Barca win Super Cup; Ronaldo shines as Spanish season starts
Last Updated: August 29, 2011 12:08pm
Barcelona cemented their position as Europe's best side with success in the Super Cup
Barcelona claimed Super Cup glory, the Spanish season finally kicked off, while other leagues across Europe are beginning to take shape.
There is a typically tight tussle developing at the top of the Scottish Premier League, but so far Motherwell are managing to stay with the Old Firm.
Bayern Munich lead the way in Germany, Montpellier remain the surprise leaders in France and FC Twente have a perfect record after four games of the Dutch Eredivisie.
European Super Cup
Barcelona proved once again that they are the best side in Europe after beating nine-man Porto in the traditional curtain-raiser to the new campaign between the Champions League winners and Europa League champions.
Lionel Messi scored the opener and set up former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas for the second, while Rolando and Fredy Guarin were sent off for the Portuguese side.
Barcelona do not open their domestic campaign until Monday but, after being delayed by a week following a pay dispute, the 2011/12 Primera Liga campaign got under way this weekend.
Real Sociedad came out on top in the first match on Saturday, winning 2-1 at Sporting Gijon, while Roberto Soldado's hat-trick helped Valencia overcome Racing Santander in a seven-goal thriller and Real Betis beat Granada 1-0 in a battle between two of the newly-promoted teams.
Cristiano Ronaldo's treble inspired Real Madrid to a thumping 6-0 away victory over outclassed Real Zaragoza on Sunday, when Sevilla and Real Mallorca were also winners but Atletico Madrid were held to a goalless draw by Osasuna.
Ally McCoist picked up his first home win as manager as Rangers secured a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen at Ibrox to remain top of the SPL.
Motherwell had temporarily dislodged them from the summit after Michael Higdon's double secured a 4-2 triumph at Dunfermline that ended the hosts' unbeaten start.
Celtic are just a point adrift of Rangers and Motherwell following a much-needed 2-0 victory at St Mirren that was founded on two early goals from Gary Hooper.
Bayern Munich enjoyed a convincing 3-0 win at Kaiserslautern on Saturday to move top of the table, while reigning champions Borussia Dortmund played out a goalless stalemate with Bayer Leverkusen.
Hannover missed the chance to return to first place on Sunday as they were held 1-1 by Mainz, allowing Schalke to join Bayern on nine points after beating Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0.
In Friday night's game, Hertha Berlin secured their first Bundesliga success on home soil in two years with a 1-0 victory over Stuttgart.
Montpellier's 100 per cent record came to an end at the hands of Lyon with a 2-1 defeat on Saturday, when Auxerre were big winners against Ajaccio.
But Montpellier clung on to top spot after Toulouse and St Etienne lost the next day. Defending champions Lille edged out Marseille in a 3-2 cracker and big-spending Paris St Germain moved into third.
FC Twente maintained their 100 per cent record on Saturday to stay top of the Eredivisie, while NEC Nijmegen, Utrecht and RKC Waalwijk all won.
Ajax remain second after cruising to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Vitesse Arnhem on Friday night, while the weekend's action concluded with PSV Eindhoven hammering lowly Excelsior 6-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Dries Mertens.
Best of the rest
While some major leagues such as Italy and Turkey have yet to begin, there are a few other competitions across the continent that are well over the halfway point.
The Premier League in Russia started back in March and it is CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg who are currently level on points at the top, but Anzhi Makhachkala are the team making all the headlines with their big spending.
Samuel Eto'o made his debut for Anzhi on Saturday and scored to salvage a 1-1 draw that keeps his side in fifth.
Helsingborgs are well on their way to claiming the title in Sweden after opening up a six-point lead after 23 games of the season, while Molde head the Norwegian table and HJK Helsinki have an 11-point cushion in Finland.
Academica drew level with Porto on six points at the top of the Portuguese league, while Gent, Cercle Brugge and KV Mechelen are the surprise early pacesetters after five games of the Belgian season.