Shock defeat for Barcelona, Atletico Madrid go top

Other News Materials 1 September 2008 01:01 (UTC +04:00)

Barcelona made an appalling poor start to their league campaign on Sunday, losing 1-0 away to newly-promoted Numancia. ( dpa )

The shock defeat raises fears that Barca will continue to be feeble on the road, the same as last season.

The only goal came after just 14 minutes, when Mario Martinez turned in a Carlos Bellvis centre from the left.

Just three minutes later Samuel Eto'o hit the Numancia post - and it was going to be that kind of day for Barca.

Josep Guardiola's side dominated from start to finish and created many clear chances, but lacked a cool finish.

Lionel Messi always levelled for Barca in injury time, but his free-kick came back off the post.

Nuamncia defender Juanma Cabrero said that "we defended really well today, against a good team."

Fellow giants Villarreal and Sevilla almost did as badly as Barca on the road.

Villarreal had to settle for a 1-1 draw away to Osasuna, in a hostile game in which Diego Godin was sent off for the visitors and Miguel Flano for the hosts.

Marcos Senna gave Villarreal the lead, Javad Nekounam levelled for Osasuna from the penalty spot.

It was a similar story in Santander, where Sevilla had to settle for a 1-1 draw in a tight encounter between two UEFA Cup teams.

Luis Fabiano gave Sevilla a late lead, only for super-sub Juanjo to quickly level for Santander.

The performance of the day was given by euphoric Atletico Madrid, who went top by thrashing dull Malaga 4-0 - the same result as on Wednesday against Schalke 04 in the Champions League qualifiers.

Star of the show was two-goal hero Diego Forlan. The other goals were put away by newboys John Heitinga and Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

Sunday saw three away wins, though not for the big teams.

Almeria won 3- 1 in Bilbao, Recreativo Huelva won 1-0 away to Betis and Getafe triumphed 2- 1 in Gijon.

Later on Sunday, champions Real Madrid are away to Deportivo Coruna, where they have not won since 1991.

Real make the trip without winger Robinho, who again made it clear on Sunday morning that he wants to leave for Chelsea.

La Liga kicked off on Saturday with a 1-0 win for Espanyol against Valladolid, followed by a 3-0 romp for Valencia against Mallorca.