Barca in seventh heaven

A review of the weekend's action in Spain's Primera Liga, including a record-breaking start for Barcelona.

Last Updated: 20/08/13 at 00:14 Post Comment

More Barcelona celebrations against Levante

More Barcelona celebrations against Levante

Gerardo Martino's Barcelona reign got off to a dream start as his new side thumped Levante 7-0 in their Primera Division opener at the Nou Camp.

Barca put six goals past the beleaguered visitors before half-time en route to their largest ever opening day success.

While they could only manage one more in the second period - when summer signing Neymar was brought on for his league debut - they had already served notice that there would be no early jitters under their new boss.

Martino was brought in to replace Tito Vilanova last month after the former coach confirmed he would stand down to continue his fight against cancer.

Any notion Barca might be sluggish following the emotion of their summer was, however, quickly dispelled as Manchester United target Cesc Fabregas put in a man-of-the-match display.

The midfielder was involved in five of the seven goals as he left it to Lionel Messi (two), Pedro (two), Alexis Sanchez, Dani Alves and Xavi to get on the scoresheet.

Isco Alarcon enjoyed a dream debut for Real Madrid by notching a late winner in a 2-1 victory against Real Betis at the Bernabeu.

The former Malaga man rose above the defence to head in a cross from Marcelo with just four minutes remaining to deliver the three points to Carlo Ancelotti in his first game in charge of Los Blancos.

Before the 21-year-old struck, the game had looked to be heading for a stalemate after Betis took an early lead through Jorge Molina, which was then cancelled out by Karim Benzema.

In the late game Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla 3-1 thanks to a Diego Costa brace and a late goal from substitute Cristian Rodriguez.

Granada got their campaign off to the best possible start with a nervy 2-1 win at Osasuna.

In a match between two teams who narrowly avoided the drop last season, the visitors seized the half-time initiative with goals from Youssef El Arabi and Hassan Yebdi.

Francisco Punal then replied for Osasuna before Piti missed a penalty for Granada, but Lucas Alcaraz's men held on for an opening win.

Real Sociedad got their season off to an ideal start with a 2-0 victory over Getafe at Anoeta thanks to goals by Carlos Vela and Haris Seferovic.

The Mexican's lobbed effort broke the deadlock just before the break, while Seferovic, making his debut for Sociedad following a summer move from Fiorentina, doubled the lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Ernesto Valverde's reign as Athletic Bilbao coach got off to a winning start after his side took all three points from their opening game of the season thanks to a 2-1 sucess at Real Valladolid.

Markel Susaeta gave the visitors the lead on 28 minutes, but just moments later Patrick Ebert levelled.

Iker Muniain restored Athletic's advantage five minutes after the re-start, and the Basque side held on for the remainder of their game to start the campaign on the right foot.

Valencia laboured to a narrow 1-0 win at home to Malaga thanks to a second-half goal by Ricardo Costa.

The Portuguese centre-back took advantage of an error from Malaga stopper Willy Caballero to nudge the ball home after 64 minutes, giving his side a win they just about deserved.

New Malaga signing Marcos Angeleri came close to marking his debut with a goal after five minutes, but could only head a cross from Duda wide of goal.

With neither side taking enough risks to create an opening, it was inevitable that the only goal of the game would come from an error.

Argentinian goalkeeper Caballero came out to collect a high ball following a Valencia free-kick, but fumbled the ball in the face of pressure. The ball landed at the feet of Costa, who could hardly miss.

The weekend's fixtures were concluded on Monday and Charles proved there is life after Iago Aspas at Celta Vigo, but their problems were in defence and not attack as they let a two-goal lead slip in a 2-2 draw with Espanyol.

Aspas left the Balaidos to head to Liverpool over the summer and Charles was recruited from Almeria to plug the gap.

He made an immediate impact, scoring a second goal after Alex Lopez had opened the scoring, but the home side could not hold their lead.

In between some breathtaking goalkeeping from Francisco Casilla, they pulled one back from Victor Sanchez and then added a second through substitute Koulossa Thievy.

Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano kicked off the new season with all three points by earning a comfortable 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Elche.

New signing Alberto Bueno got the opening goal after 40 minutes, Alberto Perea doubled the lead right on the stroke of half-time with a sensational strike, and Bueno wrapped up the points by adding the third with 16 minutes to go.

Both sides fielded radically different teams from last season following wholesale squad overhauls in the summer, but Rayo's players settled easier and controlled the game from start to finish.

Giovani dos Santos and Jonathan Pereira scored in the space of four second-half minutes as Villarreal twice came from behind to see off fellow promoted side Almeria 3-2.

On-loan striker Rodri scored in either half, in between Sebastian Dubarbier's own goal just after the hour which levelled proceedings, to put Almeria on course for the three points in their Primera Division opener.

But new signing Dos Santos levelled proceedings seven minutes from time before substitute Pereira sealed a dramatic victory for the Yellow Submarines soon after.


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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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Rodgers: The pressure's on

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eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

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ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

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