Barca and Real made to work

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A review of the weekend’s action in Spain’s Primera Division, including a win for Real Madrid over Celta Vigo.

LaLiga champions Barcelona claimed an impressive 1-0 win away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night thanks to an Ivan Rakitic goal after 20 minutes.

The Basque side had plenty of chances in an open game but Barca displayed the greater quality in front of goal and after Luis Suarez had released Arda Turan down the left, the Turkey international cut inside onto his right foot and his cross found Rakitic racing into the box to head home from six yards.

Suarez almost added an injury-time second as he had an effort cleared off the line, but Luis Enrique’s men join bitter rivals Real Madrid, who beat Celta Vigo 1-0 at home on Saturday, on six points from two games.

Zinedine Zidane’s side needed almost an hour to open the scoring through Alvaro Morata, but quickly conceded an equaliser courtesy of Fabian Orellana’s superb finish.

Gareth Bale then missed a great chance to head Real back in front before Toni Kroos swept in what proved to be the winner, although the lukewarm reaction from the crowd at the final whistle told its own story.

Back to Sunday’s action and newly-promoted Las Palmas have also taken a maximum six points after hammering Granada 5-1 at the Estadio de Gran Canaria.

The Canary Islanders, who were surprise 4-2 victors away at Valencia last Monday, again looked potent up front and took a 23rd-minute lead through Nabil El Zhar.

French forward Jeremie Boga equalised for the visitors on the stroke of half-time but Las Palmas were back in front after five minutes of the second period through Kevin-Prince Boateng.

El Zhar added his second after 69 minutes before substitute Momo provided a fourth three minutes later. Argentinian striker Sergio Araujo rounded off the scoring with five minutes remaining.

Another promoted side, Alaves, have made a decent start too, if not as spectacular as Las Palmas.

They followed up their hard-fought 1-1 draw away to Atletico Madrid last weekend by taking a point at home to Sporting Gijon thanks to a goalless draw.

Villarreal and Sevilla’s match at El Madrigal finished goalless as the visitors’ goalkeeper Sergio Rico performed heroics to keep Fran Escriba’s men at bay.

The Yellow Submarine showed no signs of a hangover from their Champions League exit to Monaco in midweek but were unable to claim all three points as Rico denied them time and again, including tipping a low Manu Trigueros shot onto the crossbar.

Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla – who won their opening game of the season 6-4 against Espanyol – almost snatched the points in the final seconds when Pablo Sarabia struck the post direct from a corner.

On Saturday, Atletico Madrid dropped points against a promoted side for the second successive game after being held to a goalless draw by battling Leganes.

Diego Simeone’s men created several good chances against their Madrid neighbours but could find no way past inspired Leganes goalkeeper Jon Ander Serantes.

The result means Leganes – playing in the top flight for the first time in their 88-year history – now have four points from their first two outings, twice as many points as stuttering Atletico.

Pedro Leon scored the rebound off his own missed penalty to earn Eibar a 1-0 win and hand Valencia their second straight defeat at the start of the LaLiga season.

The penalty award angered Los Che as Aymen Abdennour was penalised for handball when Kike’s attempted cross hit his arm from close range, with the referee appearing to wave play on before seeing the signal of one of his assistants.

After Valencia’s players had protested in vain, Leon saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Ryan, but was quickest to react to the rebound and slotted the ball into the empty net.

Real Sociedad bounced back from their opening defeat thanks to a 2-0 win over Osasuna at El Sadar Stadium.

Juanmi fired the visitors in front on the stroke of half-time and Unai Garcia’s unfortunate own goal ensured Sociedad, beaten 3-0 by Real Madrid on the opening day of the season, took three points.

Malaga battled back to secure a 2-2 draw away to Espanyol in the Primera Division on Friday evening.

A goal in either half from Gerard Moreno – the first at the end of a great team move and the second a header from a Pablo Piatti free-kick – looked as though it would be enough for the Catalans to register a first win of their season after going down 6-4 to Sevilla in their first game of the season.

But on-loan Real Madrid defender Diego Llorente gave Malaga hope with a brave 67th-minute header and substitute Charles earned them a point when he broke clear and flicked a shot past Espanyol goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez in the last minute of normal time.

Earlier in the evening, Deportivo La Coruna moved on to four points for the season after a 0-0 draw away to Real Betis.

Depor, without Arsenal-bound star striker Lucas Perez, drew 18 times last season and were always comfortable in Seville.

Betis’ best player was veteran former Spain winger Joaquin Sanchez, but even he could not conjure up a goal for the hosts, who were thrashed 6-2 by champions Barcelona in their opening game last weekend.

Betis full-back Riza Durmisi arguably created the best chance of the match in the second period but Depor goalkeeper German Lux tipped over his shot after a twisting run.

 

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