MADRID (AFP) - A terrific strike from Pedro Rodriguez helped Barcelona equal their best ever start to a league season with a nervy 1-0 home victory over Almeria on Saturday.
Barcelona's sixth successive win, matching a club record set in 1991 and 1998, also sees the defending champions replace Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga.
Pedro, the latest Barcelona youth player to make the breakthrough, turned sharply before rifling home an unstoppable 31st minute shot to follow up his goal against Dinamo Kiev in midweek.
"It is always nice to score and win, however, the coach won?t be happy because we misplaced a lot of passes in our build-up play and didn?t create as many chances as in other games," said Pedro.
It was a special day for Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, 31, who celebrated a decade at the club having made his league debut against Valladolid back on October 2, 1999.
Coach Pep Guardiola handed Andres Iniesta his first league start this season and the Spanish international found Lionel Messi with a fine pass after 10 minutes but the Argentine's shot did not have enough curl to creep into the net.
Almeria were breaking the game up with a string of fouls and referee Velasco Carballo was jeered by the home fans for failing to dish out yellow cards to the perpetrators.
With 31 minutes gone Pedro scored a goal from nowhere receiving a pass with his left foot before turning swiftly and unleashing a fierce curling shot into the corner with his right foot.
It was a superb strike from the 22-year-old and the home fans sung his name to show their appreciation.
Almeria coach Hugo Sanchez was an exciting striker for Real Madrid but his side packed men behind the ball in the second half as if they were the ones defending a 1-0 lead.
"It is a real shame that teams just come here to shut up shop and stop us playing but we will have to get used to it," said Barcelona midfielder Xavi.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, celebrating his 28th birthday, almost continued his record of scoring in every Barcelona league game but his 80th-minute drive was saved by Diego Alves to deny him a sixth goal of the season.
Atletico Madrid finally won their first league game of the campaign defeating Real Zaragoza 2-1 at home to lift the pressure on coach Abel Resino.
Midfielder Jose Jurado, back at the club after a season on loan at Real Mallorca, gave Atletico the lead after just two minutes.
But the capital side were indebted to 18-year-old goalkeeper David de Gea for saving a 20th minute penalty from Jorge Lopez.
Injuries forced Resino to hand a league debut to third choice de Gea and he came up trumps with his penalty save which proved crucial as Antonio Lopez (65 min) doubled Atletico's lead before Brazilian Ewerthon pulled one back with another Zaragoza penalty.
Atletico climb to 13th and will hope to build on this success as they target the top four.
Real Madrid are not in action until Sunday when they have a top-of-the-table clash at third-placed Sevilla.
Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, Real's top-scorer in the league with five goals, has been ruled out after failing to shrug off an ankle injury picked up against Marseille on Wednesday.
"We aren't denying the importance of Cristiano to our team with his goal threat well known but there are alternatives in this squad such as Raul or (Gonzalo) Higuain," insisted Real coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Sevilla have won their last four league matches while Real have won all seven of their matches so far this season - five in the league and two in Europe.
Deportivo La Coruna continued their impressive start to the new campaign by climbing up to fourth with a 1-0 win at Tenerife.
Tenerife had a 100 percent home record following wins over Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna but Deportivo ended that run thanks to a goal from defender Diego Colotto on the hour mark.
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