Valencia moved to the head of La Liga after beating Malaga 3-0 on Friday, not long after Getafe moved into the top half of the table with victory over Almeria.
Spain's other titans will see action later this weekend, and one would imagine Valencia's reign will be short-lived, but the club are nevertheless looking capable of living up to this season's hopes of improvement.
Just two weeks into the Spanish domestic calendar and already some sides are showing drastic changes to those of the 2013-14 campaign, with updated La Liga standings and Friday's match results detailed ahead.
Getafe 1-0 Almeria
Alvaro Vazquez scored the deciding goal as Getafe clinched their first win and their first points of the 2014-15 campaign, jumping up to eighth in the table.
It was a relief for the Madrid outfit to get their season off the mark, but as OptaJose points out, it was even greater relief for Vazquez himself, having gone through a barren patch of form:
18 - Alvaro Vázquez, 2011/12 Espanyol 2nd top scorer, nets a league goal 18 months later (his previous goal was on February 2013). Reunion— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 29, 2014
The result means Cosmin Contra's side extend their unbeaten home streak against Almeria to six, having never lost against the Andalusians in La Liga competition.
Almeria's defeat didn't come without a staunch fight, though. The visitors registered 11 shots on goal, per WhoScored.com, just one less than the home side, and applied a great deal of pressure from the wings:
23 - Only at Anoeta last season (42) Almeria made more crosses away from home than tonight vs Getafe (27) since their last promotion. Aerial— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 29, 2014
In the end, however, Getafe will feel their victory was deserved, with centre-back Juan Rodriguez rejecting a host of aerial pressure to keep his side in front for most of the match.
Friday's victors face a troublesome trip to Sevilla in a fortnight's time, while Almeria will prepare for their home fixture against Cordoba, hoping to bounce back from this most recent stumble.
Valencia 3-0 Malaga
Nuno's encouraging start to life as Valencia manager continued with a 3-0 drubbing of Malaga on Friday evening, goals from Paco Alcacer, Dani Parejo and Pablo Piatti thrusting his team to the top of La Liga's standings.
The visitors made life difficult for themselves following the 27th-minute sending off of Sergi Darder, which Ben McAleer of WhoScored and OptaJose points out as not being a unique occurrence this season:
Malaga received 9 red cards in La Liga last season. Already received 3 in 117 minutes this season.— Ben McAleer (@BenMcAleer1) August 29, 2014
3 - Malaga have been shown 3 straight red cards in La Liga this season, no other team have more than one (Barcelona, Valencia). Discipline— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 29, 2014
And from there it was smoother sailing for Valencia, with Alcacer scoring the game's opener not long after.
David Jaca of beIN Sport notes that for all the new faces arriving since Peter Lim's takeover of the club, it was encouraging to see two academy products prodding Valencia into a lead:
Don't care how many Lim/Mendes big names come into Valencia, seeing one cantera boy (Gayá) assist another (Alcácer). No, nothing beats that.— David (@davidjaca) August 29, 2014
Los Che will be proud of their place on top of Spain's hierarchy, however temporary it may be, but this result was a fine orchestration of the power that's building at the Mestalla.
From here, the mission is to build consistency and ensure that early groundwork doesn't go to waste, whereas Malaga will dust themselves off, an improvement in discipline among their foremost concerns.
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Levante
Athletic Bilbao didn't have to wait too long to notch their first win of the La Liga season, topping Levante in a dominating victory 3-0.
In the 32nd minute, Aritz Aduriz put Athletic in front and it became apparent from that opening goal that it wasn't Levante's night. Nerves were high until the side added two more from Ander Iturraspe and Iker Muniain, but overall it was a one-sided affair.
Levante did have 10 total shots and two on goal, but Athletic had five on target and held a 58-percent possession advantage. With four total yellow cards, Levante were reduced to desperate tackles all match long.
The three points were crucial for Athletic Bilbao, after coming up so heartbreakingly short of points in the season opener. As for Levante, their season starts with two lopsided defeats.
Cordoba 1-1 Celta Vigo
Celta Vigo were tied atop the La Liga table after Week 1 with an impressive early victory, but couldn't repeat that feat on Saturday as they drew Cordoba 1-1 on the road.
The recently-promoted Cordoba side went down early and had to fight their way back into the match. Fabian Orellana scored for Celta Vigo early in the second half for the match's first goal, thanks to a mistake from goalkeeper Juan Carlos.
But all of seven minutes later, the underdogs came racing back into the match with an equalizer from Fede Cartabia that would secure the side's first points of the La Liga season.
With 36 of 38 matches remaining, remaining in La Liga is far from a lost cause for Cordoba. If they can make results like Saturday's a regular occurrence, they might stick around after all.
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Eibar
Atletico Madrid finally secured three points in a La Liga match, but it wasn't any more impressive as Los Rojiblancos pulled out a 2-1 win over Eibar.
Of course, early on this match had all the makings of a Madrid blowout. The reigning league champs were quick into their stride with an 11th-minute goal from Miranda, and former Bayern Munich star striker Mario Mandzukic added another some 14 minutes later.
