Atlético Madrid defeats Las Palmas; Espanyol takes down Getafe
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Goals from free kicks gave Atletico Madrid a slim win over promoted Las Palmas and helped Espanyol edge 10-man Getafe on Saturday as the Spanish league struggled to produce scoring on its opening weekend.
Atletico settled for a 1-0 victory thanks to Antoine Griezmann's free kick in the 16th minute at its Vicente Calderon Stadium. Las Palmas began the match looking out of its depth in its return to the top flight after 13 seasons, but the promoted side made the 2014 champions work for the win.
Griezmann's shot deflected off a defender to wrong-foot goalkeeper Raul Lizoain, who got a touch on the ball but couldn't keep it out. The France forward was Atletico's most incisive player and outshone Atletico's star signing of the summer, striker Jackson Martinez, who showed he needs time to adapt to Diego Simeone's side.
Outclassed in the first half, Las Palmas came close to scoring twice after halftime.
David Simon almost took advantage of Atletico's first dip in concentration during a free kick, only to head the ball off the bar in the 58th. Atletico goalie Jan Oblak then dove to get one hand on Aythyami Artiles try from a corner kick in the 72nd.
Atletico's Jorge "Koke" Resurreccion went close to widening the winning margin when he sent a free kick off the post in the last minute.
Earlier, the Spanish league saw its second 0-0 draw after Real Sociedad visited a misfiring Deportivo La Coruna.
David Moyes' Sociedad secured a point in a match similar to Friday's league opener when Sevilla and Malaga showed more rust than punch from the summer in their 0-0 draw.
In Barcelona, Espanyol midfielder Salva Sevilla secured a 1-0 win over Getafe with a dipping free kick that went in off the upright in the third minute.
It was the only clear scoring chance of the game, as Espanyol didn't muster another effort on target — not even after Getafe's Santiago Vergini received his second booking with eight minute to play.
Getafe striker Alvaro Vazquez had an ideal opportunity to level in the 87th, but failed to tap in the ball in front of an open net, instead sending it across the goalmouth before knocking his head on the post.
Later, Valencia visited Rayo Vallecano three days before the second leg of its Champions League playoff at Monaco.
Barcelona starts its title defense at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, before Real Madrid visits Sporting Gijon.