No place like home for Mourinho
Jose Mourinho enjoyed a winning home debut as Real Madrid got their Primera Division campaign up and running with a narrow victory over Osasuna this evening.
Centre-back Ricardo Carvalho netted the only goal of the game just after half-time to give Madrid the spoils in a match they dominated but struggled to finish off a battling Osasuna side.
The result lifts Madrid onto four points after Mourinho, who has not lost a home match in eight years during his time at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, saw his side held goalless at Real Mallorca in their season-opener a fortnight ago.
It also lifts them one point above arch-rivals Barcelona, who suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat to promoted Hercules earlier this evening.
The Madrid fans cheered that result when it came up on the Bernabeu scoreboard at the start of tonight's game, but those same supporters seemed far less impressed 45 minutes later by the disappointing fare offered in the first half by their new-look side.
Osasuna goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez had just one proper save to make in the opening period when he deflected away Cristiano Ronaldo's first-time shot in the 22nd minute following good work by Mesut Ozil.
Ozil was one of Madrid's liveliest players on his home debut, and he was also involved in his side's next-best opportunity in the 39th minute. A misjudgment by Damia Abella allowed Ozil to break free on the left and he immediately threaded the ball into the middle for Gonzalo Higuain.
Higuain scored from a similar situation in Argentina's 4-1 friendly win over world champions Spain in midweek after rounding Jose Reina and sliding home from an acute angle. However, this time he could only find the side-netting from a tight position after skipping past Ricardo.
There were signs of discontent in the Bernabeu crowd as the players left at half-time, but they were cheering just three minutes into the second half as Madrid took the lead.
Three of Madrid's summer signings were involved as the Whites launched a clinical breakaway to score just moments after finding themselves defending a free-kick in a dangerous position.
Sami Khedira gained possession after Osasuna had failed to make the most of their dead-ball opportunity and he sent German team-mate Ozil scampering down the wing.
Ozil then picked out Ronaldo inside the area, and although his first-time effort was blocked by Ricardo, the winger managed to poke the loose ball to Carvalho, who slotted in his first competitive goal for the club.
Higuain had a great chance to make it 2-0 in the 63rd minute after being put clear by Ronaldo, but Ricardo did well to stick out a left hand and deflect the striker's shot behind for a corner.
A minute later Ozil also had a one-on-one with Ricardo after another Ronaldo through ball, but the 21-year-old's scoop over the Osasuna custodian landed just wide of the far post.
Higuain and Ronaldo were both denied by fine saves from Ricardo in the closing stages as Madrid continued to search for a second goal to finish the game off.
Madrid were unable to net again but they were having few problems dealing with Osasuna at the other end and were ultimately able to record a comfortable, if not goal-laden, home victory.
Elsewhere, Valencia moved to the top of the table on a maximum six points following a 1-0 win over Racing Santander at the Mestalla Stadium.
Dutch defender Hedwiges Maduro headed the winner on 47 minutes as Valencia replaced Atletico Madrid at the summit.