Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid joined Villarreal at the top of the table after all three won their games on Sunday. Barcelona stay in top spot after a 2-3 victory at Valencia, a thrilling match in which four of the goals came in a ten minute period leading up to half time. Neymar had a goal disallowed for a questionable offside before Fàbregas put Messi through to open the scoring in the eleventh minute. Valdés did well to keep out Pabón a few minutes later, but when Messi scored two in a row late in the first half to complete his hat-trick (Fàbregas and Neymar assists), the game appeared to be already over. However before the half time whistle Postiga got one back with an acrobatic scissors kick, and just a minute or so later he headed Banega's corner over Valdés to put the Ches back in it. That set up an action packed second half, Diego Alvés making a string of saves from Messi in particular and from Jordi Alba, Pedro heading a good chance wide, and Víctor Valdés pushing a shot from Jonas on to the post. Messi's hat-trick was enough though, and Tata Martino couldn't have asked for a better start.
The first mid-day kick-off of the new season on Sunday, with Real Madrid beating Athletic Bilbao 3-1 to stay amongst the leaders. Ronaldo tested Herrerín early on, and midway through the first half Isco opened the scoring after Benzema passed the ball over the top of the defence, the Spanish international keeping his cool to turn a shot wide of the keeper. With the first half coming to a close Ronaldo headed a second from Di María's cross, and only a good save by Herrerín prevented him from adding a third with a low free kick midway through the second half. Soon afterwards though Isco got his second of the day with a shot which took a deflection off Beñat, and Ronaldo and Jesé both went close a few minutes later. Diego López had hardly been troubled up to then, but with ten minutes to go Ibai Gómez got one back after Susaeta played a De Marcos cross across the area, and Sergio Ramos was lucky to be let off a penalty appeal when he bundled over Susaeta in the area after Diego's half-hearted clearance failed to reach him.
Atlético Madrid are also on maximum points from their first three matches after they beat Real Sociedad 1-2 in the Anoeta stadium. Having qualified for the group stage of the Champions League midweek, the Basque side came in to the match full of confidence, and Griezmann fired a first time volley against the bar early on. David Villa went close a couple of times at the other end though, and midway through the first half some slack defending allowed the Spanish international striker through to lob the opener over Claudio Bravo. Early in the second half Koke slid home a second from Villa's cross, and Costa came close to a third following a corner. But soon afterwards Xabi Prieto got one back with an angled shot across Courtois following a quickly taken Granero free kick, and only a couple of top class saves by the visiting keeper later on prevented Granero and Pardo from saving a point.
The other two matches on Sunday both ended all square, the game between Espanyol and Betis ending without goals. If anything, the locals had the better chances, Colotto and Stuani heading wide early on and Pizzi having a shot blocked by Amaya. Verdú's return to his old ground was greeted by whistles from the crowd, but he had an early penalty appeal turned down, and fired in a long free kick after the restart which Molina headed wide. Once again the introduction of Thievy added a spark of life to the game, but even he was unable to beat Sara after a quick breakaway with fellow substitute Lanzarote, and in the end both coaches settled for a point.
