Barca and Real continue perfect start to season
A classy free kick from Real Madrid's David
Beckham and smart goals from Barcelona new boys Ludovic Giuly and Henrik
Larsson allowed both teams to maintain their 100 percent records in the
Primera Liga on Saturday.
The England captain sent the ball sailing over the wall and then dipping
sharply into the far corner from 23 metres to give Real a 1-0 win over
promoted Numancia at the Bernabeu.
French midfielder Giuly paved the way for Barca's authoritative 2-0
victory over Sevilla at a rain-sodden Nou Camp with his second goal in
two games when his sharp close-range shot deflected off the keeper and
into the goal 10 minutes before halftime.
Former Celtic striker Larsson opened his account for the Catalans with a
well-taken second, bursting into the area to volley home a fine cross
from Portugal midfielder Deco midway through the second half.
Barca, who were without influential Brazilian forward Ronaldinho, had a
host of further chances to extend their lead but African Player of the
Year Samuel Eto'o was unable to provide the finishing touches to several
slick attacking moves.
Earlier, champions Valencia relied on substitute Miguel Angel Angulo to
spark a fight-back that lifted them from two goals down at the break to
claim a 2-2 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Barca lead the fledgling table on goal difference from Real with six
points each from two games, while Valencia follow in third two points
Real, who lost their last four league matches at the Bernabeu at the end
of last season, made a confident start against their modest opponents
and were only denied an early lead by some sharp saves from Numancia
keeper Alvaro Nunez.
But Beckham, playing his 50th official game for Real, broke the deadlock
with his outstanding 17th minute free kick, his fifth goal from a
set-piece since joining the club last season.
Real still appeared to be suffering from many of the same problems that
resulted in such a disappointing campaign last season as they settled on
their lead and let Numancia back into the match after the break.
Raul continued his miserable run of form when he tripped over his own
feet after being put in the clear by Ronaldo in the first half and then
missed a close-range chance after good work by the lively Luis Figo.
The Real skipper was substituted by Michael Owen 18 minutes from time,
but the former Liverpool striker also missed a great chance when he was
set up by Figo and ended up firing the ball straight at the keeper.
Valencia appeared to have one eye on next week's Champions League opener
against Anderlecht as they gave Bilbao a two-goal lead at San Mames,
striker Ismael Urzaiz finishing off a slick counter-attack in the 15th
minute and defender Andoni Iraola adding another from the penalty spot.
Claudio Ranieri's side eventually came to life in the second half and
pulled a goal back when Italy striker Marco Di Vaio rifled home after
appearing to control a clever long pass from Angulo with his arm.
Angulo then grabbed one for himself when he drilled home 11 minutes
later after a neat headed assist from Argentine midfielder Pablo Aimar
to earn his side a valuable away point.