Madrid, Sep 19 (IANS) Goals from James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema have given Real Madrid their fourth league win of the season to keep them top of the La Liga table.
Real Madrid were without Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on Sunday night, but still coach Zinedine Zidane decided to leave Alvaro Morata on the bench for the trip to Barcelona to face Espanyol, allowing James Rodriguez to make his first start of the season, reports Xinhua.
He was rewarded when James opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime with a left foot shot, and Karim Benzema sealed the win after good work from Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez 20 minutes from time.
Madrid were below par, especially in the first half, and lost holding midfielder Casimiro with an ankle injury after just 20 minutes.
Celta Vigo claimed their first point of the season away to Osasuna, but neither side will be happy following a 0-0 draw in the El Sadar stadium which leaves both teams still looking for their first win of the season.
Two goals from Aritz Aduriz helped Athletic Club Bilbao inflict more misery on struggling Valencia as the Basque side came back from conceding an early goal to win their second game of the season.
Alvaro Medran had put Valencia ahead in the first minute of the season, but a powerful header from the veteran striker leveled the score in the 24th minute and he gave his side a deserved win with a flicked volley four minutes from halftime.
Valencia are bottom of the table with four defeats from as many games of the campaign.
Nicola Sansone scored two first half goals, the second of which came from 53 meters, as his side defeated Real Sociedad. Yuri scored for the visitors in another game where all of the goals arrived before halftime.
Leo Messi scored twice, while Luis Suarez, Neymar and Rafinha also scored as Barca beat Leganes 5-1 away from home on Saturday.
Barca coach Luis Enrique made changes to the side which beat Celtic 7-0 in midweek, but kept his star attacking trio together and saw a convincing performance, which seems to show that Barca are back on track after last weekend’s surprise home defeat to Alaves.
Atletico Madrid seemed unaffected by the news that Diego Simeone and the club had agreed to reduce his contract by two years, as goals from Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro within the first five minutes put Atletico 2-0 up at home to Sporting Gijon.
Sporting had no answer to Atletico, who were 3-0 ahead as Griezmann scored his second on the half hour, while Fernando Torres rounded off the scoring in the second half.
Pedro Leon’s 64th minute goal gave Eibar a point that had looked unlikely when they fell 1-0 down to Vitolo’s first-half goal and had goalkeeper Yoel sent off before the break against a Sevilla side that would have gone top had they won.
Eibar ended the game with just nine men after Dani Carillo was also shown the red card with five minutes remaining.
Meanwhile, Las Palmas move into third position after Momo’s 10th minute penalty gave them their third win in four games and a 1-0 triumph over Malaga, who have just two points from their opening four matches.