Second Division A - Day 1

Atlético Madrid started the new season with a 2-0 victory over Jaén to send a message that this year they intend to go back up. New manager Luis Aragonés included eight new signings in his starting line up, but it was youngster Fernando Torres who finally broke down the Jaén defence halfway through the second half. Substitute Dani added the second near the end after Rico had been sent off for the visitors, and Jaén were reduced to nine men with two minutes to go when Ortega also got his marching orders. A crowd of around 45,000 turned up to watch the game, which is not bad considering that many people are still away on vacation at this time of year.

Atlético take second place behind Albacete, who won 3-0 against Levante. All three goals came in the second half inspired by their new signing Duré, who set up the second for Parera after Simeón had opened the scoring with a freak free kick which everyone missed. Ex Barcelona and Nigerian winger Amunike came on for the last ten minutes, his first appearance since an eight month long injury, and he laid on the last goal for José.

Other than that though it was back to the dull, dour struggle of last season, with only sixteen goals coming from the eleven games, and that despite the fact that 16 of the 22 sides have played in the first division at some point in their history. Three teams won by a single goal, including two of the newly promoted teams Burgos and Xerez, and also Badajoz, who beat Recreativo Huelva 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Pepín. Burgos won 0-1 away against another promoted team, Poli Ejido, who were playing at this level for the first time. Ejido started well but eventually buckled under to a header from veteran midfielder José Marí.

Events off the field dominated the match between Xerez and Sporting Gijon, with the Andalucian club forced to play their home matches at the tiny El Palmar stadium in Sanlucar, some 50Km away from their home town of Jerez, thanks to a running dispute between controversial club president Luis Oliver and the town's mayor Pedro Pacheco. The tyres on Oliver's car were punctured by angry fans while he was eating at a local restaurant. Meanwhile Xerez's new manager Bernd Schuster only got his licence approved the day before the game kicked off, there having been some doubt beforehand as Schuster had not obtained the necessary three seasons experience which local regulations require. They were able to put all that behind them on the day though, with star signing Lardín setting up Mendoza for the winner early in the second half.

The three relegated teams all recorded disappointing draws, and will have to improve if they are to go back up at the first try. Numancia started well, going two goals up against Salamanca in the first half with strikes from Rosu and Culebras. However the wheels fell off in the second half, and after Zegarra had pulled one back after the restart, a comic own goal by Pacheta in the last minute after a mispunch by new keeper Jonathan meant that they had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Racing Santander were expected to win in their visit to newly promoted Gimnastic Tarragona ("Nástic" to their friends), but the Catalans put up strong resistance and almost snatched a victory in the end. The game ended goal-less. Oviedo came through a week of controversy, with Betis trying to claim back Oli in settlement of unpaid debts and Onopko refusing to train until a new contract was agreed. However both were in the starting line up against Extremadura, as was Iván Ania, recently linked with Mallorca. Their minds were not on their job however, and Manuel caught them out with a goal in the fourth minute before Ania saved a point with a free kick later on to end the game at 1-1. Extremadura's Jesús was sent off twelve minutes from the end.

The other three games ended in draws, with the only score draw coming in the game between Córdoba and Leganés. Arnal opened the scoring for the visitors before Córdoba's Brazilian contingent made names for themselves on their debuts, Fabao getting himself sent off and Whelliton scoring the equaliser. Murcia and Eibar hardly achieved a shot on goal throughout the game, and the home fans booed the players off the field at the end. Likewise in the game on Saturday between Elche and Racing Ferrol, where the only point worthy of comment was the sending off of Elche's new signing Tasevski near the end. It was so dull that apparently the electronic scoreboard packed up early on and nobody noticed!