The league season kicked off a week later than expected due to the players' strike, the second division match between Girona and Elche starting things off on Friday night. Elche just missed out on promotion last season, and it seems they mean business this year, a 1-4 victory making them early contenders for promotion. The visitors went two up with only a quarter of an hour gone, Etxeita scrambling in the first and Angel heading the second. Rigo got one back with a well struck free kick ten minutes after the restart, but Pelegrín headed Elche back in front three minutes later, and Beranger wrapped things up in the last minute. (26.08.11)
Deportivo began their year in purgatory with a 1-0 victory over Recreativo. The Galicians seem to have got over the shock of their surprise relegation on the last day of last season, and with a block of players similar to last year's squad they are strong favourites to go back up. Their fans have certainly rallied behind them, and a crowd of 20,000 saw Colotto score what was to prove the only goal after Valerón and Riki headed on Guardado's corner early on. They didn't have it all their own way though, and Aranzubia had to pull off a couple of top class saves from Fidel and Pablo Sánchez in the second half.
Hércules also got off to a good start after beating Cartagena 2-0. Things could have been different though had Falcón not saved an early penalty from Alvaro Antón after Samuel brought down Chamorro in the area. A few minutes later though Callejón (twin brother of the Real Madrid forward) beat Reina with a shot from the edge of the area to give the Alicante based side the lead. And although Michel missed a couple of chances after the restart to put the locals further ahead, Sardinero wrapped things up after beating the keeper to a long ball with ten minutes to go.
Almería were the other team to be relegated from the top flight, and they had to settle for a point after drawing 1-1 at Córdoba. Lucas Alcaraz's side took the lead in only the fifth minute, Ulloa heading a cross from Jakobsen past Alberto García. But five minutes after the restart Charles got on the end of a Fuentes cross to level the scores, and the Andalusians could have won it in the end when an effort from David Prieto hit the bar.
The first match on Saturday was between the two reserve sides, Barcelona B and Villarreal B, the visitors coming away with a 0-2 victory. Airam headed the first from a Kike López cross ten minutes before the break, and Lucas Porcar made it two early in the second half after connecting with Jaume Costa's cross. Eusebio's side had a chance to get back in the gme when substitute Tello was fouled in the area, but the Spanish youth international fired his spot kick over the bar.
Xerez came close to making it to the play-off spots last season, and they began well with a 0-1 victory at Alcorcón. Nagore tested visiting keeper Chema early on, but otherwise the Andalusians had the better chances, with Oscar Díaz and José Marí going close. Lombán got himself sent off though, and the game looked to be heading for a scoreless draw until four minutes from the end, when local keeper Manu Herrera tried to dribble round José Marí, the veteran striker winning the ball off him to score what was to prove the winner.
A good start too for Sabadell in their return to the second division after an 18 year absence, the Catalans recovering from a goal down to beat Huesca 2-1. Camacho turned past keeper De Navas to give the visitors the lead six minutes after the interval, but Olmo headed the equaliser from a Puigdollers corner a few minutes later. With ten minutes to go Huesca were left with ten men when ex Sporting right back Rafa Sastre was sent off for a foul on Redondo, and soon afterwards Olmo headed in another corner to win the game.
Another promoted side Guadalajara had never played at this level before, but they picked up their first point after a 1-1 draw with Las Palmas. Things swung in their favour with just under half an hour on the clock when visiting captain Sergio Suárez was sent off for a second bookable offence. And a minute before half time they went ahead when Ruyman turned Ernesto's cross past his own keeper trying to clear. Vitolo saved a point for the Canary Islanders though when he turned Viera's pass past Saizar.
A 1-1 draw as well between newly promoted Alcoyano and Numancia, the locals happy with the point in their first match in the second division for 42 years. Gorka Larrea opened the scoring for the visitors on the half hour mark after a free kick from Julio Alvarez fell to him. But ten minutes in to the second half Gato equalised from the penalty spot after Jaio pulled down Paco Esteban inside the area. (27.08.11)
Valladolid showed they mean business this year, a 0-3 win at Gimnàstic on Sunday evening taking them up to second in the table. By half time it was all over, Bueno opening the scoring after connecting with a cross from Peña on the half hour mark. Ten minutes later Jorge Alonso made it two, beating Rubén Pérez at the second attempt after Bueno set him up, and Bueno himself completed the scoreline before half time after combining with Oscar and Marquitos. The defeat left Nàstic at the bottom of the pack after the end of the first weekend.
Like Valladolid, Celta also missed out in the play-offs last season, and they too are off to a good start after beating newly promoted Murcia 1-3 earlier in the day. David Rodríguez picked up Bermejo's pass to give the Galicians the lead with half an hour on the clock. And although Kike equalised a minute later after good work by Pedro, De Lucas restored the lead from the penalty spot before the break after Amaya handled in the area. De Lucas then wrapped things up with a well struck free kick twenty minutes in to the second half. (28.08.11)