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Dull kick-off to the Mourinho era

sports Updated: Aug 31, 2010 00:53 IST
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Jose Mourinho's La Liga adventure got off to a limp start on Sunday when Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw at Real Mallorca while champions Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 win at Racing Santander.

While his new team were struggling to click in Mallorca, Pep Guardiola’s well-drilled outfit banged in three goals thanks to Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and David Villa.

Mourinho’s new signings Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Canales and Ricardo Carvalho all featured but despite a frantic finish Michael Laudrup’s Mallorca were worth their point.

“On a positive note we conceded very few chances and had no problems at the back. The negative point is the result. I’m disappointed that with the number of chances we created we didn’t score,” said Mourinho.

Barca had earlier thrown down the gauntlet, appearing unruffled by the contentious exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan.

Messi only needed four minutes to rip open the defence and score with a delightful lob.

Iniesta followed up with a volley from outside the area and new signing Villa headed his first league goal in a Barca shirt, after Victor Valdes had saved a penalty before the break.

Second division champions Real Sociedad celebrated their return to La Liga with a 1-0 win at home to Villarreal. Espanyol overcame Getafe 3-1 while the games between Deportivo and Real Zaragoza and Osasuna and Almeria ended 0-0.

Van Persie ruled out with ankle injury

London: Arsenal striker Robin van Persie will be out of action for several weeks after hurting his left ankle in Saturday’s Premier League match against at Blackburn. The Dutch Football Association says that he will miss its European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Finland because he is likely to be out of action for “at least a few weeks.”

Van Persie missed five months last season after injuring ankle ligaments in November while on international duty.

Ruud recalled to Netherlands side

Amsterdam: Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was recalled to the Netherlands squad on Monday for the first time in two years, the Dutch Football Association said. The 34-year-old Hamburg SV forward was called up for Euro 2012 qualifiers against San Marino and Finland.

Zaccheroni assumes charge in Japan

Tokyo: Former AC Milan and Juventus manager Alberto Zaccheroni has been named as Japan’s new coach, the country’s governing body announced on Monday. The Japanese Football Association (JFA) said the Italian had signed a two-year deal. The 57-year-old succeeds Takeshi Okada and is Japan’s sixth foreign coach.