MADRID, Sporting Alert – Champions Barcelona started the defence of their Spanish La Liga crown with a narrow win, but arch rivals Real Madrid were frustrated at Sporting Gijon.
After losing the Spanish Super Cup to Athletic Bilbao earlier this month, the defending league champions bounced back against these same opponents to secure a close 1-0 victory at San Mames.
Ace striker Luis Suarez scored the lone goal of the game in the 54th minute, but Lionel Messi missed a first-half penalty that would have given his team the lead at the half-hour mark.
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique will check on right-back Dani Alves and midfielder Sergio Busquets who both had to be substituted.
Alves limped out of the contest before the 20-minute mark with what is being reported as a groin injury, while Busquets, who was replaced by Marc Bartra in the 68th minute, left the game with an ankle problem.
Both players will be evaluated on Monday, the club said.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid, playing without centre-forward Karim Benzema, had to settle for a goalless draw with Sporting Gijon in their season opener at El Molinon.
New manager Rafa Benitez was hoping to get his reign off to a winning start, but the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Jese, who started for Benzema, were unable to breakdown Sporting Gijon backline, as the home side held out for a draw.
James Rodriguez and new signing Mateo Kovacic both started on the bench for Real Madrid.
In other Spanish La Liga scores in Week 1, goals from Fabian Orellana and Ivan Lopez (og) carried Celta to a 2-1 win over Levante, which played more 85 minutes with 10 players after Simao was sent off in the opening five minutes.
Former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado made a goalscoring return to the Spanish League after he netted in Villarreal’s 1-1 draw at Real Betis.
Soldado scored to give Villarreal the lead in the 31st minute, but Ruben Castro drew the hosts level three minutes from time.
On Saturday, Antoine Griezmann scored the lone goal for Atletico Madrid in the first half during the 1-0 win over Las Palmas, while Espanyol also picked up a similar result over Getafe.
Deportivo and Real Sociedad ended scoreless, as did the clash between Rayo Vallecano and Valencia.
Spanish La Liga scores
Sunday, August 23
Athletic Club 0 Barcelona 1
Levante 1 Celta Vigo 2
Real Betis 1 Villarreal 1
Sporting Gijon 0 Real Madrid 0
Saturday, August 22
Atletico Madrid 1 Las Palmas 0
Espanyol 1 Getafe 0
Deportivo Coruna 0 Real Sociedad 0
Rayo Vallecano 0 Valencia 0
Friday, August 21
Malaga 0 Sevilla 0