Valencia fightback shocks Santander in La Liga opener

IT TOOK an extra week to get started after a strike by players postponed the first round of fixtures but La Liga sprang into life on Saturday night when Valencia came from 3-1 down with half an hour remaining to win 4-3 over Racing Santander.

Roberto Soldado scored at both ends in the first ten minutes but completed an amazing fightback and his hat-trick with two goals in the final three minutes to hand Valencia victory.

There were also wins for Real Sociedad, Real Betis and Mallorca on the Spanish season’s opening weekend. Barcelona begin their title defence this evening when they host Villarreal.

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In Germany, Bayern Munich hit the top of the league with a 3-0 win at Kaiserslautern, Mario Gomez scoring a hat-trick. In the battle of two Champions League sides, Bayern Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw while Schalke and Werder Bremen are tied with Bayern on nine points after wins at home to Borussia Monchengladbach and away to Hoffenheim respectively. However, the game of the weekend in the Bundesliga was at Hamburg where Cologne were 4-3 victors with two goals in the last three minutes.

Paris Saint Germain made it three wins in a week with a late show at Toulouse. The hosts had taken a first-half lead but Kevin Gameiro equalised and goals in the final minutes from Jeremy Menez and Mervlut Erdinc gave the Parisians a 3-1 win. Montpellier still lead the league despite falling to their first defeat of the season 2-1 at Lyon.

Serie A was also supposed to get under way this weekend but following the lead of their Spanish peers the players held a strike, this time over who between the players and the clubs is liable for a new “solidarity tax” on high earners to be introduced by the Italian government.