Abraham Minero got Eibar on the board in the 33rd minute to cut the deficit to 2-1, and the La Liga newcomers had plenty of success while holding 57-percent possession. Meanwhile, Madrid weren't shy on offensive with 15 shots, but few were quality looks.
All in all, they don't have too much to complain about—they still are tied for the league lead after Saturday after drawing in the opener. But other than the Spanish Super Cup victory, this season hasn't started out all that smoothly for Atletico.
Espanyol 1-2 Sevilla
Sevilla went on the road and pulled out a strong performance, defeating Espanyol by the score of 2-1.
It took 34 minutes for Sevilla to get on the board, but the away side was the aggressor in the attacking third from the opening minutes. A 34th-minute goal from Carlos Bacca and a 57th-minute score from Vicente Iborra gave Sevilla a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Christian Stuani turned up the pressure with a 61st-minute goal for Espanyol, but it was too little, too late.
After the opening-weekend draw, Sevilla are now in a four-way tie atop La Liga as the clubs await more matches on Sunday and Monday.
Barcelona 1-0 Villarreal
19-year-old Sandro Ramirez delivered Barcelona a much-deserved 1-0 victory over Villarreal with a his first La Liga goal in the 82nd minute, just 12 minutes after he came on for a rather pedestrian-looking Pedro.
Barcelona also got some good news as Neymar, who suffered a devastating back injury playing for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, came on for Munir El Haddadi in the 59th minute to make his first appearance of the season for Barca.
The team's official twitter account noted he immediately hooked up with the incomparable Lionel Messi, which should be a heartening sight for the club's fans:
Neymar and Messi link up immediately to set up Ratikic, who gets a corner, from which Mathieu can't quite get a shot in #fcblive— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 31, 2014
It was another statistically dominant performance for the Catalan giants, one that isn't done justice by the final scoreline. Barcelona earned 72 percent of possession and outshot their opponents 20-9 on the day, per ESPNFC.com. In fact, the Yellow Submarine didn't register a singe shot on target in the contest.
The victory propels Barcelona back to the pinnacle of the Spanish Primera Division with two victories in two matches. This doesn't look like the same world-beating team of years past, but with Messi in the fold and Neymar returning to health, they should be plenty good enough to challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title.
Real Sociedad 4-2 Real Madrid
David Zurutuza notched a brace and led Real Sociedad to a shocking 4-2 upset victory over Real Madrid on Sunday. The underdogs managed to take advantage of a disorganized Madrid defense and garner plenty of corners in their high-scoring win.
It looked like it would be rather pleasant Sunday stroll for Real Madrid early on. Sergio Ramos got his side on the board early in the fifth minute and then Gareth Bale doubled the lead just six minutes later with a superb low strike from just inside the box.
Epscore provides a look at the goal:
What a goal from Gareth Bale! 2-0 https://t.co/q2MX2o9Qy6— Espcore (@espcore) August 31, 2014
WhoScored noted that Bale has been practically automatic for Real Madrid dating back to last season:
Gareth Bale: Has now scored or assisted 28 goals in 29 La Liga appearances since the start of last season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 31, 2014
The ecstasy would be short-lived, as Inigo Martinez and Zurutuza each notched a goal before halftime to tie the game for the underdogs.
Madrid couldn't breakthrough for another goal despite maintaining 55 percent possession and notching 19 total shots in the contest, per ESPNFC.com.
Zurutuza got his brace and gave Real Sociedad the lead with a left-footed shot in the 65th minute. Carlos Vela then put the game out of reach 10 minutes later with his own strike from the center of the box.
Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Deportivo La Coruna
Isaac Cuenca's 94th minute penalty saved a point for Deportivo La Coruna, who were seconds letting a brace from Rayo Vallecano's Alberto Bueno bury them in the lower half of the table.
The official carded Ba for a hand ball in the penalty area, which led to Cuenca's game-saving kick from the spot. It's a disappointing finish for Rayo Vallecano, but not an undeserved result for Deportivo La Coruna, who managed to play a fairly even contest in this one.
Jose Rodriguez gave Deportivo the early lead with a seventh minute goal, but the team as a whole couldn't get another shot past goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez for 88 minutes. Bueno scored for Vallecano on either side of halftime and would have been the hero of the afternoon were it not for Ba's critical mistake at the death.
Elche 1-1 Granada
Elche and Granada left all the drama until very late on in the match, with both teams securing a point in a 1-1 that proved to be a drab affair until the final 10 minutes of play.
Elche handily won the possession battle in this one, holding the ball 60 percent of the time while holding their opponents to just five total shots, per ESPNFC.com.
Despite the efficient play, it was Granada that looked all set to take three points when Fran Rico notched a goal in the 82nd minute. Elche was left reeling after a confident display of football. The ineffective play of striker Jonathas who managed to get just one of his five shots on target during the match, per ESPNFC, had much to do with the undeserving scoreline.
Elche scrambled and eventually got the relieving equalizer from David Rodriguez Lomban in the 91st minute of action. The stunning result ensures that Levante will be the only team heading into Matchday 3 without a single point to their name.