Villa returns as Barca hit five, Madrid held to draw

2012-08-20 07:31

Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad 5-1 with two goals from Lionel Messi and one each for Carles Puyol, Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa, in his first game back after eight months out with injury.

The victory at Camp Nou yesterday came after champions Real Madrid started their title defence with a 1-1 draw at home to Valencia.

Barca’s La Liga opener under new coach Tito Vilanova saw them 4-1 ahead by half-time with Messi in sparkling form.

“I’m not sure what I will remember in the future about my debut. There were many things, the first 15 minutes we were strong and scored three goals and the appearance of David (Villa) and his goal were all very positive,” said Vilanova who has succeeded Pep Guardiola at the Barcelona helm.

Puyol powered home a header from a corner two minutes before Chori Castro finished off a sweeping move to level for the away team.

However, Barcelona were too strong and ran out easy winners.

Messi added a double in four minutes to kill off the opposition, his first coming when he squeezed past two defenders to power home.

For his second he latched on to a loose ball to hit home and he nearly had three within six minutes when a header went just high.

Barca were enjoying up to 80% ball possession and their passing play paid off on the stroke of half-time when Cesc Fabregas and Jonathen Tello combined to provide for Pedro to finish well.

Barca took their foot off the gas in the second half, perhaps with one eye on the Spanish Super Cup game with Real Madrid on Thursday.

However, the introduction of Villa on 75 minutes brought the crowd to its feet and he only had to wait nine minutes to get his reward, finishing off an Andres Iniesta pass.

Real Madrid’s title defence got off to a stuttering start when they dropped two crucial home points in a 1-1 draw with Valencia on a hot Sunday night in the Spanish capital.

Gonzalo Higuain put Real ahead on nine minutes before Jonas Goncalves equalised just before the interval for a plucky Valencia side.

“I expected more from my team, last season when we drew 0-0 the best player for Valencia was Guaita (the Valencia keeper) and today it has been Alves. We did not play a great game but we did enough to win,” said Real boss Jose Mourinho.

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