The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Messi scores twice to start Barcelona's campaign in Spain, Man United still struggling
LONDON - Lionel Messi and Barcelona are already up and running at full speed in the Spanish league. Louis Van Gaal's Manchester United is still stumbling out of the blocks in the Premier League.
Messi scored two goals in a comfortable win over Elche, and United is still looking for its first victory of the season after being held to a draw by Sunderland.
Here is a look at the action from Europe's top leagues on Sunday:
Messi helped 10-man Barcelona start the Spanish league with a 3-0 win over Elche in the debut of coach Luis Enrique, with the Argentina star looking eager to put last season's disappointments behind him.
Messi used a burst of speed to dribble free of a pack of opponents before slotting in Barcelona's first goal in the 41st. Barcelona then lost Javier Mascherano to a direct red card when he fouled Elche's Garry Rodrigues with only goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to beat.
But 18-year-old Munir El Haddadi, starting for the injured Neymar, scored seconds after halftime before Messi got his second goal in the 63rd after again sidestepping a group of defenders.
Elsewhere, promoted Eibar beat Real Sociedad 1-0 for a winning debut in the first division, and Celta Vigo beat Getafe 3-1.
The World Cup memories are fading fast for Louis van Gaal as the size of the rebuilding job at Manchester United hits home.
A week after losing its season opener, United was held to a 1-1 draw at Sunderland, leaving the former Netherlands coach still searching for his first win in the Premier League. Juan Mata gave United the lead in northeast England, but former Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell had a tying header for Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino's reign at Tottenham has begun with consecutive league wins after his team overwhelmed Queens Park Rangers with a stylish 4-0 rout.
In the day's other game, Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross equalized in the 84th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw against 10-man Hull.
Radamel Falcao scored in his first start of the season to give Monaco a 1-0 win over Nantes in the French league. It was the team's first victory of the season under new coach Leonardo Jardim.
Monaco overcame a lacklustre performance, with Falcao heading home a cross from Layvin Kurzawa on the stroke of halftime.
The Colombia striker missed the second half of last season and the World Cup with a knee injury and seemed to be struggling as Monaco — last season's runner-up — opened its campaign with two losses.
Elsewhere, promoted Lens stunned Lyon 1-0 for its first win of the season, and Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil stopped a penalty in a 0-0 draw with Saint-Etienne, which trails leader Bordeaux by two points after the first three games.
Mainz earned a 2-2 draw at promoted Paderborn with an injury-time penalty, denying the home side a victory in its first Bundesliga game.
Koo Ja-cheol converted the spot kick in the 94th minute after Uwe Huenemeier brought down Shinji Okazaki.
Okazaki opened the scoring in the 34th minute, when he got to the rebound after Johannes Geis' free kick struck the left post.
Elias Kachunga equalized with his — and Paderborn's — first Bundesliga goal three minutes later, jumping on a wayward back pass from Geis and firing past Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius. Huenemeier thought he had secured the win when he headed past Karius in the 87th, only for Paderborn to concede the penalty minutes later.
Also, Christoph Kramer's last-minute equalizer secured Borussia Moenchengladbach a 1-1 draw with visiting Stuttgart in the late game.
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