Soccer season gets under way

The 2012-2013 soccer season has kicked off in most European nations - in Russia it was Matchday 5 today. Zenit lost their first points of the season with a draw at Anzhi Makhachkala while Spartak Moskva are one point behind with a win over Rubin Kazan in Moscow.

Fulham and Swansea sit on top of the English Premier League after 5-0 thrashings of Norwich and Queen's Park Rangers, both in London - home for Fulham and away for Swansea. Liverpool slumped to a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea won 2-0 against Wigan, Arsenal drew 0-0 with Sunderland and Manchester City opened the season with a 3-2 home win against Southampton. André Villas-Boas' Tottenham lost their opening match 2-1 away at Newcastle.

In Spain, Barcelona is the early leader with a 4-1 thumping of Real Sociedad, while Betis thrashed Athletic Club (Bilbao) 5-3 away. Real Madrid managed only a home draw 1-1 with Valencia.

In Russia, after 5 games Zenit St. Petersburg lead, dropping their first points of the season at Anzhi Makhachkala (1-1) while closest rivals Spartak Moskva, one point behind on 12, won 2-1 at home to Rubin kazan. Third-placed Lokomotiv beat Volga 2-0 away and equal third-placed Terek Grozny had an away win 2-1 at Dinamo Mosova, bottom with 5 defeats in as many games.

In France, four teams share the maximum 6 points after two games: Olimpique Lyonnais, Olympique de Marseille, SC Bastia and FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

Draws for FC Porto at Gil Vicente, Benfica at home to Braga and Sporting CP away to Vitória SC (Guimarães) saw Portugal's traditional big three cede the top spot to SC Olhanense (2-1 winners over Estoril) and Marítimo (Madeira) which won at Rio Ave 1-0.

In the Netherlands, FC Twente has 6 points from two games, followed by a pack on 4: Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, RKC Waalwijk, Vitesse and Feyenoord.


Aleksei Federov



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey