Spanish La Liga Roundup, Sep. 18
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner as Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad 2-1 to go top of the Spanish league on Saturday.
In a hostile Anoeta Stadium, Madrid went ahead against the run of play when Angel Di Maria dribbled into the area from the left and fired past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the 51st minute for his first goal of the season.
Raul Tamudo equalized in the 62nd, running unmarked on to an Antoine Griezmann free kick and bundling the ball into the net with his knee.
Ronaldo sent a free kick bouncing in off teammate Pepe, who was lined up in the defensive wall, in the 75th.
"In the first half Real Sociedad deserved to win, in the second half Madrid deserved to win. For me the fairest result would have been a draw," said Madrid coach Jose Mourinho. "We've got three points, which are gold, they're very important."
The result leaves Madrid top on seven points and Real Sociedad seventh on four, with the rest of the third week's action to be played on Sunday and Monday. Champion Barcelona plays at Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Also on Saturday, Athletic Bilbao came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Sporting Gijon and Mallorca registered its first league win under coach Michael Laudrup, beating Osasuna 2-0. Jose Callejon scored as Espanyol beat Almeria 1-0.
Madrid went into the game on the back of a 2-0 midweek win against Ajax in the Champions League, an improved display on its early season league form.
The visitors started brightly and Di Maria tested Bravo with a fierce shot in the third minute. Xabi Alonso, returning to his boyhood club, completed an attacking Madrid move with a low shot that Bravo easily stopped.
Newly promoted Real Sociedad started to win more possession as Alonso and fellow midfielders Sami Khedira and Mesut Oezil struggled.
In the seventh, the Madrid defense was caught out as Xabier Prieto crossed to the unmarked Griezmann, who headed high.
Griezmann, who won the European Under-19 championship with France in the summer, had another chance in the 25th, when he latched onto a long pass and beat Iker Casillas with a shot that went just wide. Tamudo then could have walked the ball into the net from Prieto's cross yet he failed to connect and the ball rolled across the goalmouth.
Ronaldo, playing wide, was muted for much of the game. He had a rare chance in the 60th, shooting wide.
In the closing minutes Gonzalo Higuain had a shot saved and Ronaldo failed to put the rebound away as both sides had chances.
"I'm happy, not just about scoring but about the win, we got the three points and we just need to keep going like this," said Di Maria.
At Gijon's El Molinon, De las Cuevas scored for Gijon in the 13th minute, tapping in after goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz spilled the ball as he rushed out.
Gaston Sangoy then beat Iraizoz in the 24th after receiving a long pass into the area from Alberto Rivera.
Bilbao responded five minutes later. Igor Martinez created space on the left with some fine individual play and his cross found Carlos Gurpegui, who headed in at the far post.
Spain striker Fernando Llorente jumped above his marker to head in a corner in the 59th and level the scores.
Both sides had early chances, with Sangoy testing Iraizoz and Bilbao's Javier Martinez hitting the post. After a frenzied opening, Bilbao started to take control and enjoyed more chances as the game wore on.
Llorente nearly found the net early in the second half when he beat the offside trap and chipped goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas, although his shot trickled inches (centimeters) wide of the post.
Colinas salvaged a point for Gijon by saving Markel Susaeta's low shot in injury time.
Mallorca went ahead in the 27th minute at Ono Estadi when Chori Castro converted from the penalty spot after Miguel Flano handled in the area.
Jonathan De Guzman scored the second in injury time, after dribbling the ball from Mallorca's own half in a counterattacking move.
Callejon's goal for Espanyol came in the 48th, the forward driving the ball into the bottom corner with a half volley from the edge of the area.
Almeria nearly equalized in the 60th. Defender Victor Ruiz stretched to stop Pablo Piatti's cross, sending the ball just wide of his own goal in Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat Stadium. It was Espanyol's second win in three games.
Also on Sunday, it's: Hercules vs. Valencia; Racing Santander vs. Zaragoza; Levante vs. Villarreal; and Malaga vs. Sevilla. On Monday, Deportivo La Coruna plays Getafe.