FC Barcelona began the new La Liga season with a 0-0 draw at home against Rayo Vallecano.
Barca showed flashes of brilliance on Saturday, but Rayo defended well and have not conceded a goal in their last three meetings with the Catalans.
Andreas Christensen, Robert Lewandowski, and Raphinha all made their first team debuts for Xavi Hernandez’s side, while Ousmane Dembele started after signing a new contract, according to Xinhua. Barca attempted to open up the pitch in the first half, with Dembele and Raphinha both looking dangerous, despite the fact that Rayo keeper Stole Dimitrievski was not working.
The visitors started high up the pitch, but were pushed deeper as the half progressed, despite Alvaro having a good chance saved by Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
After the break, Dimitrievski saved well from Ansu Fati (who came on as a second half substitute) and Sergio Busquets, while Lewandowski shot just wide and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had another cleared off the line.
Franck Kessie had the ball in the net in the dying moments, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside, and Busquets was sent off in the fourth minute of injury time for a second yellow card after catching Falcao in the face.
Nicolas Jackson and Alex Baena scored in the second half to spoil Valladolid’s return to LaLiga and give Villarreal a winning start to the season at the Jose Zorilla Stadium.
The result was slightly harsh on the home side’s battling performance, but Villarreal had more quality in the crucial areas of the pitch.
Unai Emery’s team won 3-0 thanks to goals from Jackson and Baena in the final 10 minutes.
Joselu’s 98th-minute penalty saved a point for Espanyol away to Celta Vigo, who had led 2-0 through Iago Aspas and Goncalo Palencia, only for Edu Esposito to pull a goal back in the 72nd-minute penalty before Oscar Mingueza’s late foul allowed the former Alaves striker to complete the comeback.
The new season began on Friday night, with Osasuna defeating Sevilla 2-1 at home.
Chimmy Avila opened the scoring for Osasuna in the ninth minute of an entertaining match, but Rafa Mir levelled almost immediately for the visitors, and it wasn’t until the 74th minute that a penalty taken by youngster, Aimar Oroz, decided the game.
(Inputs from IANS)