Local rivals Sevilla and Málaga also shared the points in a 2-2 draw in the Sánchez Pizjuán stadium. Both teams were looking for their first league win, and honours were divided in the opening minutes, Fabrice bringing a good save out of Javi Varas and Bacca hitting the post from a wide angle. Pedro Morales put the visitors ahead with a shot from outside of the area with five minutes to go to the break, but soon afterwards Gameiro equalised with a header from M'Bia's cross, the referee waving away claims for offside. And although Santa Cruz picked up Darder's pass to restore the lead for Schuster's side, Gameiro popped up again minutes later to head Rakitic's long ball over Willy Caballero for his second of the night. With six minutes to go Iborra felt himself unlucky to have a headed goal ruled out for an inexistent offside, and the visitors were left with ten men when Duda was rather harshly sent off for a foul on Vitolo. A first point for Málaga and a second for their hosts, but both have had difficult starts to the season, and they will surely move up the table from now on. (01.09.13)
The Yellow Submarine has resurfaced! Villarreal are currently sitting on the top of the table pending Sunday's games after beating Osasuna 0-3 on Saturday evening! Marcelino's side went ahead midway through the first half, Perbet picking up a cross from Jonathan Pereira and turning the ball under the legs of Andrés after the keeper had blocked his first shot. And just eight minutes later Aquino made it two, picking up a loose ball after Pereira was tackled and clipping a shot in to the far corner of the net. Armenteros got the ball in the net in between only for the strike to be ruled out for a foul by Oriol Riera on the Sergio Asenjo, but otherwise the keeper was not troubled until near the end, when he tipped a long shot from Loties over the bar. Villarreal continued to dominate after the break, and with a quarter of an hour Aquino and Giovani combined for Uche to poke home a third. A 100% record this season for the visitors, their best start ever in the top flight, but the defeat leaves their hosts down at the bottom of the table having not picked up a point in their first three games, and coach Medilibar is already being questioned.
Celta moved up to sixth despite a 1-1 draw at home to Granada, Luis Enrique's side having the better of the play but unable to convert their chances. Rafinha had a penalty claim turned down before he opened the scoring, shooting in to an empty net after Augusto's cross was deflected to him on the half hour mark. And either side of half time Alex López fired a shot against the upright and Charles failed to convert three or four opportunities to score when free in front of goal. With an hour on the clock however Piti got on the end of a long Angulo cross to drill a shot past Yoel, and although López hit the post again later on, the Andalusians held on for a point which keeps them one below their opponents in the table.
Valladolid moved out of the relegation zone after a 1-0 victory over Getafe, the first points of the new campaign for Juan Ignacio Martínez's side. Chances in the first half were few and far between, the best a shot by Javi Guerra which Moyà somehow kept out. Early in the second half though the locals went ahead, Peña heading Omar's corner back across goal for Marc Valiente to deflect the ball in to the net. Lafita fired a shot just wide after a long run, and Alvaro Vázquez headed Pedro León's corner just wide, but Oscar had a goal disallowed for a dubious offside (although he did appear to handle the ball as well), and Moyà pulled off another good save from Guerra. Bergdich and Sarabia also failed to convert late chances, but in the end a narrow victory for the locals which leaves their opponents down in the bottom three. (31.08.13)
Two late night games on Friday evening, both involving teams whose prime objective this season is to avoid relegation. Newly promoted Almería and Elche shared the points in a 2-2 draw, a result which left both of them on two points without a win to date. For the third match in a row Almería took the lead, Soriano heading in Rafita's centre with only ten minutes gone. Edu Albácar made it all square from the penalty spot after a high cross hit Dubarbier on the elbow, but with the first half coming to an end Verza put the locals back in front with a second penalty after Aleix Vidal's shot hit Sapunaru on the arm. Midway through the second half the home side were left with ten men when Dubarbier picked up a second booking, and Fran Escribá decided it was time to bring on new signing Boakye. Soon afterwards the substitute set up Coro for a shot which Esteban kept out, and with the game in the fourth minute of injury time the Ghanaian striker paid off the first instalment of his fee, beating the local keeper with a shot on the turn to save a point for his side.
Levante beat Rayo Vallecano 1-2 to clock up their first victory of the season, Ivanschitz getting the winner in injury time with the home side down to ten men. Rayo had the better chances early on, Gálvez hitting the bar with a free kick and Lass firing the rebound in to the side netting. Midway through the first half though Rubén García put the visitors ahead in virtually their first attack, the Spanish youth international midfielder picking up a pass from Pedro López before cutting past two defenders to score, and with an hour on the clock Lass got himself sent off for a retaliatory kick at Xumetra. However Larrivey levelled the scores for Paco Jémez's side with a header down past Keylor Navas from a Trashorras cross, and the visiting keeper had to be at his best to save from Tito, Trashorras and Nacho after that. But with a draw seemingly on the cards Ivanschitz turned Xumetra's cross wide of Rubén to ensure three important points for the Valencia based team. (30.08.13)