Morientes bursts out of the blocks in Valencia debut

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The Independent Football

The former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes celebrated his return to La Liga by scoring the first goal of the Spanish season, guiding Valencia to a 2-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday.

Morientes, who used to play for Real Madrid, smashed the ball into the net from 20 yards in the 32nd minute. Betis equalised with a well-taken header from the Valencia old boy Xisco early in the second half but the centre-back Raul Albiol secured victory for the home side when he slotted into the net after a 61st-minute corner.

Barcelona begin their quest for a third successive League title at Celta Vigo today. Sevilla, who swept past Barcelona 3-0 in the European Super Cup on Friday, will host the promoted Levante tomorrow.

In the Netherlands the Twente Enschede striker Blaise N'Kufo struck after 70 minutes to upset the champions PSV Eindhoven 1-0 in the Eredivisie.

Wesley Sneijder scored twice in the final 20 minutes to give Ajax a 2-1 victory at NAC Breda after Edwin de Graaf had put the home side in front in the 62nd minute. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar set up Sneijder's equaliser but then missed a penalty with 10 minutes remaining. Sneijder scored the winner three minutes later.

AZ Alkmaar made it two victories from the opening two matches by winning 3-1 at Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday. The Georgian Shota Arveladze set up Danny Koevermans for the first goal after 20 minutes before Stijn Schaars netted the rebound after the goalkeeper Harald Wapenaar blocked a shot from Koevermans in the second half. Danko Lazovic pulled one back for Vitesse but Demy de Zeeuw made it 3-1 for the leaders Alkmaar in injury time.