Two matches on Monday, with Valladolid joining Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the top of the table after beating Levante 2-0. A big crowd turned up at the José Zorrilla stadium to celebrate their team's return to the first division, and they watched Javi Guerra test Munúa before Angel wasted a couple of chances at the other end. With ten minutes to go to the break however Rukavina's cross hit David Navarro on the arm from close up, and the referee gave the defender a second yellow card and awarded a penalty, which Víctor Pérez gratefully converted (having missed one the week before!). Shortly before the break Munúa had to be on his toes to save from Ebert, and Rukavina fired a shot just wide, and three minutes after the restart Pérez drove home a second penalty after Diop bundled over Omar Ramos in the area. With ten men and tired legs after their Europe League game midweek, Levante were never going to get back in the match, and the locals sat back to play out the closing minutes. Two wins from two, the only side not to let in a goal to date, if you had told Djukic that a month ago he would never have believed you!
Later in the evening Atlético Madrid went one better than in last season's Europa League final, winning 4-0 against Athletic Bilbao to move up to fourth in the table. Once again Falcao was the man who did the damage, the Colombian striker opening the scoring after picking up Filipe Luis's thrown-in and running on past San José before chipping a shot past Iraizoz. A few minutes later he headed a good chance just over the top, and with the first half coming to a close he scored his second of the evening with an acrobatic volley after Godín lifted the ball across the area. Bielsa went for broke at the break, bringing on Muniain and Ibai Gómez and leaving three men at the back, but that just left more room for the Atlético forwards, and Falcao completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Gurpegui handled in the area. Iraizoz had to be at his best to keep out Falcao, Mario Suárez, Diego Costa and Adrián, but he could do nothing when Tiago latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area to thump a shot in to the roof of the net. A good warm up for Atlético prior to their European Super Cup meeting with Chelsea on Friday, but another poor performance from Athletic, and they find themselves at the bottom of the table having let in nine goals in their first two games. (27.08.12)
Two late goals from Messi gave Barcelona a late 1-2 win at Osasuna, a result which takes Tito Vilanova's side back to the top of the table. Having lost last season in Pamplona, Barça were not taking any chances, and despite a gruelling supercup match midweek, the new coach put out a strong line-up. Alexis brought a good save out of Andrés and Tello hit the post in the opening minutes, but Cejudo tested Valdés at the other end, and with just over a quarter of an hour on the clock Llorente got on the end of Lamah's long cross to put the locals ahead. Iniesta missed an easy chance to equalise a few minutes later, but Nino could have increased the lead in the second half when he broke free only to shoot against the upright. In the end though Messi came to the rescue, turning in an Alexis pass with a quarter of an hour to go, and then connecting with Jordi Alba's cross to sweep in the second. It was all too much for Vilanova, who got himself sent off by an officious referee for arguing, as did Osasuna captain Puñal, who was given his marching orders by Muñiz Fernández shortly after Messi's first goal.
Barcelona are already five points clear of Real Madrid, who were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by neighbours Getafe later in the evening. Özil fired a shot against the crossbar from close to goal early on, and Moyà did well to keep out a Ronaldo free kick soon afterwards. And with just under half an hour gone Madrid took the lead when Higuaín collected a Di María pass to beat the keeper at the third attempt. It looked as if Mourinho's side had things under control, but six minutes in to the second half Valera got on the end of an Abdel Barrada free kick to head the equaliser. Higuaín, Benzema and Di María all went close after that, but once again Getafe struck, Barrada picking up Colunga's pass on a quick breakaway to beat Casillas for a second time. Still early days, but a first defeat for Madrid in the league in 2012 after 23 games unbeaten, and they will need to bounce back quickly to restore their morale. Their first chance to do so will be next Wednesday, against Barcelona in the second leg of the Super Cup.
The other two games on Saturday both ended all square, with Deportivo coming back from two down to draw 3-3 at Valencia. The locals appeared to have things wrapped up early on, Soldado opening the scoring after running on to a Jonas through ball in the eleventh minute, and then combining with Tino Costa and Jonas to volley a shot past Aranzubia. Riki had a goal ruled out for a borderline offside, and Abel Aguilar got one back following a Bruno Gama corner, but Feghouli restored the two goal cushion after picking up a Dani Parejo assist, and only a brave stop from Aranzubia prevented Soldado from completing his hat-trick. The visiting keeper had to be replaced by Lux at the break, but the new man had little to do after the restart, and Aguilar scored his second of the night on the hour mark after Athami crossed the ball in to the area. And with a quarter of an hour to go Ricardo Costa was shown a second yellow card for a foul on substitute Nelson Oliveira, and Pizzi stepped up to drive home the resulting penalty.
