First Division - Day 1

Barcelona 2 - Atlético Madrid 2

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Puyol (Reiziger 84'), De Boer, Fernando Navarro; Mendieta, Xavi, Cocu, Gabri; Saviola (Riquelme 80'), Luis Enrique; Kluivert. 3-4-2-1.
Atlético: Burgos; Otero, Coloccini, Hibic, Sergi; Albertini, Emerson; Aguilera (Correa 66'), Dani (Stankovic 59'), Luis García (José Marí 52'); Fernando Torres. 4-2-3-1.

1-0. 05. Luis Enrique. Got on end of Xavi free kick to poke ball past Burgos.
1-1. 45. Otero. Cross-come-shot from Otero which Víctor misjudged.
2-1. 55. Luis Enrique. Took return pass from Saviola and chipped Burgos.
2-2. 86. Correa. Collected loose ball on right of area and drove shot past Víctor.

Atlético Madrid celebrated their return to the top flight taking a late point from Barcelona. Luis Aragonés had rebuilt his team after their "one little year in hell" turned out to be two, and they at times showed that the players are still getting to know each other. Barça took advantage to open the scoring early on, team captain Luis Enrique getting ahead of a static defence to steer Xavi's free kick past a Mono Burgos resplendent in a red baseball cap (despite the match being played at night).

After that the Catalans carved out several chances, but they failed to capitalise, with Saviola, Kluivert and Luis Enrique all testing Burgos. Then on the stroke of half time the visitors equalised when Barça's young keeper Víctor Valdés totally misjudged a long cross from Otero and let the ball into the net. The home side bounced back after the break, and once again it was Luis Enrique who re-established the lead chipping Saviola's pass over Burgos. The second half followed the pattern of the first, with more goal chances wasted, and the introduction of Riquelme for Saviola did little to change things.

Aragonés substituted his three attacking midfield players, and with fresh legs on the field Atleti finally managed to put some pressure on Víctor, who responded well to make up for his earlier mistake. Then with four minutes to go a speculative cross from Stankovic was whipped on by Fernando Torres, and Correa was there to drive a shot past the keeper. It was probably more than they deserved, but Barça have only themselves to blame for not taking their chances. Still the fans were not too critical, although they saved the biggest ovation for their ex-captain Sergi, now in the ranks of Atlético. Jesús Gil's side are back in heaven, and the first division will be more fun this year because of it.