AAP Soccer

Sevilla, Atletico claim La Liga victories

By AAP Newswire

Sevilla have had a successful start under former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui with a 2-0 win at Espanyol in their La Liga opener while Atletico Madrid edged Getafe.

Sergio Reguilon and Manuel "Nolito" Agudo scored a goal in each half in Sevilla's first competitive match under their new coach.

This is Lopetegui's first job since being fired after a brief stint with Real Madrid last year.

He lost his Spain job just before the 2018 World Cup for taking the Madrid position without telling Spanish soccer officials in advance.

Alvaro Morata scored on 23 minutes as Atletico Madrid launched their campaign with a 1-0 home victory over Getafe.

Morata headed home Kieran Tripper's 23rd-minute cross to clinch the points at Wanda Metropolitano.

However, after both sides had been reduced to 10 men when Getafe's Jorge Molina and Renan Lodi were dismissed within minutes before the break, Spain forward Morata had a second-half spot-kick saved by David Soria.

At the Estadi Cornella-El Prat, Reguilon opened the scoring with a shot from close range in the 44th minute, and Nolito sealed the victory after going past a defender inside the area in the 86th.

A penalty was awarded to Espanyol early in the second half, but the call was reversed by the video assistant referee.

"We played well, we knew how to defend when we had to and we took advantage of our chances," Lopetegui said.

"We're happy because we fulfilled our objective, which was to take the three points. We played seriously, intensely, aggressively, and we got the second goal."

Sevilla hope to improve from their sixth-place finish last season.

Alaves defeated Levante 1-0 at home with Joselu Sanmartin scoring early in the second half while a late goal gave Real Valladolid a 2-1 victory over 10-man Real Betis.

Oscar Plano got the decisive goal on 89 minutes to leave the hosts, who had goalkeeper Joel Robles sent off after just eight minutes, heartbroken.