First division - day 5
The Gallician derby between the league's top two teams Deportivo and Celta ended with a 2-2 draw. It was a passionate game with hard tackles from both sides, and Depor's Manuel Pablo was rushed to hospital with a broken leg after a tackle from Giovanella in the second half. Berizzo headed the visitors in to the lead in the first half and Edú made it two halfway through the second half. However for the second time in four days Depor came from behind with two late goals, with Juanfran putting through his own net from Fran's free kick and Pandiani making it all square from the penalty spot.
The result means that newly promoted Betis are the new leaders of the first division on goal average after their fourth victory in a row, this time by 1-0 against Las Palmas. It took a Schurrer own goal just after half time to break down the Canary Islanders though, who put up a good fight throughout the match. In fact the lead at the top of the division changed hands four times during the weekend, but in the end Betis take the honours for the first time since day three of the 1996/7 season. Celta drop down to third and Deportivo drop out of the Champions League places to fifth, although two points only separate the top six teams at this early stage.
Villarreal go second after they too won by a single goal, away at Mallorca. Palermo scored the only goal in the first half after good work by Jorge López, and Amor and Gracia could have extended the lead in the second half with shots against the post. Mallorca's Eto'o got himself sent off at the end of the first half for insulting a linesman, and although Marcos got the ball in the net at the end, it was ruled out as the midfielder had handled earlier. The presence in the Champions League is taking it's toll of the Balearic side, and they drop in to the relegation zone on goal average having yet to win a game at home.
Valencia were held to a 0-0 draw by their bogey team Alavés, who had won in their last two visits to the Mestalla stadium. Rafa Benítez put out the same side who drew at Bilbao last week, but this time they were unable to score as Mané (returning to Valencia for the first time since he turned down the manager's job) put out a defensive side. It was a hard fought match, with eleven yellow cards, and Valencia's Carboni got his marching orders right at the end. Both teams drop down the table to seventh and eight respectively.
In fact the weekend produced very few goals in both the first and second divisions, with only 20 goals in the ten games at the top flight. Tenerife and Zaragoza also drew 0-0, and the Canary Island side were once again unable to score against a team who ended with nine men, Paco and Juanele getting sent off for second bookable offences near the end. It was a particular blow for Juanele, an ex-Tenerife player. He was only playing as the appeals committee cancelled a two match ban after he was sent off last week.
Osasuna recorded their second victory in a row, defeating Sevilla 1-0 in the El Sadar stadium. The only goal of the game came from substitute John Aloisi who headed home Rivero's cross only minutes after coming on in the second half. Unzué produced a splendid performance in the Osasuna goal against his old side, and Sevilla's Olivera missed a sitter in the last minute which would have saved them a point. (30.09.01)
Barcelona took over at the top of the table for twenty four hours at least after beating Real Sociedad 0-2 in the Anoeta stadium. The Catalans dominated in the first half and took the lead when Kluivert headed home Geovanni's cross on the half hour mark. Things changed at half time though and the San Sebastian side came out strongly, hitting the bar twice and seeing two penalty appeals turned down. However Real Sociedad's captain Loren got himself sent off for a second bookable offence, and with ten minutes to go Xavi extended Barcelona's lead with a free kick into the top corner of the net.
Real Madrid's recent run of form came to an end with a disappointing 2-2 draw against a Valladolid side which included several of their of ex players. Madrid started well when Zidane headed home Figo's cross in the fifth minute, but the visitors equalised through Fernando Sales a minute later with the home side defence standing still as a whistle appeared to sound in the crowd. Raúl re-established the lead with his third goal in four days, but Valladolid held on and substitute Cuauhtémoc Blanco made it all square with a free kick at the end of the game.
Problems at Rayo Vallecano after they lost 3-1 to Espanyol in Barcelona. The weekend began with manager Andoni Goikoetxea and goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui almost coming to blows at the airport, and Goiko left Hernández and Cembranos back in Madrid after complaining that an anonymous player had accused him in the press of amateurish methods. Things got worse as Palencia, Velamazán and De Lucas all scored to give Espanyol a much needed victory, and even Rayo's goal came from an Espanyol player, Lopo turning Michel's free kick into his own net when the home side were two up. Goiko is tipped to be the first manager to lose his job this season.
Athletic Bilbao recorded their third away win in a row at Málaga to move up into the Champions League places pending Sunday's games. Málaga were unlucky when the referee disallowed a Dely Valdés goal for a non existent offside early on, and only a few minutes later Julen Guerrero opened the scoring, combining with Etxeberria in a lightening quick breakaway. The home side tried their best but with ten minutes to go Etxeberria added to Bilbao's lead on another counterattack immediately after Fernando Sanz had hit the bar at the other end. Musampa pulled one back in the last minute from the penalty spot to make it 1-2 but by then it was too late. (29.09.01)