Malaga got their Spanish La Liga campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 triumph over Athletic Bilbao in an eventful encounter at La Rosaleda – which almost saw visiting goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz become the hero at both ends. Liverpool loanee Luis Alberto scored the decisive goal on his debut for Malaga, the striker slotting home the rebound after his 35th-minute penalty had been saved by Iraizoz.
Iraizoz can consider himself unlucky on that occasion, and even more so at the end when he appeared to head home a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser – only for it to be ruled out for a foul. That came after tensions had boiled over in the closing stages with two Malaga players – Duda and Vitorino Antunes – were given straight red cards for serious foul play.
There was also late drama up the road in Seville, where ten-man Valencia snatched a 1-1 draw at UEFA Europa League champions Sevilla. Sevilla looked on course for an opening-day victory after taking a 44th-minute lead through Aleix Vidal and then seeing Valencia substitute Rodrigo de Paul’s sent off just 63 seconds into his debut for a flailing elbow.
However, with just two minutes left on the clock, Valencia salvaged a point when Lucas Orban scored a rather unorthodox goal – best described as a diving shoulder into the net.
Granada, meanwhile, came from a goal down to sink promoted Deportivo La Coruna 2-1 and get off to a winning start under new coach Joaquin Caparros. The visitors took a first-half lead through Ivan Cavaleiro, aided by some suspect goalkeeping from Stole Dimitrievski, but Ruben Rochina levelled ten minutes into the second half before Jean Sylvain Babin netted the winner with 13 minutes to go.
In the last match in Spain on Saturday, Sergio Garcia scored the latest of late equalisers to earn ten-man Espanyol a point from a 1-1 draw at Almeria. Fernando Soriano managed to get the ball past resilient visiting goalkeeper Francisco Casilla and the Catalans had to close ranks after Anaitz Arbilla was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. But Almeria failed to finish their opponents off and were duly punished as Sergio Garcia smashed home a stoppage-time equaliser.