Soccer

Rayo hold Valencia to a draw; Espanyol defeat Getafe

Valencia's Argentinian forward Rodrigo de Paul (L) vies with Rayo's Angolan forward Manucho during the Spanish league football match Rayo Vallecano de Madrid vs Valencia CF at Vallecas stadium in Madrid, on August 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ DANI POZO (Photo credit should read DANI POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Valencia's Argentinian forward Rodrigo de Paul (L) vies with Rayo's Angolan forward Manucho during the Spanish league football match Rayo Vallecano de Madrid vs Valencia CF at Vallecas stadium in Madrid, on August 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ DANI POZO (Photo credit should read DANI POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Champions League hopefuls Valencia were held to a disappointing draw at Rayo Vallecano in an exciting yet goalless Primera Division opener in Vallecas.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side had the better of the first half and came within inches of grabbing an injury-time winner when former Rayo striker Alvaro Negredo's powerful effort was tipped away by the excellent Tono. Rayo made a typically intense start to the game but Valencia looked dangerous every time they came forward on the counter-attack.

Rodrigo de Paul was denied by Tono's legs after being played in by Negredo, and the stopper had to reach out again a few minutes later to punch away a shot from Santi Mina, while later in the half Pablo Piatti skewed wide. Rayo had few openings in the first half, with debutant Patrick Ebert forcing a save from Matt Ryan and Manucho denied a clear shot at goal due to a vital tackle by Shkodran Mustafi.

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Paco Jemez's side were more dangerous in the second half and squandered two golden chances to take an unlikely lead. Manucho arrived at the far post unchallenged ready to meet a low cross but slipped just as he was about to pull the trigger, and then Ebert narrowly failed to connect with another low cross from the right. Rayo's good work was almost undone at the death by former Vallecas favourite Negredo, but Tono was again up to the task.

1 Espanyol, 0 Getafe

Espanyol got off to a winning start to the new Primera Division season as Salva Sevilla's early goal proved enough for a 1-0 win over visitors Getafe, who had Argentine defender Santiago Vergini sent off late on.

Despite losing a number of key players over the summer, including captain and last season's top scorer Sergio Garcia, striker Christian Stuani, winger Lucas Vazquez and Mexico international defender Hector Moreno, Espanyol got off to the ideal start. With less than three minutes on the clock, winger Sevilla lifted a free-kick over the wall and in off the post to give the hosts the lead.

The Catalans failed to build on their early advantage, however, and struggled to create more chances in the first half, while Getafe tried to hit back through a couple of shots from Pedro Leon, but the former Real Madrid man failed to hit the target. Sunderland loanee Vergini picked up his first yellow card at the start of the first half for a deliberate handball and was then given his marching orders in the 83rd minute for bringing down Espanyol debutant Gerard Moreno.

But having an extra man on the pitch for the remainder of the game did not ease the hosts' nerves, and they could have conceded a late equaliser from their former charge Alvaro Vazquez, but the forward flashed his shot across the face of goal, allowing Sergio Gonzalez's side to take all three points.

0 Deportivo La Coruna, 0 Real Sociedad

Deportivo La Coruna and Real Sociedad shared the spoils in their opening game of the season after playing out a goalless draw at Riazor.

Real Sociedad edged the first half, creating marginally more chances. Big money summer signing Jonathas de Jesus attempted a bicycle kick that went several feet wide of goal, and then the Brazilian was put through one-on-one with goalkeeper German Lux, but the Argentinian came out quickly to prevent the striker chipping the ball over his head.

Deportivo striker Lucas Perez turned the ball into the net shortly after the hour mark following a well-worked set-piece routine, but he was correctly ruled offside. Deportivo debutant Fede Cartabia gave the hosts a greater creative outlet despite only coming on for the remaining 17 minutes. He struck wide from distance and then hit a free-kick against the wall and the rebound into the side netting.

A few minutes earlier his compatriot Geronimo Rulli in the Real Sociedad goal had to react quickly to tip a free-kick from Faycal Fajr over the bar. Deportivo will perhaps feel they should have taken advantage of their superior play in the second half, while David Moyes might have felt a sense of deja-vu, as he witnessed a repeat scoreline of his first game in charge of Real Sociedad last season.