Three more games on Monday evening, with the three newly promoted sides all kicking off their season. Elche were back in the top flight for the first time in 24 years, but they couldn't have had a worse start, falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Rayo Vallecano. The Albertos were the men who did the damage, Alberto Bueno getting on the end of Saúl's cross to slide home the first with five minutes to go to the break. The other Alberto, Perea, came on when José Carlos limped off with what looked like a serious injury, and he made his mark with a long shot for Rayo's second on the stroke of half time. Coro brought a couple of good saves out of Cobeño in the second half, but with fifteen minutes to go Bueno scored his second of the evening with another impressive shot from outside of the area. A good win for Paco Jémez's side, all the more meritable given that the coach has had to change almost half of his squad in the close season.
As luck would have it Almería and Villarreal were drawn together in their opening fixture, a repeat of the last game of last season in the second division which Villarreal won to snatch automatic promotion ahead of their rivals. This time Almería were the better side early on, Aleix Vidal shooting wide and Soriano testing Sergio Asenjo before Rodri turned Rafita's cross past the keeper to put the locals ahead. Marcelino turned to Jonathan Pereira though on the hour mark, and within minutes he created the equaliser, Dubarbier deflecting his cross past his own keeper. Rodri beat the offside trap to collect Suso's long pass and restore the lead, but Giovani got on the end of Aquino's cross to make it all square once again, and with two minutes to go the Mexican forward set up Pereira for the winner.
Celta only just managed to stay up last year thanks to a narrow victory over Espanyol on the last day, and the two sides also met again on the opening weekend of the new season, honours shared this time in a 2-2 draw. Luis Enrique's side went two up with goals either side of half time by Alex López and Charles, both from Krohn-Dehli assists. Víctor Sánchez got one back for the visitors after a good run by Sergio García, but only a string of saves by Casilla kept out Krohn-Dehli, Augusto and Rafinha after that. With a quarter of an hour to go though substitute Thievy picked up a Javi López through ball on a quick counter-attack to level the scores, and Casilla produced the stop of the night near the end from Cabral's header to save a point for the Catalans. (19.08.13)
The top teams were in action on Sunday, defending league champions Barcelona starting off their new era under Tata Martino with a massive 7-0 win over Levante. The coach decided to leave Neymar on the bench at the beginning, but even so by half time they were already six up, Alexis getting the first in only the third minute after Fàbregas set him up. Messi added a second a few minutes later, and then participated in goals by Dani Alves and Pedro before converting a penalty after Adriano was brought down in the area. And before the half time whistle Xavi completed the "set" after combining with Fàbregas to beat the unfortunate Navas once again. With the Supercup first leg coming up on Wednesday Barça slowed things down after the break, Martino resting Messi and bringing on Neymar, who had a hand in Pedro's seventh goal after a bad mistake by Héctor Rodas. Tata's reign has only just started, but already his new team have their biggest ever winning margin on the opening day of the season!
Real Madrid struggled though to beat Betis 2-1, and it was until four minutes from the end that Isco headed the winner from Marcelo's cross. The Andalusians got off to the best possible start, Jorge Molina bringing a good save out of Diego López (preferred in goal by Ancelotti ahead of Casillas) before the striker got on the end of Cedrick's cross to open the scoring. Verdú missed a chance to make it two, but Perquis was lucky to be let off an own goal for the positional offside of Isco, and Ronaldo hit the post before Marcelo and Isco combined for Benzema to level the scores. Nosa headed against the bar though and the referee turned down a penalty appeal for a foul by Carvajal on Cedrick as the visitors looked to restore the lead before the break. Madrid finally took control after the restart though, and Ronaldo hit the bar and then tested Andersen with a free kick before Isco struck.
There was another late night vigil, Atlético Madrid winning 1-3 at Sevilla in a match which kicked off at 11:00 p.m. at night. Fresh from their win in the Europa League, the locals lined up with several of their new signings, Bacca heading against the bar early on and Marin firing in a shot which hit Miranda on the arm, the referee waving away claims for a penalty. Atleti's new boy Villa saw his shot saved by Beto at the other end though, and with ten minutes to go to the break Diego Costa opened the scoring for the visitors after Miranda headed on Koke's corner. The lead only lasted two minutes however before Perotti equalised with an impressive shot from outside of the area, and after the restart Courtois was called upon to keep out Marin and Bacca. Once again though Costa cut in from the right to beat Beto for a second time, and with the game in injury time Cristian Rodríguez wrapped things up with an individualist run which ended with him finding a gap between the keeper and the near post from a wide angle.
Elsewhere Granada got off to a good start with a 1-2 victory at Osasuna. Both sides had chances before El-Arabi got on the end of Nyom's cross to open the scoring with ten minutes to go to the interval. Yebda headed a second from a Dani Benítez corner with the first half coming to a close, but Puñal got one back with just under an hour gone, beating Roberto with a shot from outside of the area after sisi's cross was only partly cleared. The Andalusians could have won by a bigger margin in the end though, Andrés saving Piti's penalty after Joan Oriol handled inside the area, and Roberto had to keep out a late Arribas header to ensure the three points for his side. (18.08.13)
The first three games of the new season kicked off on Saturday evening, Real Sociedad starting things off with a 2-0 victory over Getafe. The Basque side had one eye on their upcoming Champions League qualifier, but they still had the better of the first half, Chory Castro seeing his shot pushed on to the crossbar by Moyá before the Uruguayan midfielder set up Carlos Vela for the opener with three minutes to go to the break. Midway through the second half new signing Seferovic ran on to Vela's pass to lob a shot past the visiting keeper for the second, and Vela himself wasted a good chance to make it three when he fired a shot wide of the target when free on goal late on.
Later in the evening Real Sociedad's neighbours Athletic Bilbao also picked up their first three points of the season after beating Valladolid 1-2. Ebert fired an early shot wide, but with just under half an hour on the clock Herrera and Beñat combined to set up Susaeta for him to beat debutant Diego Mariño. Three minutes later Ebert made it all square with a low shot past Iraizoz after Oscar crossed in from the right, but Muniain restored the lead a few minutes in to the second half after Marc Valiente turned Iraola's cross on to the post, and Kike Sola and Herrera could have added to the lead later on.
The last match of the evening kicked-off at the unusual time of 11:00 p.m. at night, with Valencia beating Málaga 1-0 in the Mestalla stadium. Both teams had lost top players in the summer as well as a change of coach, Djukic and Schuster leading their sides out for the first time, and chances were few and far between as the new signings settled in. Angeleri and Adil both headed corners wide early on, and Banega, Viera and Fabrice also failed to hit the target before the break. In the end though it took a goalkeeping mistake to change the scoreline, Caballero trying to catch the ball rather than punch it clear following Michel's free kick, and Ricardo Costa took advantage of the rebound to roll the ball in to the net. (17.08.13)