Teenager Fati lights up Barca, Benzema brilliance inspires Real
Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old starlet from Guinea Bissau, scored his second goal of the season as Barcelona breezed to a 5-2 win against Valencia on Saturday.
Karim Benzema netted twice for Real Madrid as they fought off a late comeback to beat Levante 3-2 as Eden Hazard made his La Liga debut.
Atletico Madrid retained their place at the top of the table, but only by one point from Real Madrid after their first defeat of the season when they lost 2-0 at Real Sociedad at the Basque club's newly refurbished stadium.
With Lionel Messi still out and watching from the stands at the Camp Nou it was left to Fati take the plaudits.
Fati, who became the third youngest scorer in La Liga history when he came off the bench to net in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna this month, scored in the second minute, before providing the assist for Frenkie de Jong's seventh minute goal.
The teenager got a standing ovation when he came off after an hour.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde marvelled at Fati's composure.
"It's not usual that on his first touch he scores, and on his second he sets up a goal," he said.
"To get used to being a Barca player is work for anyone, even more so for a boy so young, but he's a balanced kid, he strikes me as being at ease."
Kevin Gameiro got Valencia off the mark but a brace from the fit-again Luis Suarez meant Max Gomez's injury time second for the visitors was purely academic.
The defeat left Valencia with just four points from four matches, leaving new coach Albert Celades -- a former Real Madrid assistant coach -- with a huge amount of work to do before the club play their first Champions League group game against Chelsea on Tuesday.
- Real show frailties -
At a rain-drenched Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema's goals came just six minutes apart in the first half before Casemiro put Real 3-0 up.
However Levante, who had won their previous two outings, made a fight of it in the second half as they pulled goals back through Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Melero.
"The second half was more difficult for us, but the overall feeling was positive," said coach Zinedine Zidane, whose team had drawn their previous two games.
"We have got the three points and we were incredible in the first half, the way we played, the goals, the commitment. We just need to stay focused for the full 90 minutes."
Hazard also came off the bench for the final half-hour to make his first La Liga appearance after a thigh injury had interrupted the start of his Real career following his 100 million-euro ($110 million) move from Chelsea.
The Belgian could now start when Real go to Paris Saint-Germain for their opening Champions League game on Wednesday.
"I am happy for him," said Zidane. "He will do us good. He is not ready yet though -- he has only trained four times with the team. But when everyone is fit, when we have our rhythm, we will hurt teams."
Gareth Bale will also be available to face PSG after suspension kept him out on Saturday, but Sergio Ramos will be unable to play because of a European ban.
Real would have won by a greater margin here had it not been for some inspired goalkeeping from Aitor Fernandez, who produced a stunning one-handed stop to keep out a Benzema shot midway through the first half.
© 2019 AFP