Muniain keeps Bilbao undefeated with win over Mallorca
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Two goals set up by Iker Muniain kept Athletic Bilbao undefeated after beating Mallorca 2-0 and made the Basque Country club the early leader of the Spanish league on Saturday.
Bilbao’s reign at the top will likely be short-lived with five teams one point behind before they play later in the round.
But the club that fields players from only the northern Basque Country region or neighboring territories will nevertheless enjoy its enviable start to the season with two wins and two draws, including holding Barcelona to 1-1.
Muniain helped Daniel Vivian take the opener in the 67th minute when he met his run into the area with a free kick for the defender to head home.
The midfielder then helped to put the result beyond doubt in the 74th after he intercepted a pass near Mallorca’s area and crossed for Iñaki Williams to tap in.
“We went for the win from the very start,” Vivian said. “We work hard to justify that and are very happy with how we are playing.”
Levante squandered another lead in drawing 1-1 with Rayo Vallecano, which got a stoppage-time goal from a new player to snatch the point on the road.
Second-half substitute Sergi Guardiola had an ideal debut for a striker by scoring in the final seconds.
The former Valladolid player steered in a powerful cross from Bebé after Rayo pushed Levante into its area for long stretches of the second half.
Roger Martí put the hosts in front in the 39th from the penalty spot after Pathé Ciss used his arm to stop a shot in the box.
Levante had already conceded a stoppage-time goal to concede a 1-1 draw with Cádiz in the opening round. It also led Real Madrid twice before finishing 3-3 in round two.
“It’s a shame that games are slipping away from us,” Martí said. “They played better in the second half, put a lot of crosses into the box, and did what they needed to deserve the draw.”
Radamel Falcao was not in Rayo’s squad after the veteran striker signed for the team at the close of the transfer market.
Three other games originally scheduled for Saturday were postponed to give rest to players returning from international duty with South American nations.
Barcelona’s game at Sevilla and Villarreal’s home match against Alavés were both postponed with a new date yet to be determined. Real Madrid’s home match against Celta Vigo was moved to Sunday.
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