By CAITLIN MURRAY
A Stevan Jovetic brace lifted reigning Premier League champs Manchester City over Liverpool on Monday and put the league on notice as they coasted past last year’s title runners-up, 3-1.
Liverpool looked to be the better side until Jovetic broke through in the 41st minute by capitalizing on a defensive error and burying a goal. He returned 14 minutes later to double the lead.
Late substitute Sergio Aguero scored moments after coming on in the 69th minute. Manchester City conceded on an own goal when substitute Rickie Lambert’s header was knocked away and deflected in by defender Pablo Zabaleta.
Mario Balotelli was on-hand at Etihad Stadium to watch his former teammates thrash his new club — Manchester City is now two-for-two to start the season.
With Manuel Pellegrini’s side on a roll, Liverpool seemed lucky to escape without a more embarrassing result. Manchester City now sits atop the league at six points with Tottenham, Chelsea and Swansea.
Here’s a look at some other international items to wrap up your Monday:
ATLETICO, RAYO DRAW AS SIMEONE HANDED 8-GAME BAN
Primera Liga Champions Atletico Madrid opened their 2014/15 campaign with disappointing draw to Rayo Vallecano on Monday — but worse, they will have to find their footing without coach Diego Simeone for the next month.
Simeone was left watching Atletico from the stands Monday night on a suspension from last season that carried over — but a new eight-match suspension was handed down earlier in the day, meaning he will miss the next four Spanish league matches. The remaining four-match ban will apply to future Spanish Super Cups. The new suspension was doled out for his conduct at Friday’s Super Cup win over Real, which included tapping an assistant referee on the head.
Rayo was the better side for Monday’s match, holding the edge in possession and chances on goal, but Atletico’s defense held together well to split points for the draw.
PROMOTED CORDOBA FALLS TO REAL MADRID IN LA LIGA OPENER
Cordoba received quite the welcome to La Liga as Real Madrid handed the newly promoted side a harsh 2-0 loss on Monday.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema led the Champions League title-holders to victory, with Ronaldo’s 90th-minute strike ending the match on a high note. From at least 35 yards out, his right-footed strike dipped just as it reached goalkeeper Juan Carlos Martín Corral and bounced into the net.
In the 30th minute, Benzema opened scoring on a header to put Cordoba behind in their first La Liga appearance since 1972. Madrid dominated possession and landed eight shots on target to Cordoba’s one.