Majestic Madrid hit five against hapless Villareal
MADRID, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Wesley Sneijder steered champions Real Madrid to a thumping 5-0 victory away to Villarreal that left them top of the Primera Liga on Sunday.
The Dutch midfielder scored two and set up another for Raul in an imperious display at the Madrigal.
His compatriot Ruud van Nistelrooy and Guti scored the others, ending a nine-match winning streak for Villarreal that stretched back to April.
Real are clear at the top with six points after two games, two points ahead of archrivals Barcelona, who were set on their way to a 3-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao by a double strike from Ronaldinho.
Valencia recovered from their heavy opening day defeat by Villarreal to scramble a 2-1 win at promoted Almeria.
Real Betis scored two late goals to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to Espanyol, and Manu del Moral earned 10-man Getafe a 1-1 home draw against Recreativo Huelva with a stoppage-time header.
Valladolid drew 2-2 with Deportivo and Atleico Madrid and Mallorca played out a 1-1 draw.
Sevilla's game away to Osasuna has been postponed as they face AEK Athens in their rearranged Champions League third qualifying round, second leg in Greece on Monday.
The change in fixtures was caused by the death of Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta last Tuesday. A minute's silence was held at the start of all Sunday evening's games.
Sneijder floated a long pass in for Raul to open the scoring against Villarreal just before the break, and then curled a free kick over the wall and in off the post in the 48th.
Villarreal were no match for Real's swift counter-attacks and conceded a third two minutes later when Sergio Ramos's cross found Van Nistelrooy, who was able to pick his spot.
Guti squared for Sneijder to fire in a low shot with the outside of his right foot in the 73rd minute and then curled one in himself with 10 minutes remaining.
With Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o sidelined due to a thigh injury, France striker Thierry Henry had a place in Barca's starting line up at the Nou Camp, but it was a familiar figure who opened the scoring.
The game was only eight minutes old when Ronaldinho drilled a free-kick into the top corner.
It was a monologue of Barca possession until Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz tripped Henry as he raced into the area onto a return pass from Ronaldinho in the 35th minute.
Barca's top scorer from last season slotted home the penalty and it was only Iraizoz's knees that denied Ronaldinho a hat-trick before break.
Henry hit the post after the restart but Bilbao struck back when Victor Valdes' punch from a free kick was volleyed into the empty net by Susaeta in the 70th minute.
Ivory Coast midfielder Toure made it 3-1 two minutes later when his rising shot from the edge of the area hit the crossbar, bounced down and out, and was signalled as a goal by the linesman amidst strong protests from the visitors.
Television replays showed the ball bounce on the line.
Red cards were handed out in the closing stages to Barca defender Rafael Marquez and Bilbao defender Koikili.