(CNN) -- Champions League hopefuls Sevilla suffered a disastrous start to the Spanish season as striker Fredi Kanoute was sent off in the 2-0 defeat at Valencia on Sunday.
Fredi Kanoute holds off Valencia defender Carlos Marchena during Sevilla's 2-0 defeat.
The Mali international's departure in time added on at the end of the first half for a second yellow card proved to be the turning point of the match.
Kanoute had already been booked for catching Bruno with a stray elbow, then received his marching orders after raising his studs in a challenge on Carlos Marchena.
Sevilla, who qualified for the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in La Liga last season, then went behind within two minutes of the restart against a side who ended last season in sixth position.
Mata lashed the ball home with a deflected shot from the edge of the area after taking the ball from teammate Ever Banega, who started the match despite being wanted by English club Everton, who have sought a work permit for him.
Midfielder Banega, who spent last season on loan with Atletico Madrid, was also involved in the second goal in the 80th minute.
He found Pablo Hernandez in space on the right, and the midfielder showed great skill to sidefoot the ball first time over the goalkeeper despite it bobbling around on the shockingly cut up pitch at the Mestalla.
It was a morale-boosting win for cash-strapped Valencia, who have also progressed into the group stages of UEFA's second-tier Europa League and have managed to keep Spain striker David Villa despite speculation that he would join Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Villa made little impact, and saw his best chance saved by goalkeeper Andres Palop in the first half.
Injury-hit Sevilla, who were missing star striker Luis Fabiano, handed second-half debuts to new signings Alvaro Negredo and Didier Zokora.
Striker Gaizka Toquero scored the only goal with 12 minutes to go as he beat his marker Javi Chica and fired past exposed goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, who had made several fine saves.
Atletico Madrid, who finished fourth last season, crashed 3-0 away to Malaga in a complete reversal of the result from when the two sides met 12 months ago.
Malaga, who lost that match 4-0, ahead in the 34th minute with an acrobatic overhead kick from Nabil Baha, while Manu and Xavi Torres scored in the second half.
Manu pounced in the 63rd minute after Albert Luque's header was only parried by Atletico's new goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, and Torres sealed victory in the 89th minute with a header from Selim Benachour's corner
Getafe made a flying start with a 4-1 win away to Racing Santander, with Roberto Soldado netting a hat-trick and having another effort cleared off the line.
Villarreal, who finished fifth last season, were held 1-1 away to Osasuna.
Jerez suffered a 2-0 defeat at Real Mallorca in the club's historic first outing in Spain's top flight, while Almeria were held 0-0 by Valladolid despite the visitors having Brazilian defender Nivaldo sent off after just 13 minutes.
Defending champions Barcelona host Sporting Gijon on Monday night.