First division - day 7

Betis moved back to the top of the first division with a narrow 1-0 victory over Alavés. The only goal of the game came ten minutes from the end when Joaquín was tripped by Coloccini in the penalty area, substitute Joao Tomas converting the penalty kick. Betis move on to 16 points, two points clear of Barcelona and Deportivo. They are followed by three teams with a point less, including Celta who drew 2-2 at Málaga. All the goals came in the first half, with Celta taking the lead twice, first of all with a rare Jesuli header in the fifth minute, and after Musampa equalised a minute afterwards, through Karpin three minutes later. Dely Valdés made it all square again just before half time, and the goals dried up in the second half to leave the teams sharing a point.

Valencia caught up with Celta and their opponents of the day Villarreal with their third 1-0 victory at home. It was a typical local derby, with both sides breaking up the game with fouls and hard tackles. The only goal came from Salva just before the half time interval after Curro Torres and Juan Sánchez combined to create an opening in the organized Villarreal defence. Both teams occupy the UEFA spots at the end of the weekend on 13 points, with no less than five teams two points behind them on eleven, including Zaragoza, who may have put an end to Bernd Krauss's short career at Mallorca with a 0-1 victory. Mallorca threw everything they could at the visitors' keeper Láinez, but they fell to a goal ten minutes from time from Yordi on a breakaway and stay in the relegation zone.

Sevilla join the group on eleven points with a last minute 3-3 draw at Real Sociedad. The San Sebastian team must have had deja vu having lost their midweek game at Zaragoza also with virtually the last kick, and once again they were reduced to ten men with the score in the favour, Idiakez becoming the third player to be sent off in consecutive games after Gabilondo and Demetradze had taken them in to a two goal lead. Moisés and then Olivera (once again from the penalty spot) levelled the scores after the break, Luiz Alberto put Toshack's team in front again after Sevilla's Alfaro also got sent off, but Njegus scrambled the ball in the net at the end to keep Real Sociedad next to bottom with only two points. They stay a point ahead of Rayo Vallecano though, who lost to relegation rivals Tenerife 3-1. The Canary Islanders had not scored in five of their games, but Iván Ania gave them a first minute lead, and Jaime and Xisco added two more in the second half after Corino had scored the equaliser.

The other Canary Island team Las Palmas move down level with Tenerife after losing 1-0 at Valladolid. Turu Flores got the only goal of the match with only six minutes gone, heading in a corner from Eusebio against his old side. Nacho González saved a penalty from Tote during the match, but Valladolid still go a point above their opponents to fourteenth place. Osasuna stayed a point ahead of Espanyol after coming from behind in Barcelona to draw 1-1. Tamudo got his first goal of the season in the second half, but substitute John Aloisi made it all square following up after Argensó saved his penalty kick near the end. (07.10.01)

Deportivo La Coruña came back from behind once again to beat a depleted Barcelona side 2-1. With only ten outfield players available the Barcelona side picked itself, but they still took the lead through Kluivert before the break after Luis Enrique put him through. However Fran scored twice after the restart, the first from Romero's pass and the second after substitute Víctor laid the ball back, to take the three points. Barcelona's first official defeat of the season means that Deportivo move up level with them at the top of the table pending Sunday's matches.

Real Madrid put aside their crisis for the time being with a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. Missing several players on international duty, including Roberto Carlos, Figo and Zidane, Del Bosque drafted youngster Bravo into the starting line up, with two more, Valdo and Pavón, coming on as substitutes. However Raúl and the Spanish internationals were there, and it was Raúl himself who opened the scoring, heading home a cross in from Michel Salgado just after the break. Hierro hit the bar with a speculative shot from the halfway line, and Solari made it two with a shot from the left which Lafuente failed to hold on to. This was Bilbao's first away defeat after winning their first three games outside of their San Mames stadium. (06.10.01)

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