Villa Scores in Return as Barcelona Wins Liga Opener; Real Draws

David Villa scored in his comeback from injury to help Barcelona rout Real Sociedad 5-1 as Real Madrid began the defense of its Spanish soccer title with a 1-1 home draw against Valencia.

Villa, playing his first competitive match since breaking his leg at December’s Club World Cup, completed the scoring last night after two goals from Lionel Messi and one each from Carles Puyol and Pedro Rodriguez put Barca 4-1 up at halftime in its first La Liga match under new coach Tito Vilanova.

“It is important to start with a win,” Vilanova said in comments on Barcelona’s website. “Villa’s return gives us a big morale boost.”

Gonzalo Higuain earlier gave Real Madrid the lead against Valencia after 10 minutes. Jonas made it 1-1 before half time.

Elsewhere, Real Betis squandered a 3-0 lead at Athletic Bilbao, before late goals from Alex Pozuelo and Jorge Molina secured a 5-3 victory. Atletico Madrid and Levante drew 1-1 in yesterday’s late game.

In France, Lyon, Marseille, Bastia and Bordeaux lead the standings with six points from two matches. Paris Saint-Germain is in 12th place following last night’s scoreless draw at Ajaccio, during which coach Carlo Ancelotti was sent to the stands for kicking out at a water bottle.

Champion Montpellier has one point after allowing two injury-time goals to lose at Lorient two days ago. Emanuel Herrera put the visiting team 1-0 up after 37 minutes before Alain Traore and Jeremie Aliadiere gave Lorient a 2-1 win.

FC Twente leads the Dutch standings with six points after a 1-0 win at NAC Breda. Champion Ajax is one of five clubs on four points after a 6-1 win at NEC Nijmegen yesterday.

Cup Upsets

Six Bundesliga teams were upset by lower-league clubs in the first round of the German Cup. Hoffenheim lost 4-0 to fourth-division Berliner AK, while Greuther Furth, promoted to the top league, lost 2-0 at Kickers Offenbach. Hamburg and Werder Bremen had 4-2 losses against Karlsruhe and Preussen Munster, respectively.

Nurnberg went down 3-2 at Havelse and Eintracht Frankfurt lost 3-0 at Erzgebirge Aue. Elite-level clubs including Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart and Bayer Leverkusen advanced. Bayern Munich plays tonight.

WEEKEND RESULTS
===============
Spain: Celta Vigo 0-1 Malaga, Sevilla 2-1 Getafe, Real Mallorca
2-1 Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao 3-5 Real Betis, Real Madrid 1-1
Valencia, Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad, Levante 1-1 Atletico
Madrid. Today: Deportivo La Coruna vs Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano vs
Granada, Real Zaragoza vs Real Valladolid.

France: Lille 1-1 Nancy, Lyon 4-1 Troyes, Bastia 2-1 Reims,
Brest 1-0 Evian, Lorient 2-1 Montpellier, Toulouse 2-1 St
Etienne, Valenciennes 0-0 Nice, Marseille 2-0 Sochaux, Bordeaux
1-0 Rennes, AC Ajaccio 0-0 Paris Saint-Germain.

Netherlands: PSV Eindhoven 5-0 Roda JC, FC Zwolle 0-1 Vitesse
Arnhem, NAC Breda 0-1 FC Twente, VVV 1-3 FC Utrecht, Feyenoord
1-1 Heerenveen, Groningen 1-1 Willem II, Den Haag 2-2 RKC
Waalwijk, AZ Alkmaar 3-1 Heracles, NEC Nijmegen 1-6 Ajax.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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