La Liga Wrap: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid extend perfect starts
By Football News
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid maintained their perfect La Liga starts with wins over Rayo Vallecano and Real Valladolid respectively.
Unusually, defending champions Barcelona surrendered the bulk of possession to their opponents as they won 4-0 Saturday, but they were infinitely more clinical in front of goal - particularly through Pedro.
The Spain international bagged three almost identical goals as he buried squared passes from the left from Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Neymar.
Fabregas then rounded off the victory in the 80th minute as he placed a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Atletico ensured they would keep pace with Gerardo Martino's side with a 2-0 win, but were forced to wait until the 56th minute to find a breakthrough against an obstinate Valladolid.
Raul Garcia was the scorer, as he collected Koke’s pass into the area before firing a low shot past Diego Marino for his third goal of the season.
And Diego Costa wrapped things up 18 minutes from time, netting his fifth goal in as many games courtesy of yet another Koke assist.
At the other end of the table, Almeria failed to pick up their first league win of the new season as they let a lead slip at home against Levante.
Francisco’s men were 2-0 up by the 51st minute after Verza converted a penalty and Liverpool loanee Suso fired an unstoppable shot past Keylor Navas from well outside the area.
But the visitors found a way back, Nabil El Zhar scoring the game's second spot-kick before Pape Diop met a corner with a controlled side-footed volley 30 minutes from time to steal a point.
In Saturday’s earlier match, Real Sociedad's winless run in La Liga was extended to four games as they drew 0-0 away at Malaga.
Imanol Agirretxe should have found the net after a knock down from Xabi Prieto, while Roque Santa Cruz headed wide from close range when presented with the hosts' best chance.