The opening Sunday of the Liga season was a forgettable one for Spain’s UEFA Champions League hopefuls as ten-man Sevilla FC lost 2-0 at Valencia and Club Atlético de Madrid went down 3-0 at Málaga.
Valencia missed out on Europe’s Premier club competition after finishing sixth last term but they gave a statement of intent in their first outing, although the turning point at Mestalla came in first-half added time when Frédéric Kanouté picked up a second booking when fouling Carlos Marchena. Los Ché flew out of the blocks after the restart and immediately broke the deadlock when Éver Banega teed up Juan Manuel Mata, who swept in a fine finish from the edge of the area. Pablo planted a lob past Andrés Palop from 20 metres after a purposeful run from Banega to seal the points.
Málaga were also comfortable victors as Nabil Baha, Manuel Torres Caturla and Xavi Torres were all on the mark against Atlético. Getafe CF produced the most eye-catching result, however, thanks to a 4-1 win at Real Racing Club Santander that came courtesy of a hat-trick from Roberto Soldado. Rafael López’s header gave Getafe the lead 12 minutes in and Soldado completed his treble by the hour to render Mehdi Lacen’s goal just prior to half-time as little more than consolation.
Athletic Club Bilbao also kicked off their campaign by picking up three points thanks to a 1-0 win over RCD Espanyol. Gaizka Toquero’s clinical finish with 12 minutes remaining was enough to give the hosts victory at San Mamés. Goals from Aritz Adúriz and Tuni ensured RCD Mallorca overcame Xerez CD 2-0, who had Carlos Calvo sent off in second-half added time. Elsewhere, Villarreal CF were held to a 1-1 draw at CA Osasuna while UD Almería and Real Valladolid CF failed to provide any goals.