MADRID (AP) Real Sociedad has become the early surprise in the Spanish league, starting with a perfect record to join Barcelona at the top of the standings.
Sociedad scored twice early and twice late to defeat Deportivo La Coruna 4-2 on Sunday, becoming the only team other than Barcelona with three victories.
Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao are two points off the lead, while defending champion Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid dropped four points back after being held to disappointing draws on Saturday.
“It’s very important to start with these three victories, especially these two away from home in very difficult stadiums to play in,” Sociedad coach Eusebio Sacristan said. “We are very happy but we know there is still a long way to go. We know every game will be difficult.”
Sociedad took an early lead in La Coruna with two goals in the first four minutes at the Riazor Stadium, and secured the victory with two more in the last 10 minutes after the hosts had equalized early in the second half.
“The match got complicated for us,” Sacristan said. “They started playing better but we were able to turn things around again. We regained control of the match and went for the victory. We were not content with only a draw after having the lead that we had.”
Juanmi Jimenez opened the scoring for Sociedad in the third minute and Asier Illarramendi added to the lead in the fourth. Deportivo evened the match with goals by Adrian Lopez in the 27th and Florin Andone in the 50th, but Sociedad secured the victory with a goal by Diego Llorente in the 83rd and another by Illarramendi in the 86th.
Sociedad, back-to-back Spanish champion in 1981-82, had opened the season with victories at Celta Vigo and against Villarreal.
It will face one of its toughest tests yet in the next round when it hosts titleholders Madrid at Anoeta Stadium.
Deportivo, which fought to avoid relegation last season, lost to Madrid in its opener before drawing at Levante in the second round.
On Saturday, Barcelona routed Espanyol 5-0 in the Catalan derby with a hat trick by Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou Stadium.
Madrid could not manage more than a 1-1 draw against Levante, being held to its second consecutive draw at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It had tied Valencia 2-2 last weekend.
Earlier Saturday, Atletico drew 0-0 with Valencia at Mestalla Stadium. Diego Simeone’s team has played three straight away games before being able to inaugurate its Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday against Malaga.
Leganes, in its second season in the first division, also had a chance to win three in a row this weekend, but it lost 2-1 to Getafe at home in Saturday’s southern Madrid derby.
Athletic Bilbao’s defense remained perfect and forwards Iker Muniain and Aritz Aduriz scored a goal in each half to give the hosts a 2-0 win over promoted Girona.
It was the second consecutive win for Athletic, which is yet to concede a goal this season.
Barcelona is the only other team not to have conceded after three rounds.
Celta Vigo defeated Alaves 1-0 to halt its two-game losing streak.
Maxi Gomez scored a first-half winner in Vigo. It was the third straight defeat for Alaves, which is yet to score a goal after three rounds.
Villarreal conceded early but recovered to defeat Real Betis 3-1 and earn its first victory.
Villarreal had lost its first two games and was yet to score a goal, while Real Betis has now lost two of its first three matches.