A lot of interest to see how big-spending Málaga do this season, and after a first defeat at Sevilla, they finally got their campaign under way with a convincing 4-0 victory over neighbours Granada on Monday night. Cazorla started things off early on, picking up Duda's corner and beating Roberto with a shot from the edge of the area, and Joaquín added the second midway through the first half, heading a Jesús Gámez cross down past the keeper. Van Nistelrooy and Joaquín both tried their luck before the break, but three minutes after the restart Cazorla made it three with a clever free kick, drilling it low through the defensive wall as they jumped in the air. A few minutes later Joaquín completed the double act with his second from Cazorla's cross, and although Jara brought a save at last out of Willy Caballero, Isco could have completed the "manita" near the end had Roberto not pulled off a top class save from the Spanish youth international. (12.09.11)
Betis join leaders Real Madrid and Valencia at the top of the table after beating Mallorca 1-0 on Sunday lunchtime. Both sides had won their opening games, and the visitors had the better chances early on, with Nsue and Alfaro bringing good saves out of Casto. Betis should have scored though shortly before half time, when Rubén Castro hit the post and Jorge Molina managed to hit the bar twice with the goal at his mercy on the follow up. Nsue went close after the restart, but Aouate had to be at his best to save from Jonathan Pereira, and new boy Roque Santa Cruz headed just wide minutes after coming on. With the intense heat taking it's toll the game appeared to be heading for a draw, but for the second time in consecutive matches Rubén Castro popped up with three minutes to go to score the winner after Nsue could only head back a long corner. Betis are back, and to their great joy they already two points clear of their city rivals Sevilla in the table.
Osasuna are up to seventh after a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijón later in the day. New signings Lamah and Trejo traded shots early on, and Juan Pablo had to be on his toes to tip over a long shot from Raitala a few minutes later. The locals virtually wrapped things up though with two goals in as many minutes around the half hour mark, Nino turning in Kike Sola's cross and Cejudo hooking in a centre from Sergio. Nino, Lamah and Raúl García all missed chances to increase the lead after the restart, but with a quarter of an hour to go Andrés let a speculative shot from Barral through his hands, and there were some nervous moments before the final whistle.
Espanyol picked up their first points of the season with a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao in the last match on Sunday evening. Bielsa was returning to his old hunting ground, and his team started well, with Gabilondo going close a couple of times and Ander Herrera testing Christian Alvarez. Javi Márquez brought a good save out of Iraizoz at the other end though, and soon afterwards Sergio García headed the opening goal from an Alvaro Vázquez cross. Alvarez pulled out two or three top class saves from Llorente, Iturraspe and Susaeta either side of half time, but he could do nothing to stop Llorente heading the equaliser from a corner. However with a quarter of an hour Iraizoz failed to hold on to a wide free kick, and Sergio García lifted the ball over the head of the keeper before volleying a shot in to the empty net to win the match.
Racing Santander and Levante kicked off at the new time of four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, when many people in Spain are having their siesta. And the game will have sent many fans to sleep as it ended 0-0 after a dull ninety minutes. The best actions of the first half were a couple of efforts from Stuani which Munúa managed to neutralize, and a dangerous free kick from Barkero which brought a good save out of Toño. After the restart Acosta had a penalty claim turned down, and then fired a shot just over the bar following a good run. Racing ended with ten men though when Diop picked up a second booking, but neither Aranda nor Xavi Torres were able to take advantage in the dying minutes.
A 0-0 draw as well between Rayo Vallecano and Zaragoza later in the evening, the first top flight match in Vallecas for eight years. The locals had the better of the match, with Movilla heading against the bar early on and Michu feeling himself unlucky not to be given a penalty. The Madrid based side did get a spot kick though after the restart when Da Silva handled in the area, but Roberto guessed correctly to save Javi Fuego's shot. The visitors only troubled Dani Giménez a couple of times with efforts from Lafita and Juan Carlos, and in the last few minutes Roberto pulled off another great save from Delibasic before Michu got the ball in the net only to see play pulled up for a previous foul. (11.09.11)
The first surprise of the season in Anoeta, where league champions Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw by Real Sociedad. Despite leaving the likes of Messi, Villa and Iniesta on the bench, Guardiola's side appeared to be cruising when Xavi and Fàbregas put them two up in the first ten minutes, both after quick passing moves. But they failed to take advantage of several chances before the break, and early in the second half Agirretxe got on the end of Xabi Alonso's cross to head one back. Worse was to come though, as two minutes later Agirretxe picked up a dreadful Villa back pass and headed for goal. Out of the referee's sight, Busquets pushed the striker's shot on to the bar with his hand, but Griezmann ran in to head the rebound in to the empty net. After that Guardiola turned to Iniesta and Messi, but even they couldn't make the difference, and the Basque side almost scored a comic third when they returned the ball to Valdés after the ball had been put out of play to attend an injury, the keeper with his back to the play not realising until the last second. A poor result for Barça prior to their Champions League opener, and to make matters worse a first half hamstring injury to Alexis is likely to keep him out for up to two months.
Real Madrid took advantage of Barcelona's slip up to move two points clear of their arch-rivals after beating neighbours Getafe 4-2 later in the evening. Benzema got them off to a good start, scoring the opener with just under a quarter of an hour on the clock after a quick team passing move. But ronaldo, Coentrão and Di María missed chances, and with seven minutes to go Lacen's pass deflected off Pepe in to the path of Miku, who beat Casillas with a shot on the turn. After the restart Ronaldo hit the post with a spectacular overhead kick, and Coentrão had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside. But soon afterwards referee Clos Gómez awarded Madrid a penalty for a foul by Cata Díaz on Ronaldo which even Mourinho admitted was outside of the area, and Ronaldo stepped up to score. Ten minutes later Benzema seemed to have wrapped things up when he connected with Ronaldo's long cross to beat Moyà, but Miku scored a second goal after Dani Güiza set him up, and it was not until Higuaín picked up a clever back-heel pass from Kaká to restore the two goal cushion did the local fans feel at ease.
Madrid are level at the top with Valencia, who won 1-0 against Atlético Madrid in the last match on Saturday evening. The Ches had the better of the first half, Piatti having a goal disallowed for a borderline offside, Soldado volleying a shot over the bar and Jonas bringing a good save out of Courtois. But Guaita had to be on his toes to keep out Adrián, and minutes after the restart Rami did well to block a dangerous header from Gabi. Seven minutes in to the second half though Soldado got on the end of a long Miguel cross to steer a header in off the crossbar, and even though substitutes Diego and Turan tested Guaita again later on, the locals held on for a second home win in a row.
Earlier in the day Villarreal and Sevilla drew 2-2, a good result in the end for the locals after keeper Diego López was sent off for giving away a penalty on Perotti midway through the first half. 40 year old veteran keeper César came on and saved Negredo's spot kick, but the striker picked up the rebound and ran it in to the net to open the scoring. Later in the first half though Rossi equalised with a second penalty after the striker was brought down by Fernando Navarro, and substitute Marco Rubén gave the ten men the lead after controlling Marchena's long ball on his chest and beating Javi Varas from a tight angle. Alexis saved a point for the Andalusians when he headed a Jesús Navas cross past César later on. (10.09.11)