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Barcelo win, Madrid draw first games of season

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  25 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Madrid, Aug 24: Reigning Spanish football league champions FC Barcelo kicked-off their title defence with a scrappy and hard-fought 1-0 away win to Athletic Club Bilbao.

A Luis Suarez volley early in the second half, after Lionel Messi had seen a first half pelty saved by Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz, gave Barcelo the points against a side which had beaten them in the Supercup earlier in the week, reports Xinhua.

Athletic started on Sunday with five players out injured and would lose Mikel Balenziaga as well and also had players with tired legs following a European game on Thursday.

Barcelo would also lose players to injury with Dani Alves and Sergio Busquets forced out. But despite Athletic pressing them hard for most of the game, Suarez’s volley, which came from a Jordi Alba cross, would prove decisive.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, could only draw 0-0 away to Sporting Gijon, who were promoted to La Liga last season.

The pre-game saw a lamentable incident when some home fans threw rocks at Real Madrid coach but that didn’t affect the Madrid players, who had control for most of the game, but maged to waste all of chances they created with Cristiano Roldo and Gareth Bale the main culprits.

Sporting were unlucky to hit the crossbar through Sabria after 48 minutes, but that was a rare attack for the Asturian side, who nevertheless produced a heroic defensive display with a side made up almost completely from the players who won promotion last campaign.

Real Madrid look solid and saw new signing Mateo Kovacic play his first minutes, but overall coach Rafa Benitez will be disappointed not to have kicked off with a win. IANS

Sunday’s other game saw Celta Vigo win 2-1 away to Celta Vigo. IANS

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