Football: Denilson off to slow start for Real Betis

THE pounds 20M world record signing, Denilson, made a disappointing start to his Spanish league career as Real Betis were held to a goalless draw by newly-promoted Alaves in Bilbao on Saturday.

The Brazilian showed some nice touches but looked short of fitness as he was kept quiet by a stubborn Alaves defence. The match was played at Athletic Bilbao's San Mames stadium because of continuing ground improvements at Alaves.

Valencia made a winning start to their league campaign, beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 with a header by Miguel Angel Angulo, set up by the Romanian international Adrian Illie.

Bordeaux won 2-0 at ailing Metz to open a two-point lead in the French league as the title favourites, Paris St-Germain, crashed 2-1 at home to newly promoted Lorient.

Sylvain Wiltord scored twice, taking his tally to six goals in four games, to leave Bordeaux the only team with maximum points from four games. They have two more points than Marseilles, who were held 0-0 at Le Havre.

PSG looked on their way to a third successive win in front of a 35,000 crowd at their Parc des Princes when they went ahead in the 10th minute with a penalty by Marco Simone. They appeared to be cruising to victory until late in the second half when, in the space of two minutes, Lorient turned the match round with help from two mistakes by the former West Ham keeper Bernard Lama.

The German defender Christian Worns allowed Lorient's Guinean Ousmane Souma to break through on the left but Lama, going down at the striker's feet, did not hold the ball, allowing Souma to touch it home in the 76th minute.

Two minutes later, Lorient's playmaker, Stephane Pedron, scored direct from a free-kick well out on the right, tucking the ball inside the base of the near post as Lama went down too late.

Stefan Effenberg scored twice on his return for Bayern Munich as last season's runners-up in the Bundesliga began their defence of the German Cup with a 5-0 win against the amateurs, LR Ahlen.