Rayo hold Barca in Camp Nou, while Villarreal off to a flier


Madrid, Aug 14 : FC Barcelona kicked off the new La Liga season with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano. Barca had moments of impressive football on Saturday night, but Rayo defended well and have not conceded a goal in their last three meetings with the Catalans. Andreas Christensen, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha all made their first team debuts for Xavi Hernandez's side while Ousmane Dembele was also in the starting 11 after signing his new contract, reports Xinhua. Barca looked to open up the pitch in the first half with Dembele and Raphinha both looking dangerous, although without working Rayo keeper, Stole Dimitrievski. The visitors began by pressing Barca high up the pitch, but were pushed deeper as the half progressed, although Alvaro had a good chance well saved by Marc Andre Ter Stegen. Dimitrievski saved well from Ansu Fati (who came on as a second half substitute) and Sergio Busquets after the break, while Lewandowski sent an effort just wide and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had another cleared off the line in the closing minutes. Franck Kessie had the ball in the net in the closing moments, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside and in the fourth minute of injury time, Busquets was sent off for a second yellow card after catching Falcao in the face. Second half goals from Nicolas Jackson and Alex Baena spoiled Valladolid's return to LaLiga and gave Villarreal a winning start to the season in the Jose Zorilla Stadium. The result was slightly harsh on a battling display from the home side, but Villarreal had more quality in the vital areas of the pitch. Jackson opened the scoring four minutes after the break and two goals from Baena in the last 10 minutes assured a 3-0 win for Unai Emery's side. Joselu's 98th-minute penalty saved a point for Espanyol away to Celta Vigo, who had led 2-0 through Iago Aspas and Goncalo Palencia, only for Edu Esposito to pull a goal back in the 72nd-minute penalty before Oscar Mingueza's late foul allowed the former Alaves striker to complete the fightback. The new season began on Friday night with Osasuna winning 2-1 at home to Sevilla. Chimmy Avila opened the scoring for Osasuna in an entertaining match in the ninth minute, but Rafa Mir leveled for the visitors almost immediately afterward and it wasn't until the 74th minute until a penalty taken by youngster, Aimar Oroz decided the game. /IANS


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