In contrasting triumphs for Barcelona and La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Sunday, veteran star forwards Robert Lewandowski, and Karim Benzema scored twice.
In Barcelona’s 4-0 rout of Valladolid, Lewandowski scored twice for the second game in a row while Jules Kounde made his professional debut.
Later, Real Madrid fought against Espanyol for 88 minutes. Benzema gave Real the lead with the game deadlocked and the clock ticking down, and after 10 exciting extra minutes, Real won 3-1.
Real, who had a perfect start to the season, maintained it after three games and returned to the top of the table with nine points, ahead of Real Betis on goal differential.
Lewandowski Scored A Brace For Barca, Benzema Saves Real Madrid:
After the club successfully registered the France defender they had acquired from Sevilla last month for a whopping 50 million euros ($49.8 mn), Xavi gave Kounde his first start at the Camp Nou.
Lewandowski’s early header struck the post. When Ousmane Dembele’s vicious shot hit the crossbar, Jordi Masip was well beaten by Pedri, who had earlier seen Raphinha running in behind and was about to score.
After 24 minutes, Barca’s pressure paid off when Raphinha whipped in a teaser cross that a risk-taking Lewandowski punched.
Marauding Dembele tried Masip from a distance before setting up Pedri’s second goal on the verge of halftime with a nicely weighted pass.
In the 64th minute, Lewandowski nearly put the game out of reach as he ran onto a feed from Dembele and skillfully backheeled past Masip with a deflection from Joaquin Fernandez.
Oscar Plano’s excellent save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kounde’s extended leg on the line to stop Roque Mesa’s follow-up attempt prevented Valladolid from pulling one back.