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Barca are favourites no more

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Atletico draw blank against Rayo

Rayo VallecanoRayo Vallecano
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Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid were held to a goalless stalemate in their Primera Division opener against local rivals Rayo Vallecano without their manager, who started an eight-match ban at Vallecas.

Atletico assistant coach German Burgos took charge in Simeone's absence, following the head coach's actions during Friday's Supercopa second leg against Real Madrid where he was sent off during the first half after aggressively remonstrating against a refereeing decision and then tapping the fourth official on the back of the head.

Unlike that Supercopa win, last season's beaten Champions League finalists failed to make their chances count and start the term in the second half of the table in 12th, one spot above their opponents.

Gabi came closest to opening the scoring for the visitors following a slow start but Abdoulaye Ba managed to block the Spaniard's long-range effort in the opening 15 minutes.

The home side came back with an effort of their own midway through the first half, but Alberto Bueno saw his 25-yard shot caught by Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Moya.

Mario Mandzukic twice tested Rayo stopper Cristian Alvarez in a matter of minutes as the away side pressed forward to break the deadlock to no avail before Koke's long-range chance sailed past Alvarez's right post as the opening half wore on.

The home side began the second half with a chance from Bueno early on, but his effort from the right of the penalty box went wide of the target.

Midfielder Koke came close with his 12-yard effort but he blasted the ball over the crossbar before Mario Suarez was the next Atletico player to have a go at the home goal, but his shot sailed wide, while Quini also missed the target as the home side came back with a chance of their own.

Miranda blocked Bueno's effort with 10 minutes to go and Manucho was unlucky not to break the deadlock for the hosts when Moya held out his close-range shot deep into the second half but neither side were able to get onto the scoresheet as they settled for a share of the spoils.

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