Gareth Bale continued his swift change in fortunes at Real Madrid by starting his side’s first game of the season at Celta Vigo – and inspiring Zinedine Zidane’s men to a 3-1 win.
The Welshman looked set to leave the Bernabeu after being effectively told he had no future in pre-season and coming close to landing a lucrative move to China.
But Bale was surprisingly preferred over Lucas Vazquez for Real’s trip to the Balaidos in LaLiga, and responded by setting up the opening goal for team-mate Karim Benzema.
Real rode their luck in the early stages and had Luka Modric sent off in the 54th minute, but goals from Toni Kroos and substitute Vazquez wrapped up victory before Iker Losada Aragunde’s late consolation.
Mikel Oyarzabal’s penalty deep into added time salvaged a 1-1 draw for Real Sociedad against Valencia at the Mestalla.
The hosts took a 58th-minute lead through Kevin Gameiro but, in the 100th minute of the game, Francis Coquelin was sent off for a handball and Oyarzabal scored from the spot.
Villarreal and Granada kicked off the season in fine style after playing out a thrilling 4-4 draw at Estadio De La Ceramica.
Santi Cazorla’s penalty gave the Yellow Submarine the lead before Fede Vico levelled the scores with a spot-kick of his own just before half-time.
Moi Gomez restored Villarreal’s lead only for Ruben Pena’s own goal to restore parity once more.
Gerard Moreno gave Javier Calleja’s side the lead for the third time in the match and Samuel Chukwueze looked to have won it when he made it 4-2 with 17 minutes remaining.
Roberto Soldado grabbed a goal back for Granada in the 75th minute and Antonio Puertas secured a dramatic point with a third equaliser after 81 minutes.
Paulo Oliveira’s own goal after 75 minutes handed Mallorca a 2-1 victory at home to Eibar.
Eibar centre-back Oliveira had earlier equalised Dani Rodriguez’s fourth-minute opener before putting into his own net.
Elsewhere, Ezequiel Avila scored the only goal for Osasuna in their 1-0 victory over Leganes, who had Oscar Arnaiz sent off in added time.
Monaco’s poor start to the new Ligue 1 campaign continued with a 3-0 defeat at Metz.
Leonardo Jardim’s side were without Cesc Fabregas following the Spanish midfielder’s controversial red card in the opening 3-0 loss against Lyon.
Monaco fared no better on their travels, as Habib Diallo scored twice in another comprehensive defeat.
Diallo put the home side ahead from the penalty spot after 11 minutes following a VAR review.
The visitors were down to 10 men for the second game in a row when Ruben Aguilar was sent off in the 34th minute for a late sliding challenge on Opa Nguette.
Senegalese forward Diallo knocked home another from close range following a free-kick early in the second half before midfielder Renaud Cohade drove in Metz’s third just after the hour.
Nice are second, above Metz, with a 100 per cent record after they won 2-1 at Nimes – where three players were sent off as the hosts finished with nine men after two red cards in stoppage time.
Wylan Cyprien put the visitors in front from the penalty spot after 10 minutes and it was soon 2-0 as Ignatius Ganago knocked home from close range.
Renaud Ripart reduced the deficit with a penalty just before half-time, which was awarded following a VAR review.
Dur à accepter..., mais c’est le foot!
Merci à tous pour l’accueil 👍🏻August 17, 2019
Nice were down to 10 men in the 51st minute when defender Racine Coly collected a second caution.
Nimes – beaten by Paris St Germain in their opening match – hit the woodwork through Zinedine Ferhat.
Late on during 10 minutes of added time, defender Pablo Martinez was sent off for a second caution before Anthony Briancon was shown a straight red card after appearing to argue with the referee.
Toulouse are fourth after a 1-0 home win over Dijon, secured by a goal from Jean-Victor Makengo in the 54th minute.
Amiens beat 10-man Lille 1-0, with Sehrou Guirassy’s scrambled effort allowed to stand following a lengthy on-field review for an offside call.
The visitors had midfielder Boubakary Soumare sent off late in the first half for a raised-foot challenge on Gael Kakuta.
Bordeaux collected their first point of the new season after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Montpellier.
The visitors went in front through Andy Delort’s acrobatic volley after 22 minutes, but a fine individual effort from Josh Maja levelled things up with 20 minutes left.
Souleymane Camara thought he had won it for Montpellier late on, but his goal was ruled out after a VAR review for an offside in the build-up.
Saturday’s afternoon kick-off saw Argentine forward Dario Benedetto miss a penalty on his Ligue 1 debut for Marseille as Andre Villas-Boas’ side were held to a goalless draw at Nantes.
Last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund hit their stride immediately by recording a comprehensive 5-1 win against Augsburg on the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season.
A first-minute goal from Augsburg’s Florian Niederlechner handed Martin Schmidt’s side the advantage, but the response from the hosts was almost instantaneous as Spanish striker Paco Alcacer levelled two minutes later.
After the break a superb strike from England winger Jadon Sancho triggered a flurry of three goals in eight minutes, with captain Marco Reus and Alcacer scoring to make it 4-1.
Augsburg were resigned to a heavy defeat when 23-year-old winger Julian Brandt – on his debut – rounded off a dominant Dortmund performance in the 82nd minute.
Steffen Baumgart’s Paderborn fell to an entertaining 3-2 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on their return to the Bundesliga.
Jamaican winger Leon Bailey gave Leverkusen the lead in the 10th minute but Sven Michel responded five minutes later for the visitors.
Kai Havertz soon restored the hosts’ lead but Streli Mamba levelled after the 25th minute.
But Paderborn’s hopes of a point in the top tier after completing back-to-back promotions was ended by Kevin Volland’s 69th-minute winner.
Well worked from Leverkusen for a simple finish from Volland 👌August 17, 2019
Freiburg got revenge for their heavy defeat to Mainz last season by running out 3-0 winners against Mainz.
Mainz had won 5-0 when they last met in April but this time were beaten by three goals in the last 10 minutes.
Lucas Holer opened the scoring in the 81st minute before right-back Jonathan Schmid and forward Luca Waldschmidt both found the net in the next six minutes.
Wolfsburg started their campaign with a 2-1 win over newly-promoted Cologne.
Maximilian Arnold opened the scoring in the 16th minute and Wout Weghorst made it 2-0 on the hour mark before Simon Terodde’s stoppage-time consolation.
Fortuna Dusseldorf began with a 3-1 win at Werder Bremen.
Rouwen Hennings opened the scoring in the 36th minute but Johannes Eggestein levelled early in the second half for Bremen.
Parity was short-lived as Dusseldorf forward Kenan Karaman regained the advantage for his side in the 52nd minute and a towering header from Kaan Ayhan 12 minutes later settled the game.
In the other game of the opening Saturday of the season, Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke played out a goalless draw at Borussia-Park.