Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez, left, battles for the ball with Valencia’s Jose Luis Gaya, right, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Marco Asensio was impressive again, but his two remarkable goals were enough only to salvage a 2-2 draw against Valencia in Real Madrid’s home opener in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Asensio scored the second of his two goals from a free kick in the 83rd minute at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The disappointing result left the defending champions two points behind Real Sociedad, Barcelona and Leganes — the three teams which have won each of their first two matches.
“We deserved more, but you can’t always win,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We had several clear chances to score but couldn’t do it. I’m not happy with the result but I’m proud of the game we played.”
Asensio scored Madrid’s opener in the 10th with a neat run through the middle after a defensive blunder by Valencia. Asensio calmly finished with a well-placed left-foot shot into the left corner.
His second goal came only six minutes after Valencia had taken a 2-1 lead. He struck a low free kick that went around the wall and was too much for Valencia goalkeeper Neto.
“We let two points escape,” Madrid right back Dani Carvajal said.
Valencia, coming off a 1-0 win against Las Palmas in the opener, equalized a few minutes after Asensio’s first goal with a close-range shot by Carlos Soler. The visitors went ahead in the second half with a low strike from inside the area by French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia.
“Both teams could have ended with the victory,” Valencia coach Marcelino said. “But the draw turned out to be a good result for us and I’m proud of my players.”
Madrid struggled offensively without the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo. Karim Benzema wasted opportunities in front of the goal, including from close-range in the 88th. His injury-time header struck the post after being tipped by the goalkeeper.
Neto had already made a great save against Luka Modric’s strike from just outside the area midway through the second half.
A few minutes later, it was Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas who brilliantly stopped a free kick shot by Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo.
Before the game, Madrid was officially handed the La Liga trophy it won last season.
Madrid, which had opened with a 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna, was without suspended defender Sergio Ramos.
On Saturday, Barcelona won 2-0 at Alaves with a pair of goals by Lionel Messi. Atletico Madrid earned its first league victory with a 5-1 rout at Las Palmas.
Paulo Henrique Ganso scored with a brilliant touch in the 83rd minute to give Sevilla a 1-0 win at Getafe.
The Brazilian midfielder neatly redirected the ball into the net after a low cross from the right, securing Sevilla its first league victory.
Sevilla was coming off a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Espanyol.
Getafe had opened with a 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Leganes defeated Espanyol 1-0 Sunday to continue its perfect start in the Spanish league.
Argentine defender Martin Mantovani scored in the first half to give Leganes the away victory.
It was the second straight win for Leganes, which made its first-division debut last season.
“It’s the type of game that is worth more than three points, it’s an incredible result,” Mantovani said. “We are off to a very good start. We worked very hard in the offseason for this. We can’t get too excited, but it gives us motivation to keep working.”
Mantovani said he forgot to honor his pregnant wife during the goal celebration, having promised her to put the ball under his shirt if he scored.
“She is going to kill me,” he said, smiling.
Athletic Bilbao improved from its opening draw at home by defeating Eibar 1-0 with a first-half goal by Aritz Aduriz.
The veteran striker scored with a close-range header at Eibar’s Ipurua Stadium.
Eibar opened with a 1-0 win at Malaga.
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