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Football
Sporting Gijon kick-off Spanish season
The Spanish season starts with a win for Sporting while Barcelona and Real Madrid prepare to kick-off title challenge.
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2011 19:34
Sporting Gijon and Real Sociedad clash was the first match of the Spanish season after strike [EPA] 

A double strike from Imanol Agirretxe gave ten-man Real Sociedad a 2-1 victory over Sporting Gijon as the new La Liga season finally got underway on Saturday.

The season was supposed to start a week ago but a strike of a different kind - as players downed tools over wages - meant it was delayed for the first time in 27 years.

Sporting had the second worst scoring record in the last campaign with just 35 goals and while they had the greater possession early on they created little danger and it was the visitors who went ahead from a well-worked move.

After a neat exchange in midfield the ball was played to Carlos Martinez who crossed for Agirretxe to head home.

The 24-year-old striker headed in his second mid-way through the second half but a penalty conceded by Martinez, for which he was red-carded, gave Miguel De las Cuevas the chance to pull it back to 2-1.

Real clung on, however, as Sporting defender Alberto Lora was also dismissed for a second yellow card in the last minute.

Unique generation

Champions Barcelona, who travel to Villarreal for Monday's only fixture, have started the new season where they left off and have already lifted their first two trophies with the domestic Super Cup followed by the European equivalent against Porto on Friday night.

"Having won these cups before we even start the league gives a comforting feeling," said coach Pep Guardiola.

"These players are fantastic and come from a unique generation. You ask yourself if they are going to continue having the desire to win and they always give you the answer.

"We know the value of each trophy. At this stage of the season you cannot expect to play at the same level as in the Champions League final but just do your best."

      Fabregas has already had taste of silverware with Barca despite being there a couple of weeks [GETTY]

New signing Cesc Fabregas has had the perfect start following his move from Arsenal and came off the bench to score the second goal as Barca beat Porto 2-0.

"I learnt from my first day here that we can go very far because everyone fights for each other and this has been a pleasant surprise," said Fabregas.

"Thanks to my teammates we had a magnificent season last year and now I can form part of this. My friends and family are very happy that I am back here and now hopefully I can improve as a player and win trophies."

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are at Zaragoza on Sunday with coach Jose Mourinho desperate to bring the league title back to the Bernabeu.

"The team is in better form at the moment than it was this time last year," said the Portuguese.

"The first game of the season is always difficult and there are often a lot of surprises.

"This would be a tough match at home or away due to the quality of the opposition. (Zaragoza trainer) Javier Aguirre is one of my favourite coaches as much as a person as a tactician."

Source:
AFP
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