Eurozone: Mourinho left to draw small comfort as Real struggle

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid are already playing catch up in La Liga after they were held to a goalless draw by Mallorca in Palma last night while champions Barcelona brushed aside Racing Santander 3-0 thanks to goals from Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and David Villa.

In the opening round of games, Jose Mourinho's new side failed to impress as they struggled to break down an obdurate Mallorca defence. Mourinho's new signings Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Angel di Maria, Sergio Canales and Ricardo Carvalho all featured but despite a frantic finish Michael Laudrup's Mallorca side were worth their point.

"We are a team in construction. I would like us to have had three points ... but it's not a dramatic situation," Mourinho said. "On a positive note we conceded very few chances and had no problems at the back. The negative point is the result. I'm disappointed that with the number of chances we created we didn't score. We deserved to win."

Barça had earlier thrown down the gauntlet, appearing unruffled by the contentious exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Milan on loan. Messi, who grabbed a hat-trick in the Spanish Super Cup last weekend, only needed four minutes to rip open the Racing defence and score with a delightful lob.

Iniesta followed up with a volley from outside the area and new signing Villa headed his first league goal in a Barça shirt, after Victor Valdes had saved a penalty just before the break.

Second Division champions Real Sociedad celebrated their return to La Liga with a 1-0 win at home to Villarreal. On Saturday, Seville shook off their shock exit against Braga in the Champions League play-offs to beat promoted Levante 4-1. Meanwhile Joaquin struck twice as Valencia won 3-1 at Malaga.

In Italy, Milan opened their Serie A campaign with a 4-0 win over Lecce but Juventus crashed 1-0 at newly promoted Bari.

With Ibrahimovic watching from the stands at San Siro, Alexandre Pato slammed in the opener for Milan. Thiago Silva soon bundled in a corner and Pato scored again by rounding the goalkeeper after a shrewd pass from Ronaldinho. Filippo Inzaghi made it four late on.

Juve slipped to defeat at Bari as their problems from last season were again exposed. Substitute Massimo Donati scored for Bari from outside the area two minutes before the break.

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