Top match at Bilbao with the visiting team REAL BETIS winning ATHLETIC CLUB 3 - 5. The visitors met a Bilbao team with big internal problems due to the Javi Martinez & Fran Llorente transfer issues. Betis was up 3 goals - CASTRO 6th min, MOLINA 26th min & BEÑAT 31st min - by half time.
Bilbao to their credit & merit showed courage & character & reacted to pull back 3 goals via DE MARCOS 48th min & two from SAN JOSE 66th & 76th min. However that enormous effort was too much as Betis got two more via POZUELO in the 79th min & MOLINA 86th in the 86th to take the three points.
REAL MADRID drew 1 - 1 with VALENCIA CF thanks to a very good Valencia goalkeeper Alves & the wood-work. Real Madrid started well but paid later their relaxed attitude during the first half as they allowed Valencia to play & did not finish them off.
HIGUAIN got Real ahead in the 9th min but Valencia reacted well & JONAS equalized in the 41st min. Here Madrid goalie Casillas clashed with his defender Pepe when they collided in mid air attempting to clear the crossed ball. Tense minutes as both were knocked out, & Pepe later was changed for Albiol.
The second half was all Real Madrid but they failed to convert a goals even though Coach Mourinho put in Benzema & Callejon to "beef up" the forward line. The home team tried & tried but was continuously foiled by Valencia goalie Alves & the post-bar. Unlucky perhaps in this area but also very inaccurate in the finishing.
Real Madrid was even lucky in another aspect when the referee called off-side to Valencia forward Soldado goal which would have been the winner. This will be a talking point in the coming days as the replay shows it was a legal opportunity.
Summary, Real Madrid look as if they lack tension & clear ideas. Sure Coach Mourinho will not be too impressed with tonight's performance bearing in mind that next week they meet FC Barcelona in the 1º st leg of the Spanish Super Cup
FC BARCELONA steam-rolled literally REAL SOCIEDAD 5 - 1 to demonstrated that things continue as normal under new Coach Vilanova. Barça Captain PUYOL scored with a header in the 3 rd min & although Real Sociedad quickly equalized via CHORI CASTRO in the 9th min that was their last real reaction against Barça.
LIONEL MESSI is in fine form scoring twice in the 10th & 15th min, while the goals later continued via PEDRO in the 41st min & DAVID VILLA in the 84th min. Apart from the win & the three points, the good news for Barça is the return of Villa with goal included that should lift his spirits as he recovers further after 8 months out of action.
Barça look real good & begin very strong.
LEVANTE hosted ATLETICO DE MADRID & drew 1 - 1. Atletico went into this game very conservative & packed the midfield & defence leaving a solitary Falcao upfront. It was Levante however that got ahead via EL ZHAR in the 4th min & Atletico had to react & managed to draw via ARDA TURAN in the 20th min.
From here chances to both teams but it was not until Atletico put on their young star Oliver that they bettered & looked more dangerous. But too late the substitute & change in attitude. Shared points.