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La Liga opener: Real Madrid held by Gijon, Barcelona wins in Bilbao

Rafael Benitez's debut as Real Madrid boss was disappointing as his side were held 0-0 by newly-promoted Sporting Gijon on Sunday as defending champions Barcelona began their title defence with a 1-0 victory at Athletic Bilbao, thanks to Luis Suarez's solitary second-half strike.

Ronaldo
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) vies with Sporting Gijon's midfielder Nacho Cases. Photo: AFP

Sporting Gijon, playing their first game back in the top flight for three years, held firm against Real in front of their home fans and even came closes to breaking the deadlock, with Antonio Sanabria header crashing off the underside of the bar in the first half.

With this draw, the mighty Real Madrid already find themselves trailing rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona after the opening round of league fixtures.

Barcelona players celebrate their victory by 1-0 at the end of the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs FC Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao. Pic/AFP
Barcelona players celebrate their victory by 1-0 at the end of the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs FC Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao. Pic/AFP 

Earlier in the day, a spectacular volley by Luis Suarez helped Barcelona register a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames, in which Lionel Messi missed a first-half penalty.

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