≡ Menu

Real Madrid and Barcelona lose openers

Real Madrid were again undone at bogey ground Riazor 2-1 by Deportivo La Coruna on the opening day of the Liga season while promoted Numancia spoiled Pep Guardiola’s league debut as Barcelona coach with a 1-0 win.

Real have not won in La Coruna since 1991 and were soon trailing when home striker Mista, who had already hit the bar, rose to head in from a free-kick in the 27th minute.

Visiting full-back Marcelo hit the bar with a cross-cum-shot just before the interval, but two minutes after the re-start Ruud van Nistelrooy pounced to volley home a deflected shot.

Parity lasted only four minutes until Alberto Lopo headed Depor back in front from a corner, and Bernd Schuster, who had left the unsettled Robinho in Madrid, was unable to engineer a fightback.

“I’m not concerned. They were simply more alert on two crosses and we dominated the game well. Overall I think we did well,” said Schuster, who refused to comment on the future of Robinho.

Numancia spoiled Guardiola’s league debut as Barcelona coach.

The second division champions broke away to score through midfielder Mario early in the first half and Barca wasted a host of chances as they laboured to react.

Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi both hit the woodwork but Numancia’s rearguard held firm to give their new coach Sergio Kresic a winning start.

“We played badly and our positioning on the pitch was bad as well. Everyone has a role to play and we haven’t done our work today. It was a major slip-up,” Guardiola said.

The performance of the day came from Atletico Madrid, who qualified for the Champions League group stage during the week, and stormed to the top of the standings with a 4-0 demolition of Malaga, like Numancia promoted last season.

Netherlands defender John Heitinga opened the scoring on his league debut and Uruguay striker Diego Forlan added two more before the break, the second from the penalty spot.

French striker Florent Sinama Pongolle made it four near the end.

“In the first third of the season we have set ourselves the objective of staying in the top three. We have taken a step towards achieving that, but it is still early days,” said Atletico coach Javier Aguirre.

Last year’s runners-up Villarreal were held to a 1-1 draw away at Osasuna when Marcos Senna’s glorious free-kick was cancelled out by Iran midfielder Javad Nekounam’s penalty.

Another touted contender for a top-four finish, Sevilla, were also held to a 1-1 draw away to Racing Santander.

Valencia are second in the standings behind Atletico after beating Real Mallorca 3-0 on Saturday.