Madrid:Javier Saviola scored his first goal in the Spanish first division for Real Madrid on Saturday to lead
the defending champion to a 3-1 win over promoted Almeria.
Wesley Sneijder and substitute Gonzalo Higuain added Madrid's other goals to seal coach Bernd
Schuster's third straight victory since joining the club from Getafe in July.
Almeria, which had Albert Crusat sent off in the 63rd minute, netted through Kalu Uche six
Madrid has nine points, three more than Valencia. Mallorca, FC Barcelona, Murcia and Valladolid
all follow with four.
Also, a late goal from David Silva gave Valencia a 2-1 win over another newcomer, Valladolid,
while Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 with Zaragoza.
Saviola, an offseason signing from Barcelona, was picked for his first league start this season to
replace Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was left on the bench with a view to Madrid's Champions
League match with Werder Bremen on Tuesday.
Saviola justified his inclusion when he gave Madrid a 37th-minute lead by striking home after
Almeria goalkeeper David Cobeno had pushed a low drive by captain Raul Gonzalez onto his left
Almeria appeared to level in the 55th minute but Uche's goal was disallowed for offside. TV
replays suggested it should have counted.
Saviola then contributed to the ejection of midfielder Crusat, who was judged to have tripped the
Argentine striker as he approached the goal.
Sneijder then doubled Madrid's lead with a curling shot which gave him his fourth goal since
joining Ajax in the close season. The Netherlands midfielder heads the league's scoring charts.
Uche reduced Madrid's lead in the 73rd when he evaded Fabio Cannavaro before steering the ball
past goalkeeper Iker Casillas with his right foot.
With Almeria threatening an equalizer despite its numerical disadvantage, Higuain lobbed the ball
over Cobeno for Madrid's third goal in the 88th.
Madrid forward Arjen Robben, who has been carrying a knee injury since his arrival from Chelsea
in August, was not included in the squad for the game.
However, Madrid's recent signing from Manchester United, defender Gabriel Heinze, made his
home league debut, although he was replaced at halftime by Royston Drenthe.
Valencia forward Silva fired home in the 88th minute to bring Valencia its second league win of the
season, three days before it visits Schalke on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Valencia fell behind in the 10th minute when Valladolid midfielder Daniel Kome took advantage of
goalkeeper Santiago Canizares' failure to catch a cross.
Fernando Morientes scored Valencia's equalizer in the 24th, pouncing after Angel Arizmendi's
long-range shot was parried by goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle, who joined Valladolid on loan from
Valencia in the offseason.
Bilbao and Zaragoza remain without victories this season after a stalemate at San Mames stadium.
Teen midfielder Markel Susaeta scored direct from a free kick for the home team in the 10th
minute, with Zaragoza striker Diego Milito angling a shot home for his first goal of the season
seven minutes later.
The game was briefly halted in the closing stages when Zaragoza goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez
complained of being hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd.
On Sunday, it's: Osasuna vs Barcelona; Sevilla vs. Recreativo Huelva; Murcia vs Atletico
Madrid; Racing Santander vs Levante; Mallorca vs. Villarreal; Deportivo La Coruna vs Real
Betis; and Espanyol vs Getafe.