Lively Valencia on top after thrashing Mallorca
Valencia are the
first league leaders of the Spanish season, thanks to a promising 3-0 home win
over Mallorca on Saturday night.
It was an excellent start for new Valencia coach Unai Emery, who has needed to show patience during an institutionally chaotic club for the summer.
Saturday's win suggests that Valencia will be more potent than last season - providing there is domestic peace at Mestalla.
Mallorca made a bright start but were then hit backwards by two Valencia goals in the space of three minutes.
In the 35th minute, Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa pushed the hosts ahead, on a cross from the right from Pablo Hernandez.
Just three minutes later Mallorca keeper Miguel Moya failed to hold a cross-shot from Villa - and teenager Juan Mata headed in the rebound.
Mallorca striker Oscar Treijo hit the post soon afterwards, and it was clearly not going to be the islanders' night.
Mallorca seemed to give up the ghost in the second half and Valencia turned on the style.
The third goal came in the 82nd minute, when veteran Miguel Angel Angulo centred perfectly for fellow sub Vicente Rodriguez to score from close range.
"This was exactly how we wanted to start," said former Spain striker Angulo at the end.
Earlier on Saturday, La Liga had kicked off with a tight 1-0 home win for Espanyol over Valladolid.
The only goal in Montjuic came in the 48th minute, when former Spain playmaker Ivan de la Pena set up international striker Luis Garcia down the left. Garcia skipped throught 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.
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, whilst Villarreal take on Osasuna and Atletico Madrid play hosts to Malaga, dpa reported.