La Liga Week 2: Real Madrid on top and Barcelona win their first game

A superb 0-5 win at Villarreal has left Real Madrid out on their own at the top of the Spanish league. The current champions have started their defence well, being the only team in the league to win both games so far. The first half was fairly even but after 38 minutes Wesley Sneijder sent in a cross and Raul just nipped in front of the keeper to toe the ball in for Madrid’s first.

In the second half Villarreal were hit twice in the first few minutes. Fuentes fouled Robinho on the edge of the area and Sneijder sweetly curled the free kick in off the post. Then Ramos crossed from the right to give Van Nistlerooy the simplest of finishes. Villarreal continued to push for a consolation goal but they left themselves open to Madrid’s lethal counter attack. Guti set up Sneijder for his third goal in two games, and then Guti scored himself to cap a fine display and make it 0-5.

Barcelona had a comfortable 3-1 win at home to Athletic Bilbao. Deco and Henry were both in the starting line up but it was Ronaldinho who made the difference today. After seven minutes he won a free kick which he took himself, smashing a shot into the top corner. Ronaldinho then converted a penalty after Henry collided with the goalkeeper to put Barça in a commanding 2-0 lead at half time.

The second half was looking to be uneventful until Athletic pulled a goal back through the excellent Susaeta with 19 minutes to go. Barça immediately restored their two goal advantage after a great shot from Touré hit the bar and bounced down near the goal line, unfortunately the replays showed that the ball never crossed the line but the linesman flagged to give the goal. There were league debuts for Gabi Milito and the exciting Giovani dos Santos who both came on as second half subs.

Here’s a a full report on the Barça-Athletic game.

Espanyol looked like getting their first win of the season when Luis Garcia scored twice to lead 0-2 at Betis. But Betis rallied and goals two goals in the last ten minutes from Fernando and then from Sobis who dribbled past the keeper made it 2-2 at the final whistle.

Mallorca nearly caused an upset against Atletico Madrid in the Vicente Calderon, taking an early lead through a goal from Güiza. Mallorca held on until thirteen minutes from the end when Pernia got Atletico’s equalizer.

Valencia will be relieved to win at Almeria after last week’s 0-3 home defeat. Fernando Morientes scored their first with a shot from outside the area. Negredo then headed in a corner to equalize for the Andalucian team. With ten minutes remaining, Moretti gave Valencia their 1-2 win pouncing on a defensive mistake.

Valladolid and Deportivo drew 2-2 in an exciting match at the Jose Zorrilla stadium. Garcia Calvo headed in a corner unmarked at the far post to put the locals 1-0 up but Taborda equalized after 53 minutes. Sisi put Valladolid back in front with just under twenty minutes left, but the lead only lasted six minutes, Riki scoring with a shot that deflected over the goalkeeper’s head.

Sinama-Pongolle scored again for Recreativo and it looked like being enough but Getafe’s Moral popped up in injury time to make the final score Getafe 1 Recreativo 1.

Zaragoza drew 1-1 at home to Racing. Serrano put the visitors ahead early in the second half, but Oliviera scored his second goal of the season to equalize.

Levante and Murcia drew 0-0 despite the efforts of Levante’s Savio. I imagine both these teams will struggle this season.

The game between Osasuna and Sevilla was postponed due to Sevilla playing AEK Athens tomorrow night in the Champions League qualifier. The game with AEK Athens was postponed last week due to the tragic death of the young Sevilla player Antonio Puerta. There was a minute’s silence for Puerta before all the games in the Spanish league this weekend.

Nig writes on the FC Barcelona blog.

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