Barcelona maintained its winning start to the season with a fine strike from Adriano Correia giving them a 1-0 victory over Valencia in the Spanish League on Sunday.
The Catalan side may have lost the domestic Super Cup to Real Madrid in midweek but it has now picked up maximum points from its first three league games that keep it on top of the table.
It also maintained its five-point lead over defending champion Real Madrid, which earlier beat Granada 3-0, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a brace to reach a landmark 150 goals in 149 games for the club.
Barcelona full-back Adriano’s drive from outside the area after 23 minutes was the only goal of the game at the Nou Camp against a Valencia side which battled hard but spent most of the game defending deeply.
Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song made his first start in a Barca shirt with Sergio Busquets rested and played alongside Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas who returned to the starting line-up.
Roberto Soldado went within inches of giving Valencia the lead after 11 minutes with a 25-yard strike which whistled past the post.
Lionel Messi had a header saved by keeper Diego Alves after 18 minutes but the Valencia shot-stopper could do nothing about Adriano's sweetly struck drive minutes later.
Earlier in the evening, Cristiano Ronaldo hit a brace to help Real Madrid get its league campaign back against 10-man Granada.
Despite its cup win the pressure was starting to grow on the team with just a point from its opening two league games but Ronaldo responded with a goal in either half to continue his remarkable scoring run in Madrid.
The first owed as much to poor keeping from Antonio ‘Tono’ Rodriguez as the Portuguese’s shot from a tight angle after 25 minutes went through his legs, although it did take a slight deflection off Inigo Lopez.
Ronaldo got his second after 53 minutes and Granada’s hopes of a comeback took a blow with Borja Gomez sent off six minutes later. Substitute Gonzalo Higuain completed the scoring with a tap-in 15 minutes from the end.
Ronaldo had looked sluggish in his first two league games and he failed to trouble the ‘keeper with a free-kick and a couple of shots from distance before he did break the deadlock with a soft goal from Granada's perspective.
The visitor had shown nothing going forward and was now forced to come out of its shell but it was Ronaldo who could have added a second before the break with a drive which Tono was alert to.
Angel di Maria came on after half time and he set up Ronaldo, who saw his shot from inside the box saved by Tono before reacting to knock home the rebound.
Gomez was given his second yellow card for a foul on Ronaldo and then Higuain sealed the win from a Benzema pass.
Earlier, Rayo Vallecano drew 0-0 with Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao overcame Valladolid 2-0, while Levante dramatically came from behind to beat Espanyol 3-2, with defender Raul Rodriguez deflecting the ball into his own net in time added on to decide the game in the home side’s favour.
Juventus on top
Meanwhile, champion Juventus underlined its Italian League title credentials by going top as Inter Milan was humbled 3-1 by a Francesco Totti-inspired Roma at the San Siro on Sunday.
In Sunday’s earlier match Juventus produced a commanding performance in a 4-1 win away to 10-man Udinese which included a brace from Sebastien Giovinco and gave it two wins from two.
Spanish League: Athletic Bilbao 2 (Aduriz 69, Susaeta 75) bt Valladolid 0; Barcelona 1 (Adriano 23) bt Valencia 0; Levante 3 (Juanlu G. 54, Lell 56, Rodriguez 90+3-og) bt Espanyol 2 (Longo 21, Tejera 25); Rayo Vallecano 0 drew with Sevilla 0; Real Madrid 3 (Cristiano Ronaldo 26, 54, Higuain 76) bt Granada 0.
Italian League: Cagliari 1 (Ekdahl 90+1) drew with Atalanta 1 (Denis 81); Catania 3 (Bergessio 66, 68, Lodi 84) bt Genoa 2 (Kucka 26, Jankovic 82); Inter Milan 1 (Cassano 45+1) lost to AS Roma 3 (Florenzi 15, Osvaldo 67, Marquinho 81); Lazio 3 (Klose 40, 82, Candreva 56) bt Palermo 0; Napoli 2 (Borja Valero 55-og, Dzemaili 75) bt Fiorentina 1 (Jovetic 87); Parma 2 (Belfodil 32, Rosi 86) bt Chievo 0; Sampdoria 2 (Maxi Lopez 45, Gastaldello 68) bt Siena 1 (Vergassola 62); Udinese 1 (Lazzari 78) lost to Juventus 4 (Vidal 14, Vucinic 45+1, Giovinco 53, 71).