There was early joy for Barcelona in their bid to recapture their title, as rivals Real Madrid dropped early points against Valencia.
REAL MADRID 1-1 VALENCIA
Whilst this was recognised as one of the harder opening fixtures Real Madrid could have had, recent years had suggested Real have had the number of Valencia.
But this time they found themselves up against a new Valencia, fashioned by the grittier Mauricio Pellegrino and they will feel aggrieved in a sense that they only came away with one point, despite being on the back foot for large portions of the game.
Gonzalo Higuain had made things look like normal service was to be assumed, as he opened up the scoring in the tenth minute, but Real were surprisingly pegged back just before the break as Jonas continued where he left off at the end of last season.
Roberto Soldado thought he had given Los Che the lead in the second half, but found his effort unjustly ruled out for offside. Valencia will cherish a gamely fought point, but with dropped points proving so scarce the past couple of years between Real and Barca, such an early setback could prove costly.
BARCELONA 5-1 REAL SOCIEDAD
While Real were struggling, Barca opened up their new era under Tito Vilanova in emphatic style, as they crushed a Sociedad side that have caused them a few problems in the past two seasons.
Having missed Euro 2012 through injury, Carles Puyol announced his return to fitness with a fourth minute header to open the scoring, before Lionel Messi started his pursuit of his 72 goal total last season with a brace to leave Barca 3-1 up after just 16 minutes, with Chory Castro having earlier equalised Puyol’s opener.
Pedro added a fourth just before half-time with a sweet volley, whilst David Villa also announced his return to fitness with the fifth and final goal of the game five minutes from time, ensuring Barca start the season on top.
ATHLETIC BILBAO 3-5 REAL BETIS
What a game to open up the season. A shock result as Betis triumphed in Athletic’s fortress of San Mames, which teetered one way, then the next and provided eight goals to top it all off.
Ruben Castro, Jorge Molina and Etxeberria Benat had put Betis into a shock 3-0 lead at half-time, before a second half comeback from Athletic saw Mikel San Jose score twice, following Oscar De Marcos’ strike.
But the drama was not over, as Betis put their hand back on the tiller in the final ten minutes, with Alex Pozuelo and Molina again ensuring their fantastic first half was not wasted and they came away with the points.
LEVANTE 1-1 ATLETICO MADRID
Big things are expected of Atletico this season, while we also all wait with baited breath to see how Levante follow up last season’s heroics.
So it came as no surprise to find a draw to be the result, leaving us unsure of either team’s capabilities. Nabil El Zhar started Levante’s season off with a bang, netting for the home team after just minutes.
But they were unable to hang onto that lead, as Arda Turan netted after 22 minutes, meaning both sides are off the mark for the season.
CELTA VIGO 0-1 MALAGA
Celta are back in the big time once more, but their return to the top flight was ruined by an unknown 16-year-old, thrown into the Malaga team due to their financial issues.
Fabrice Olinga became La Liga’s youngest ever goal-scorer, as he came off the bench to score the only goal of the game and lift some of the gloom that has surrounded Malaga of late, whilst Celta will have to wait for that first point back in La Primera.
SEVILLA 2-1 GETAFE
Sevilla are under pressure from their fans to get themselves back into the top six following a poor 2011/12 season, and they started off on the right note, with victory over Getafe.
A five minute spell toward the end of the first half proved enough for Sevilla, as Federico Fazio and Alvaro Negredo both scored, the latter from the spot.
Alexis, on loan from Sevilla, netted a reply for the visitors five minutes into the second half, but there was to be no equaliser, as Getafe slipped to an opening day defeat.
MALLORCA 2-1 ESPANYOL
Mallorca got their new season up and running, as they had Tomer Hemed to thank, as he scored at either end of the match to clinch victory.
Hemed opened the scoring with only two minutes on the clock, but found the scores level quickly, as Muburak Wakaso equalised just four minutes later. Hemed was not done though, as he was fastest to the rebound four minutes from time, to hand Mallorca a welcome opening boost.
DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA 2-0 OSASUNA
Deportivo announced their return to La Primera in style, as they turned over one of last season’s surprise packages in Osasuna.
Riki had a mixed day for the hosts, as he missed a first-half penalty before opening the scoring for Depor early in the second half. Nelson Oliveira then came off the bench for his debut and became a fans’ favourite quickly as he marked it with a stoppage time goal, giving Depor a winning return to the top flight.
REAL ZARAGOZA 0-1 VALLADOLID
Valladolid also announced their return to La Primera with a victory that suggests it will be a long season ahead for Zaragoza.
After successive seasons of miraculous survival, Zaragoza were looking to capitalise on a winnable opening fixture to boost a more comfortable campaign, but they slipped to home defeat, with Oscar scoring the only goal of the game for Valladolid on the stroke of half-time.
RAYO VALLECANO 1-0 GRANADA
In a repeat of that dramatic final game of the season, Rayo Vallecano faced off against Granada and once again stole all three points in stoppage time.
With Raul Tamudo having departed, it was up to Roberto Trashorras to step up to the plate, scoring a magnificent free-kick five minutes into added time to give Rayo a big three points between two expected relegation candidates this season.
Tags: Barcelona, David Villa, Fabrice Olinga, La Liga, Real Madrid