La Liga review

Soldado shines to sink Santander

August 27, 2011

Roberto Soldado struck twice in the final three minutes at the Mestalla to complete his hat-trick and give Valencia a dramatic 4-3 victory over Racing Santander in their Primera Division opener.

Roberto Soldado got off to a flier with a match-winning hat-trick for Valencia
PA PhotosRoberto Soldado got off to a flier with a match-winning hat-trick for Valencia

Soldado had put Los Che ahead in the first minute, but he put through his own net to level things up six minutes later and Lautaro Acosta added a second goal for Racing in the 14th minute.

Adrian Gonzalez made it 3-1 to the visitors 10 minutes after the break, but Adil Rami reduced the deficit almost immediately and then Soldado's late brace settled the topsy-turvy encounter in the hosts' favour.

Earlier on Saturday, Real Sociedad won the first game of the new season 2-1 with an impressive performance at Sporting Gijon.

Imanol Agirretxe scored with neat headed finishes either side of the break to give the Basque side a 2-0 lead, but Sporting replied almost immediately through Miguel De Las Cuevas' penalty.

Sociedad had Carlos Martinez sent off in conceding the spot-kick and came under severe pressure in the last quarter, but held out for the three points.

In the late kick-off, an 88th-minute header from Ruben Castro earned promoted Real Betis a 1-0 win at fellow top-flight new boys Granada after substitute Jonathan Pereira had capitalised on a mistake by defender Manuel Lucena.