MADRID: Barcelona hit back from a goal down to beat Valladolid 4-1 to extend their 100pc start to the Spanish league campaign to eight successive wins.
Alexis Sanchez scored twice and created another goal for Neymar as Barcelona maintained a five-point advantage over Real Madrid who needed a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to secure a 3-2 triumph at Levante.
Valladolid forward Javi Guerra silenced the Nou Camp when he headed in a corner in the 10th minute but Barca were level four minutes later, Alexis lashing the ball home from just outside the penalty area.
Cristian Tello squared for Xavi to sidefoot the ball in seven minutes after the break before Neymar sent Alexis clear on the right in the 64th minute and he sent a precise shot into the far corner.
The Chilean returned the compliment by setting up Brazil forward Neymar to make it 4-1 six minutes later as Barca, who have also won both Champions League outings this season, continued their impressive form under new coach Gerardo Martino.
The Argentine is the first coach to win his opening eight matches in La Liga while Barca are the first team to start a campaign with eight victories since Real in the late 1980s.
In France James Rodriguez finally delivered after a mediocre start to the season, creating both goals as Monaco went three points clear at the top with a 2-1 home win over Saint-Etienne.
Rodriguez left Porto for €45m in the close season but had only started two previous games for Monaco. Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco converted the Colombian forward’s pass in the 15th minute, Romain Hamouma levelled four minutes into the second half and Rodriguez set up Lucas Ocampos for teh Monaco winner three minutes later.
In Germany Bayern Munich went top despite being held 1-1 at Bayer Leverkusen as rivals Borussia Dortmund slumped to their first defeat of the season by 2-0 at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Bayern, who were last beaten in the league by Leverkusen last year, have now gone 33 league games without defeat, three short of the Bundesliga record.
Pep Guardiola’s team took a deserved 30th-minute lead when Franck Ribery shook off Omer Toprak to find Toni Kroos in the box and he had no problem drilling the ball in.
Leverkusen struck back almost immediately as the unmarked Sidney Sam tapped home at the far post.
Ribery twice went close early in the second half but keeper Bernd Leno saved well.
In Italy two first-half goals from captain Francesco Totti helped Roma make it seven wins out of seven as they extended their Serie A lead to five points by winning 3-0 away to Internazionale.
A wonderful breakaway goal by Alessandro Florenzi a minute before the break completed the rout and gave Rudi Garcia’s side 21 points, raising hopes in the capital of a first league title since 2001 after a near-perfect start to the season that has seen them score 20 goals and concede only one.
“I think now people can say anything they like. It’s a long season, however we are a team that can compete with anyone,” said Totti. “The consistency of this team is the best thing at the moment. Winning your seventh match in a row is not easy, so let’s continue on this path.
“I don’t think anyone would have expected this sort of start to the season, but the team has international players, competitive players, and has a head on its shoulders.”