Ronaldo strike helps Real join Barcelona at top

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal from open play for Real Madrid in the victory at Espanyol.
Barcelona and Real Madrid made it two wins from two in Spain as star signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored for a second successive match for their new clubs.

Champions Barcelona won 2-0 at Getafe with second-half goals from forwards Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi, while Real crushed Espanyol 3-0 in their trip to the Catalan capital thanks to strikes from Granero, Guti and substitute Ronaldo. Barca coach Pep Guardiola started with Thierry Henry, Messi, Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta on the bench ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Ibrahimovic’s former club Inter Milan. Getafe hit the woodwork twice in the first half through Juan Albin and Roberto Soldado as the visitors failed to get going until the introduction of Messi and Iniesta — his first appearance since the Champions League final in May — just before the hour mark. The breakthrough came five minutes later as Ibrahimovic followed up his debut goal against Sporting Gijon two weeks ago when he stuck out his leg to divert Eric Abidal’s low cross from the right into the net. The Swede set up Messi for Barca’s second 12 minutes from time, controlling a cross from Alves and chipping back across goal for the unmarked Argentine to head home. Real also started with star names such as Ronaldo and Raul on the bench ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Swiss side Zurich.

Don’t Miss
Barcelona start season with convincing win

Kanoute’s red card costs Sevilla at Valencia

Ronaldo on target as Real win La Liga opener

Barcelona to face Inter in Champions League

That gave Esteban Granero the chance to make his full league debut, having spent the last two seasons on loan at Getafe. The 22-year-old took his chance when he opened the scoring in the 39th minute — a little against the run of play — with a clinical finish after a neat interchange of passes with Kaka. It was the first goal in a competitive match at Espanyol’s new Cornella-El Prat stadium, where there was a pre-match minute’s silence in honor of the club’s late captain Dani Jarque, who died of a heart attack last month. Ronaldo and Raul came on for Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain in the second half, but it was Brazil star Kaka who was again involved in Real’s second goal in the 77th minute. The summer signing from AC Milan waltzed into the penalty area from the left wing and cut back a perfect pass for Guti to slot home with his left foot. Guti then set up Ronaldo for his first goal from open play, having scored a penalty in the 3-2 victory against Deportivo la Coruna. Set free down the right, the world’s most expensive player surged into the penalty area and slotted a neat finish through the legs of goalkeeper Carlos Kameni in the second minute of time added on. Earlier on Saturday, Atletico Madrid were held 1-1 at home by Racing Santander, who played almost all of the second half with only 10 men. Atletico, crushed 3-0 by Malaga on opening day, dominated but needed until two minutes before halftime before Jose Manuel Jurado put them ahead. However, Oscar Serrano ran onto Alexandre Geijo’s pass and fired home to leave the score level at the break. Madrid coach Abel Resino replaced the misfiring Sergio Aguero with Diego Forlan at halftime, and then saw Santander’s Jose Angel Crespo receive a straight red card for a challenge on Simao in the first minute of the second spell. However, the closest Atletico came to scoring was when Forlan hit the crossbar with a long-range free-kick in the 56th minute. In the late match, Sevilla bounced back from their season-opening defeat to crush Real Zaragoza 4-1, with Brazil striker Luis Fabiano scoring twice. It was a boost ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League Group G opener at home to Romanian league winners Unirea Urziceni.