FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, celebrates with his teammate Jordi Alba after scoring during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sept 9, 2017. (MANU FERNANDEZ / AP)
MADRID - FC Barcelona opened a four-point gap at the top of the Liga Santander over Real Madrid as they hammered local rivals, Espanyol 5-0, while Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by recently promoted Levante in the third round of matches over the season.
Leo Messi was again the hero in the Camp Nou as he scored a hat-trick in the Barcelona derby, with Barca's remaining goals scored by Gerard Pique and a fit-again Luis Suarez.
A good night for Barca was rounded off by club record signing Ousmane Dembele making his debut and setting up Suarez's goal, although fans still expressed their anger at club President Josep Maria Bartomeu by calling for him to resign and signing papers asking for a censure motion against him.
Real Sociedad are the only other side with a 100 percent record after the Basque side won 4-2 away to Deportivo la Coruna to go to the top of the table.
The Basques got off to a flying start and were 2-0 ahead after just four minutes after goals from Juanmi and Asier Illaramendi caught Deportivo half asleep and although the home side were able to fight back with goals from Adrian Lopez and Florin And one, late goals from Diego Llorente and a second strike from Illaramendi took the points back to San Sebastian.
There was not such good news in the Santiago Bernabeu where Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by newly promoted Levante in an early kick off on Saturday.
Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez, right, celebrates after scoring their side's first goal against Levante during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Sept 9, 2017. (FRANCISCO SECO / AP)
It is the second consecutive game that has seen Zinedine Zidane's side held to a draw in front of their fans and his side paid for a lack of sharpness in front of goal against a well-drilled rival.
Both the goals came in the first half with Ivi Lopez reacting well to put the visitors ahead following a long throw in the 12th minute, before Lucas Vazquez equalized 10 minutes from halftime.
Karmin Benzema then limped off with a knee injury which will keep him out of action for around six weeks and his replacement Gareth Bale missed three good chances to seal the win, before Madrid ended with 10 men after kicking out at Levante midfielder Lerma.
Valencia and Atletico Madrid drew a tactical game 0-0 after 90 minutes where the organization and work-rate of both sides meant chances were at a premium.
Sevilla upped the pace after the break in their game at home to Eibar to run out 3-0 winners with three second half goals scored by Ganso, Wassim Ben Yeder and Nolito to give them the perfect preparation for their visit to Anfield on Wednesday.
Athletic Club Bilbao moved into a privileged position into the table with a 2-0 win over a tough to beat Girona.
Aritz Aduriz scored his 150th goal for Athletic in the second half after Iker Muniain opened the scoring with a smart finish from an Inaki Williams cross in the 25th minute.
Meanwhile Celta Vigo defeated Alaves 1-0 thanks to another goal from Maxi Gomez to claim their first points of the season while leaving their rivals with three defeats from three games.
Villarreal also took their first points of the campaign thanks to a 3-1 win at home to Betis which came thanks to goals from Carlos Bacca, Samu Castellejo and Unai against a rival that had taken the lead with a goal from Sergio Leon.