Sociedad, Valencia collect La Liga wins
BARCELONA, Spain (AP)
Carlos Vela scored one goal and set up another Saturday as Real Sociedad picked up where it left off last season by outclassing Getafe 2-0 with its exquisite flowing attack to inaugurate the Spanish league at Anoeta Stadium.
The Mexico forward netted the first goal of the 2013-14 season from a pass by Gonzalo ''Chori'' Castro in the 42nd, and then assisted Haris Seferovic for the new signing to get a deserved goal in the 70th.
Sociedad showed no signs of the transition from former manager Philippe Montanier to promoted assistant Jagoba Arrasate as it maintained its passing style that last season earned it a playoff for the Champions League group phase beginning Tuesday at Lyon.
''This reaffirms that this team knows how to compete,'' Arrasate said following his debut in the first division.
Seferovic was particularly active early on in San Sebastian, going close with several chances and passing for Castro to force goalkeeper Miguel Moya to push his rising shot onto the bar.
Castro helped Sociedad convert its dominant possession into the opener when he used one touch to play Vela clear of the defense. Vela did the rest by coolly chipping the ball over the onrushing Moya to record the first goal of the season.
Moments after Diego Castro had Getafe's best scoring opportunity, Vela picked out Seferovic's run and slipped the ball through for the Swiss to dink it over Moya from a tight angle and secure the three points.
Valverde first coached Bilbao from 2003-05 and returned on a two-year contract after the Basque club didn't offer Marcelo Bielsa an extension following a disappointing second campaign under the Argentine last season.
And while Bilbao still showed some frailties in defense, it was sound enough to hold off Valladolid's late surge to give Valverde a bright second start.
Susaeta finished off a brilliant combination of one-touch passes from a corner kick to put Bilbao ahead in the 28th. Bilbao worked the ball away from Valladolid's area before new arrival Benat Etxebarria used a no-look pass to serve Susaeta inside the box for the forward to fire home.
But Patrick Ebert drilled in Valladolid's equalizer three minutes later when Oscar Gonzalez spotted him arriving late to the area unmarked by the visiting defense.
Muniain was quick to pounce and knock in a ball sent off the post by Valladolid defender Marc Valiente to restore Bilbao's lead for good five minutes after halftime. Ander Herrera nearly extended the advantage when he hit the goalframe in the 75th.