MADRID: Real Madrid got back to winning ways by beating Las Palmas 2-0 on Wednesday while Girona are top of the Spanish league after their sixth straight victory.
Brahim Díaz and Joselu scored for Madrid, who were coming off a 3-1 loss at city rivals Atletico Madrid after opening the season with five straight league victories.
The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium moved Madrid to second place, one point behind Girona, which came from behind to win 2-1 at Villarreal.
Girona, who are enjoying their best-ever start to the league with six wins and a draw in seven games, host Madrid on Saturday.
“It’s not easy to win six in a row in the first division,” Girona coach Michel said. “We have to enjoy this moment. The game against Madrid will be precious, against one of the best teams in the world.”
Girona are two points ahead of fellow Catalan club Barcelona, the defending champions that had their five-game winning streak halted by a 2-2 draw at Mallorca on Tuesday.
Madrid were in control from the start at the Bernabeu and missed chance after chance until Díaz finally opened the scoring with a high shot from near the penalty spot three minutes into first-half stoppage time.
The hosts had 18 attempts in the first half alone, with eight of them on target. Las Palmas had no shots on target until after halftime.
Newly arrived striker Joselu grew increasingly frustrated after failing to capitalize on several good scoring opportunities until finally finding the net with a header in the 54th.
Díaz started in place of new signing Jude Bellingham. The 20-year-old England midfielder started on the bench for the first time this season after scoring six goals in his first seven matches with Madrid in all competitions.
Forward Vinícius Junior, returning from injury, also started on the bench. He replaced Joselu early in the second half.
“The players are well aware how important it is to rotate,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “I try to manage the squad and we have to do that the best we can in the coming games. That will be the case until the next international break because fatigue does play a big part and there are lots of injuries in this period.”
Madrid endured yet another injury setback when defender David Alaba was substituted in the first half because of an apparent muscle problem. The club has been playing without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Éder Militão because of long-term knee injuries.
It was the fourth loss for promoted Las Palmas, who beat Granada in the previous round for their first win of the season.
GIRONA KEEPS WINNING
Girona rallied to beat Villarreal and extend their stunning start to the season.
Dani Parejo put the hosts ahead by converting a 49th-minute penalty kick, but Artem Dovbyk and Eric García gave Girona the lead with goals in the 56th and 61st minutes.
Girona, controlled by City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City, opened the season with a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad.
Villarreal are winless in three matches in all competitions.
Fourth-place Athletic Bilbao drew 2-2 against Getafe at home, while Cadiz and Rayo Vallecano finished 0-0.
Valencia lost 1-0 to visiting Real Sociedad.