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The Spanish season started with a bang as Los Merengues took on Miguel Angel Lotina's troops...

Real Madrid 3-2 Deportivo La Coruna - Lineups/Stats
La Liga Fixtures, Results

Real Madrid began their assault on the Primera Division title with a confident attacking performance against Deportivo La Coruna. A flurry of goals midway through the first half saw Manuel Pellegrini's side take the lead at the break. While the home side's dominance was not reflected in the scoreline, the old defensive flaws were still evident in addition to a number of mistakes associated with a newly assmbled side.

Los Blancos' big guns were out in force in the Santiago Bernabeu, as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso all started. Deportivo icon Juan Carlos Valeron took to the pitch for the visitors, while Brazilian midfielder Juca made his debut after signing from Partizan Belgrade.

Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, took to the pitch before kick off as Florentino Perez grinned like a Cheshire cat in the stands amid all the applause, but it was soon down to business for the world's most expensively assmbled side.

Real came flying out of the blocks - it took less than a minute for Lassana Diarra to split open the visitors' defence, but Kaka could only drag his shot wide.

Diarra was spreading the ball around the pitch with consummate ease, but Depor's defence were closing down the space ahead of the strikers well. After a strong opening from the hosts, los Blanquiazules began to create some attacking opportunities of their own but were profligate with their set pieces.

Real Madrid were the more adventurous side in the early stages and after Raul's shot from the edge of the area had been blocked, Kaka fired a shot just wide of Daniel Aranzubia's left hand post. The visitors were holding a tight line, but it was pierced after 26 minutes.

Kaka's through ball slipped through Juan Rodriguez's legs and found Karim Benzema, whose shot came back off the near post. With Aranzubia stranded, Raul had the easiest of tasks to tap the ball home.

The lead should have been doubled minutes later by Cristiano Ronaldo, but he could not direct his header on target from Xabi Alonso's free kick.

Real were made to pay for the missed opportunity, as Deportivo equalised in the 30th minute. Juca sent a deep cross in, and Riki was allowed a free header by los Blancos' defence and powered it into the corner.

Parity only lasted five minutes, as another clinical pass by Diarra slid Raul through, but 32-year-old was felled by Aranzubia and the referee pointed to the spot. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to the plate, and successfully dispatched the penalty low to the keeper's right.

Deportivo were now at sixes and sevens at the back, as firstly Raul could only shoot straight at Aranzubia before Garay had an excellent chance from a corner. The visitors arrived at half time with the deficit only at one, and coach Lotina had work to do at the interval.


Spot on - Ronaldo converts his penalty

Real Madrid's minds were clearly still in the dressing room as the second period began, as barely a minute had passed before Deportivo were level for a second time.

Juan Carlos Valeron received the ball on the edge of the area with no white shirts in sight, and after controlling the ball with his first touch he fired it into the bottom right corner with his second.

The veteran should then have put the visitors in front! Andres Guardado whipped a dangerous ball in the 57th minute, but the totally unmarked Valeron could only side-foot wide from six yards out.

On the hour mark, los Blancos were ahead for a third time through a stunning strike. Lassana Diarra skipped round Juca, and from 20 yards the Frenchman was allowed to fire the ball into the corner of the net.

It was almost four for Manuel Pellegrini's men moments later! Aranzubia spilled a simple shot from Xabi Alonso, but Benzema couldn't finish from a matter of yards.

Lotina attempted to change things around by replacing Pablo Alvarez with Angel Lafita, but the hosts continued to dictate the game. Kaka, feeling somewhat outdone by his team-mates, tried a number of shots from range but never really tested the shaky Aranzubia before his substitution.

While the hosts sat back a little more as los Blanquiazules attempted to find a third equaliser, Ronaldo remained a real threat on the counter-attack for los Blancos. Higuain threw himself to the ground in an awful attempt to win a penalty as the game ticked into injury time, but Real saw out the game to pick up three points from their opening fixture.

Anthony Wright, Goal.com

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