MADRID: World record signing Gareth Bale made a goalscoring debut but not a winning one in Spain as Real Madrid but they were held to a 2-2 draw away to impressive Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarine’s bright first half was rewarded with a goal for Ruben Cani in the 21st minute but Wales winger Bale, an £85.3million capture from Tottenham, equalised in the 39th minute.
His debut lasted just over an hour and his departure passed the spotlight back to Cristiano Ronaldo, the player he replaced as the world’s most expensive, who fortuitously put the visitors in front in the 64th minute.
The home side deservedly earned a point, though, when their own former Spurs forward Giovani dos Santos struck in the 70th minute.
Alexis Sanchez scored a winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Barcelona claimed a 3-2 victory over winless Sevilla to maintain their 100 per cent record at the top of the table.
Dani Alves had put the hosts ahead in the 36th minute only for the referee to controversially disallow Ivan Rakitic’s headed equaliser. Lionel Messi then doubled the champions’ lead.
Rakitic pulled one back but Alexis secured Barcelona’s victory in stoppage time.
In Germany Bayern Munich tuned up for the opening of their European title defence by despatching Hannover 2-0 on the resumpti0n of the Bundesliga after the international break.
Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring six minutes into the second half with Franck Ribery scoring a second in the 64th. Bayern were being watched by scouts from CSKA Moscow whom they host in Group D of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
In Russia, Spartak Moscow stayed within reach of leaders touching CSKA with a 1-0 victory at Volga Nizhny Novgorod on a 32nd-minute strike from Armenian Yura Movsisyan. Spartak are three points behind champions CSKA Moscow, who beat Rostov 1-0 earlier in the day.
The 19-year-old Konstantin Bazelyuk was CSKA’s match-winner on his debut. He came on as a second-half substitute for fellow debutant Vitinho and scored with his first touch.
In Spain Atletico de Madrid made it four wins in four games when David Villa set them on their way to a 4-2 home victory over promoted Almeria. Villa, who joined from Barcelona in the close season, struck with a left-foot volley after a quarter of an hour and Diego Costa scored from the penalty spot, his fourth goal of the campaign, in the 37th minute to make it 2-0.
Rodri pulled one back for the visitors three minutes later before Tiago scored from a free kick in the 64th and Raul Garcia killed the game off in the 67th.
Atletico have won their opening four games for the first time since they last claimed the title in the 1995-96 season.