First division - day 8

With the other results going in their favour, Deportivo held on to top spot at the end of the weekend. Depor's Gallician neighbours Celta moved into second place ahead of last week's leaders Betis on goal average after beating the Andalucian side 3-1. Gustavo López returned from international duty with Argentina to join the side, and he made the difference in the first half, getting on the end of Mostovoi's free kick to open the scoring and making the second for Catanha with less than half an hour on the clock. In the last minute of normal time Prats brought down Mostovoi in the penalty area, and the Russian midfielder converted the resulting penalty kick. However there was still time for Calado to pull one back in injury time with a shot from outside of the area.

Barcelona had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Valencia, who maintain their unbeaten league record this season. Rexach reserved Rivaldo for the midweek Champions League game and gave Saviola a start, and he levelled the scores just before the break after Salva had opened the scoring for the visitors. Marchena restored the lead for Valencia with a long shot with twenty minutes to go, but Gabri equalised almost immediately with a shot which deflected in off Coco. The draw keeps Barcelona in fourth place, with Valencia a point behind them in fifth. The visitors' Spanish international keeper Cañizares broke a rib in a clash with Frank De Boer and was rushed off to a local hospital, with Palop coming on in his place in the first half.

The bottom of the table clash between Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad ended 2-1 in favour of the home side, leaving John Toshack's side with their worst ever record at this stage of the season. Pablo Sanz gave Rayo the lead in the first half, and although Gabilondo levelled the scores before the break, Luis Cembranos took advantage of slack defending to re-establish the lead. It was Rayo's first victory this season, and takes them to within a point of Mallorca and two points clear of their rivals. Toshack's position is apparently safe at the moment, although Real could move to sign a new coach (possibly Katanec) and move the Welshman upstairs as originally planned at the start of the season.

The gap between the bottom three and the rest widened to four points as all the teams immediately above them won. Málaga recorded an undeserved 1-2 victory at Villarreal, scoring with their only two attempts at goal to steal away a much needed three points. Víctor gave the home side the lead after only 32 seconds, but a controversial Dely Valdes strike which only just cleared the goal line made it all square at the interval. Then after Villarreal had hit the post twice, Darío Silva, returning to the side from international duty, hit the winner ten minutes from the end. Villarreal still hold on to the second UEFA spot as the teams below them failed to win.

Málaga move level with Real Madrid, who drop to sixteenth after Valladolid and the two Canary Island teams all recorded victories. With Madrid unable to score at Alavés, one of their cast-offs Tote managed a hat-trick for Valladolid at the San Mames stadium. The young centre forward teamed up with Mexico's Cuauhtèmoc Blanco to take Athletic Bilbao apart with two in the first half and another at the end as they beat the Basque side 1-4. Blanco scored Valladolid's third after Urzaiz had momentarily put Bilbao back in the game. The Basque side have only picked up two points at home in their four games to date.

Las Palmas won at home 2-0 against Espanyol, who ended the game with ten men after Ricardo Cavas picked up a second caution with an hour gone. The home side took advantage of their numerical advantage to score through Jorge, with Tevenet adding the second from the penalty spot after keeper Argensó brought him down near the end. Espanyol's manager Paco Flores is under pressure after a bad run which includes their elimination from the cup by Lleida midweek.

Tenerife won 0-2 away at Osasuna, bringing to an end the Pamplona based side's five match unbeaten run. The islanders recorded their second victory in a row thanks to two goals in three minutes in the second half, with Jaime setting up Pablo Paz to head home the first and then Iván Ania scoring the goal of the day with a shot from the halfway line which caught Unzué out of his goal. Osasuna felt hard done by as Gancedo and Aloisi had both hit the bar in the play before Ania's goal. (14.10.01)

Deportivo took over at the top of the table after a 1-2 victory at Zaragoza. Irureta brought back Diego Tristán up front and he staked his claim for the striker's spot with two well taken goals, the first after leaving three defenders stranded and the second a header from Víctor's cross wide of the keeper. Substitute Yordi headed one back with twenty minutes to go, his third in as many matches, but Deportivo clung on to their lead despite playing the last few minutes with ten men after César picked up a second yellow card.

Sevilla came back twice against Mallorca to share the points in a 2-2 draw. Campano put the visitors ahead in the opening minutes with a free kick in off the post, but Gallardo equalised with a solo effort before the half hour mark. Engonga put the visitors back in the lead a couple of minutes later from the penalty spot when Prieto brought down Novo, but Nico "not so much fall as plummet" Olivera won his third penalty in a row and his fourth of the season almost immediately from the restart. The Uruguayan striker converted the kick himself to move to the top of the league's Pichichi chart with five goals. The draw still leaves Bernd Krauss's side in the relegation zone.

Alavés and Real Madrid drew 0-0 in the other match brought forward to Saturday. With Roberto Carlos and Zidane injured, Del Bosque lined up with youngster Raúl Bravo at left back, and had to bring on another B team defender Pavón for the injured Karanka before half time. Even so there were little opportunities for either side, with Madrid the better of the two in the first half and Alavés dominating after the break. The closest anyone came to scoring though was when Salgado turned the ball against his own post late in the game. (13.10.01)

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