FC Barcelona made a statement of intent under new coach Tito Vilanova by sweeping aside Real Sociedad de Fútbol in a 5-1 victory after Real Madrid CF were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Valencia CF.
It was the dawn of a new era, but Josep Guardiola's legacy shone through as Vilanova's Barcelona swiftly resumed their philosophy of short, probing passing. The game was just four minutes old when Carles Puyol emphatically headed in Xavi Hernández's corner, although the hosts were quickly stung on the counter as Gonzalo Castro rifled the ball past Víctor Valdés.
Barcelona did not take long to regain their composure. Lionel Messi swivelled in the area and found the net with a sweet left-footed shot and the irrepressible Argentinian made it three five minutes later. Pedro Rodríguez then concluded a dominant first-half display, before David Villa marked his return from injury with his first goal since November 2011 six minutes from time.
Rivals Real Madrid began tentatively in their bid to retain the Liga title, meanwhile. Gonzalo Higuaín turned in Ángel Di María's centre after ten minutes against Valencia, but José Mourinho's charges were consequently stifled by the visitors, who were rewarded for their resilience courtesy of Jonas' leveller.
Elsewhere, Real Betis Balompié surrendered a three-goal lead at Athletic Club, before late strikes from Álex Pozuelo and Jorge Molina finally secured a stunning 5-3 victory. In Sunday's late kick-off, Levante UD drew 1-1 with Club Atlético de Madrid.
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|Last updated: 05/04/2013 14:25 CET|
El Zhar 5
Arda Turan 22
Hemed 2, 85
|Venue: Palma de Mallorca|
|2||Real Betis Balompié||1||3|
|6||Club Atlético de Madrid||1||1|
|7||Real Madrid CF||1||1|
|10||RC Deportivo La Coruña||0||0|
|13||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||0||0|
|14||Real Valladolid CF||0||0|
|18||RC Celta de Vigo||1||0|
|20||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||1||0|