Sixteen-year-old Fabrice Olinga made history on Saturday when he became the youngest ever player to score in La Liga, grabbing the only goal as Malaga clinched a 1-0 victory at promoted RC Celta de Vigo.
The Cameroon-born forward came on as a 58th-minute substitute to make his league debut and got the 84th-minute winner as the new season got under way.
At only 16 years, 98 days, Olinga is 191 days younger than current Athletic Bilbao player Iker Muniain, who had held the previous record for youngest scorer.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini denied that the teenager’s debut was a message to the club’s owners, who have been criticized for selling some of their best players over the summer.
“The debut was no intentional message, young players like him, and Portillo and Juanmi, have to get experience and in no way does it prove we are lacking resources in the squad,” Pellegrini said.
Celta, back in La Liga after five seasons away, were the better side for much of the game, with former Chelsea player Quique de Lucas looking particularly dangerous. The veteran had the best chance of the first half when he hooked a Roberto Lagos cross just over the crossbar.
After the interval he went close on three occasions in quick succession. Willy Caballero, excellent all evening in goal for Malaga, blocked two shots in two minutes, before the striker unluckily struck the left-hand post after being played through by the industrious Iago Aspas.
Malaga played at half pace all evening, with one eye perhaps on their first ever Champions League match at home to Panathinaikos on Wednesday that will be key to qualification to the group stages of the competition.
Francisco Alarcon “Isco” was their best player and he saw a thunderous drive hit the crossbar on 77 minutes, before the teenage Olinga should have finished the rebound from close range, only to clumsily hit his shot wide.
That setback did not deter him, though, and with seven minutes remaining he broke through the home defense and hit a shot onto the post. Malaga retained possession and the ball broke to another substitute, Diego Buonanotte, who twisted and turned on the left side of the area, before producing a cross that Olinga turned home with his knee to make La Liga history.
Federico Fazio and Alvaro Negredo grabbed first-half goals for Sevilla in a 2-1 home win over Getafe.
Former Sevilla defender Alexis Ruano pulled one back for the club from the outskirts of Madrid, but the hosts were stronger and deserved the points on a baking hot night in the southern city.
Spain international Jesus Navas had the first chance of the game for the hosts, sliding on to a cross amidst a sleepy defense on four minutes, only to see his effort go narrowly wide.
Miku had a shot saved by Diego Lopez at the other end, but the home side were in control and it was no surprise when they went ahead on 34 minutes. Centerhalf Fazio gratefully headed home an Ivan Rakitic cross that Getafe goalkeeper Carlos Moya was slow to deal with.
Four minutes later that lead was doubled, but controversy surrounded the goal when it appeared that former Arsenal winger Jose Antonio Reyes had dived to earn the penalty that Negredo converted.
Getafe came out with more purpose in the second half and Alexis halved the deficit, heading home a corner on 50 minutes.
In the late game, kicking off at an unprecedented 11pm, Israeli forward Tomer Hemed scored twice to help RCD Mallorca beat RCD Espanyol 2-1.