The Andalusian derby between Granada and Sevilla also ended in a 1-1 draw, although the visitors will be the happier of the two after playing over half the match with ten men. The turning point came with ten minutes to go to the break, keeper Diego López getting himself sent off for bringing down Floro Flores inside the area. Substitute keeper Palop managed to save Siqueira's spot kick, but Mikel Rico reacted quicker than anybody to turn the ball back in to the net. Palop made a couple of key saves from Flores and Orellana later in the first half, but on the stroke of half time Negredo got on the end of Trochowski's cross to head the equaliser past Toño at the second attempt. Negredo almost got a second after the restart, but in the end the visitors were pushed back, Machis heading a couple of good chances wide of the target, and Flores heading against the bar shortly before the final whistle. (26.08.12)
Four matches on Saturday evening to open the day two fixtures, with Rayo Vallecano the surprise overnight leaders after winning 1-2 at Betis. Both teams were looking to build on their opening day wins, and the game got off to an electric start, with Piti getting on the end of Leo Baptistao's cross in the second minute to give the visitors the lead, and Jorge Molina replying just two minutes later with a looping header from Beñat's free kick. Piti fired a long shot against the crossbar a few minutes later, and Beñat replied with a header against the bar soon afterwards. Either side of half time Rubén produced good saves from Paulao and Agra, but with just over an hour gone Leo combined with substitute Lass to put Rayo back in front. This time there was no reply, and although Joel Campbell went close a couple of times later on, Paco Jémez's side held on to end the day sitting proudly at the top of the table.
Málaga and Mallorca had also both won on day one, and they drew 1-1 in another late night game to maintain their unbeaten records. In the middle of their Champions League qualifiers against Panathinaikos, local coach Pellegrini made several changes to his line up. And the visitors took advantage to get the better of their opponents in the first half, with Javi Márquez testing Caballero a couple of times, and Hemed firing a shot wide. Monreal brought a good save out of Aouate and Seba headed a corner over the top, but Pereira and Bigas went close after the restart, and midway through the second half Hemed got on the end of Nsue's cross to head the islanders in to the lead. However ten minutes later substitute Juanmi picked up an assist from Portillo to level the scores, and although Eliseu was sent off in the dying minutes for a retaliation on Tomás Pina, in the end both teams settled for a point.
Real Sociedad picked up their first points of the season after coming from behind to beat Celta 2-1 in the first match of the weekend. It was a miracle that the Basque side were not out of sight at the break, Agirretxe, Ansotegi and Griezmann all rattling the woodwork, Agirretxe having a headed goal ruled out for a dubious offside decision, and the locals also having two good penalty appeals turned down. However Claudio Bravo had to be at his best to save from Krohn-Dehli immediately after the restart, and a couple of minutes later De Lucas gave the visitors the lead after Iago Aspas played the ball back in to his path. Four minutes after that though a great run by Griezmann ended with him slipping the ball across for Agirretxe to equalise, and soon afterwards the striker got his second of the evening after a hesitant defence failed to clear a cross from the battling Carlos Vela. Only first class saves from Javi Varas prevented Agirretxe, Griezmann and Vela from adding to the lead, and the Galicians ended the day down down in the drop zone after losing their first two games.
Espanyol are also down in the bottom three pending Sunday's games after losing 1-2 to Zaragoza. Chances were few and far between in the first half, the best a couple of headers just wide of the mark by Héctor Moreno following Verdú corners. However with the first half coming to a close the unsettled Alvaro Vázque ran on to a long clearance by Wakaso to fire a shot past Roberto in to the roof of the net. Soon after the restart though Albín blocked an innocent looking header with his arm in the penalty area, and Apoño stepped up to drill home the resulting spot kick. Albín picked up a second booking for the offence, and with a man less, Pochettino pulled his players back to defend. Cristian Alvarez and his back four kept out Postiga and Pinter, but with two minutes to go Ortí's cross came through to Postiga, who got ahead of his marker to poke a shot in to the net and give his side their first points of the new campaign. (25.08.12)