Spanish season starts with tight win for Espanyol

Other News Materials 31 August 2008 00:49 (UTC +04:00)

The Spanish football season kicked off on Saturday with a tight 1-0 home win for Espanyol over Valladolid.

The only goal came in the 48th minute, when former Spain playmaker Ivan de la Pena set up international striker Luis Garcia down the left. Garcia skipped through the Valladolid defence and scored with a right-foot drive.

The exquisite De la Pena, now 32, came close to making it 2-0 just four minutes later.

Valladolid - who never looked capable of forcing a draw - are probably facing another relegation-threatened season.

The debut win will boost Espanyol's self-confidence, after a difficult week in which key players Albert Riera and Pablo Zabaleta left for Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.

Later on Saturday Valencia, who have managed to hold on to Euro 2008 heroes David Villa and David Silva, take on Mallorca.

The big game on Sunday will see champions Real Madrid - without want-to-leave Robinho - up in La Coruna, where they have not won since 1991.

Barcelona, meanwhile, will be away to newly-promoted Numancia, while Villarreal take on Osasuna and Atletico Madrid play hosts to Malaga, dpa reported.