing 2-2 at Almería. Tamudo got his first goal for his new club, heading on Zurutuza's centre in the eighth minute, but Claudio Bravo had to save from Valeri before Piatti equalised after Vargas put him through a few minutes later. Sutil restored the lead though after Zurutuza won the ball and set him up, and Griezmann came close to third when he hit the bar late in the second half. But with the game coming to a close substitute Ulloa controlled a cross from Juanma Ortíz and cut past his marker to beat Bravo and save a point for the hosts. (13.09.10)
If the opening two weekends are anything to go by, it looks like we could be in for a more evenly balance league this season. With one match still to come, only two teams have failed to pick up a point (Levante and Racing), and only Atlético Madrid and Valencia have won both their games. Sevilla are now just behind the two leaders in third spot after drawing 0-0 on Sunday with Deportivo, who themselves have yet to let in or score a single goal. Visiting keeper Manu was the best man on the pitch, saving from Kanouté and Negredo before the break and from Cáceres, Perotti and Negredo after the restart. Negredo looped a header against the crossbar in the first half, and Konko also headed a Perotti cross against the bar later on, but the best chance of the night fell to Lopo, who headed over on the hour mark with the goal at his mercy.
No less than nine teams are level on three points, with Villarreal topping that group on goal difference thanks to a 4-0 victory over Espanyol. Diego López had to save from Osvaldo and Luis García early on as the visitors took the initiative, but midway through the first half Rossi latched on to a Borja Valero pass to put the locals ahead. Valero scored a second just six minutes later after winning the ball back on the edge of the area, and Rossi got his second of the night from the penalty spot after Kameni brought down Musacchio inside the area. With a quarter of an hour to go Nilmar completed the scoring after good work by Jefferson Montero, and Espanyol ended with ten men after Chica was sent off for a foul on Jefferson.
Getafe lost their opening game to Espanyol, but they find themselves in sixth spot after a 4-1 victory over Levante. Within ten minutes they were already two up, Gavilán heading past Munúa after Dani Parejo crossed in, and then sending Colunga away for him to outstrip his marker and beat the keeper from a wide angle. Three minutes later though Rafa Jordà controlled a long ball from Ballesteros and caught Ustari off his line with a quick lob, and the striker could have equalised had he been able to covert a couple of chances either side of half time. Manu hit the post before the break and Colunga and Parejo both tested Munúa after the restart, but the result was in doubt until the last couple of minutes, when Gavilán drilled home his second of the evening and then set up Arizmendi for the fourth.
Surely the strangest result of the day though was Málaga's 3-5 victory at Zaragoza. The Andalusians scored all five of their goals in the first 35 minutes of the match, 17 year old Juanmi setting up Fernando for the opener in the first minute, and then scoring the second himself six minutes later from eliseu's cross. Fernando headed the third after keeper Leo Franco misread an Eliseu free kick, and Juanmi scored his second of the evening as well after a long run by Quincy Owusu-Abeyie. Quincy tore through the defence again to make it five, and the locals finally got one back when Edmilson fired a low shot past Galatto shortly before the break. That didn't save the home team from a monumental roasting from their fans at half time, but after the restart they recovered enough to score two more, Marco Pérez proving that he can score as well as miss sitters, and Ander Herrera (who had a hand in all his side's goals) saving a bit more face with ten minutes to go.
Zaragoza's third goal at least kept them out of the relegation spots, just above Mallorca who lost 2-0 at Sporting Gijón. Manuel Preciado drafted in new signings Nacho Novo and Gastón Sangoy, and the two combined to test Aouate early on. The Israeli keeper did well after that to save from Miguel and Diego Castro, with Juan Pablo keeping out Nsue at the other end. Two minutes after the break though the Asturians took the lead, Spanish under 21 international defender Botía picking up a pass from Miguel and blasting a shot in to the roof of the net. Webó and De Guzmán both saw efforts fly over the crossbar as Michael Laudrup urged his side forward, but with four minutes to go Nunes was sent off for pushing over Carmelo in the area, and Diego Castro scored his side's second with a twice taken penalty. (12.09.10)
Still only the second weekend, but we have already had what must be the shock result of the season, newly promoted Hércules beating Barcelona 0-2 on Saturday evening. Bojan missed an easy chance early on, but a few minutes later the visitors took a surprise lead when Nelson Valdez played the ball back in to the net after Valdes could only push out an effort from Abraham Paz. And although Piqué went close a couple of times, another counterattack from Hércules early in the second half ended with Tiago Gomes crossing in for Valdez to score his second of the evening. After that Calatayud did well to save from Messi, Villa, Pedro and Iniesta, but the better chances fell to the visitors, with Valdes having to be at his best to keep out efforts from substitutes Kiko and Sendoa, and Trézéguet shooting at the keeper with the goal at his mercy.
Barça's arch-rivals Real Madrid fared somewhat better, following up their opening 0-0 draw with a narrow 1-0 win over Osasuna, although they too are taking some time to gel under new coach José Mourinho. Mou lined up with both Germans in midfield and a front "trident" of Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuaín, but apart from a couple of shots off target from Higuaín and an effort from Ronaldo which Ricardo dealt with comfortably, there was little to talk about in a dull first half. Just three minutes after the interval though Carvalho came to the rescue, turning the ball in to an empty net after Ronaldo had a first shot saved and then passed the rebound out to his fellow countryman. Ricardo did well after that to keep out efforts from Higuaín and Ronaldo, but the visitors posed little threat and the lead was never in danger of being overturned.
All of that meant that Atlético Madrid top the table pending Sunday's games after they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-2 in the last game of Saturday evening. Diego Forlán put the visitors ahead with only ten minutes gone, beating Iraizoz with a shot on the turn after Simao played Agüero's cross in to his path. Gabilondo fired a shot just wide at the other end before half time, but Agüero went close after the break before being stretchered off after Gurpegui hacked him down on the edge of the area. With ten minutes to go Diego Costa set up Simao on a quick counter-attack, and although Iraizoz blocked his shot, Tiago ran in to head the rebound back in to the net. The locals got one back soon afterwards, Llorente pulling away from his marker to turn in De Marcos's cross, and they could have saved a point when Amorebieta curled a good chance wide in injury time.
Valencia stay level with Atlético on maximum points after running out 1-0 victors over Racing Santander. The Cantabrians had not lost in the Mestalla stadium for five years, and new signing Rosenberg brought a great save out of César and then headed another chance against the bar. Francis had to clear an effort from Aduríz off the line though, and with the first half coming to a close Maduro ran in behind the defence to head Mata's cross past Toño. Rosenberg and Ariel both put César to the test after the interval, but Aduríz could have increased the lead had he not fired a shot wide when unmarked in front of goal late on. (11.09.10)