Barcelona began the post-Lionel Messi era with an entertaining 4-2 home win over Real Sociedad in their first game of the La Liga season on Sunday.
A header from Gerard Pique gave the Catalans the lead in the 19th minute to the delight of 20,000 fans who returned to the Nou Camp for the first time in 17 months, and Martin Braithwaite struck either side of half-time to extend their lead.
Sociedad looked to be out of the game but substitute Julen Lobete pulled them back into contention in the 82nd minute and forward Mikel Oyarzabal scored a stunning free-kick moments later to set Barcelona nerves jangling.
Sergi Roberto struck in added time for the hosts, however, to make sure of the points in Barca’s first match without all-time top scorer Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain last week after 21 years with the Spanish club.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid began their La Liga title defence with a 2-1 win away to Celta Vigo on Sunday thanks to two strikes from Argentine forward Angel Correa, although the game ended with a mass brawl and a player from each side was sent off.
Luis Suarez began the game on the bench and Correa took full responsibility for the team’s attacking duties, firing Atletico ahead midway through the first half after a marauding run from Thomas Lemar.
Celta levelled in the 59th minute with a penalty from captain Iago Aspas but Atletico soon restored their lead when Correa arrowed his finish into the bottom corner after a superb diagonal ball from Saul Niguez, who had been expected to leave the club during the close season.
The game ended in chaos as Celta captain Hugo Mallo and Atletico defender Mario Hermoso were shown red cards in added time for clashing off the ball, while players all over the pitch could be seen confronting each other in the melee.
Atletico were fortunate not to concede an equaliser when Aspas rounded ‘keeper Jan Oblak but the striker somehow missed the target with the goal gaping.
Ligue 1: Bordeaux comeback stuns Marseille
Girondins de Bordeaux fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Marseille on Sunday after Angers made it two wins from two with a 3-0 victory over Lyon.
Bordeaux’s clash at Marseille got off to a worrying start when visiting striker Samuel Kalu collapsed on the pitch in the early stages of the match at Stade Velodrome, although the 23-year old Nigerian got up as medics rushed on.
He briefly resumed playing before being substituted in the 14th minute, clearly looking groggy.
Marseille took a 2-0 lead into the break with goals from Cengiz Under and a solo effort by Dimitri Payet before half-time substitute Timothee Pembele pulled one back and Remy Oudin, who replaced Kalu, levelled with a first-time shot in the 57th minute.
Marseille had central defender Leonardo Balerdi sent off in the 89th minute for a studs-up challenge shortly after the home team’s winger Nemanja Radonjic had a goal ruled out for offside.
Earlier on Sunday, Angers went top of the table with an impressive 3-0 home win over 10-man Lyon, while goals from Randal Kolo Muani and Ludovic Blas gave Nantes a 2-0 victory against visiting Metz on Sunday.
Promoted Clermont Foot also made it two wins out of two as they beat Troyes 2-0 at home, Brest salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Rennes with a stoppage-time equaliser, while Reims and Montpellier shared the spoils in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
St Etienne twice led at Lens but had to settle for a 2-2 draw after Wahbi Khazri fired them ahead in the first minute, taking advantage of a catalogue of errors by the home side.
Denis Bouanga made it 2-1 to the visitors after Ignatius Ganago had equalised but Seko Fofana salvaged a point for Lens with a 78th-minute strike.
Bundesliga: Mainz upset RB Leipzig in season opener
Mainz 05 struck early to stun last season’s Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig 1-0 on Sunday and spoil new coach Jesse Marsch’s Bundesliga debut in their opening game of the campaign.
Mainz’s Moussa Niakhate tapped in at the far post in the 13th minute after a disastrous attempt to clear the ball from Leipzig’s Nordi Mukiele lobbed it into the path of the goal scorer.
Lee Jae-sung also hit the woodwork for Mainz but Leipzig gradually took control and made their own chances for Christopher Nkunku and Angelino.
In a largely one-sided second half, Leipzig pushed Mainz back deep but struggled to create openings, although they did come close with Mohamed Simakan’s double chance on the hour and Mukiele’s shot. In Sunday’s other game, Cologne defeated Hertha Berlin 3-1 with Florian Kainz scoring twice.
Champions Bayern Munich kicked off their season on Friday with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach, while fellow title contenders Borussia Dortmund crushed Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 on Saturday.