First division - day 14
A strange week, with no draws in both the first and the second divisions, and the top four clubs in the top flight all losing. Deportivo held on to the top spot despite losing heavily by 4-1 to Mallorca. Irureta made nine changes from his Champions League side which beat Arsenal mid-week, but this time the rotation system didn't work as the Balearic Island side put in their best performance of the season. Luque scored twice within the first half hour, the first after Eto'o laid the ball back and the second a long shot which Molina should have stopped. Pandiani headed one back for Depor almost immediately, but second half goals from Paunovic and Campano took the home side out of the relegation zone and up to thirteenth.
With Depor losing, a victory would have taken Alavés to the top of the table for the first time in their history. However they remain two points behind them in second place after losing 1-0 to Villarreal. The visitors were missing the suspended Téllez and Llorens, and Mané brought youngster Ochoa in to the defence. However Víctor beat Herrera with a flying header eight minutes before the break to take Villarreal back up to within two points of the European spots in ninth place.
Betis moved level with Alavés on points with a 1-2 victory at Osasuna. Both their goals though came from Osasuna players, with Armentano heading spectacularly through his own net ten minutes into the second half and Contrera deflecting a shot from Cañas past his keeper two minutes later. Rivas had a goal disallowed which would have wrapped things up, but Iván Rosado pulled one back for the home side with a quarter of an hour to go. That was all though, and Osasuna drop down the table into the relegation zone at the end of the weekend. With manager Lotina already announcing he will leave at the end of the season they will have a fight on their hands to stay up.
Valencia's unbeaten record in all competitions finally went as they were defeated 2-0 by Real Sociedad. Both goals came from Lithuanian striker Jankauskas, who only passed a fitness test a few minutes before the match to play. The first came in the 37th minute from de Pedro's pass, and the second from the penalty spot after Ayala was ruled to have pulled back Aranzábal. To make matters worse, Valencia lost three key players through injury, Vicente, Rufete and Albelda. They drop out of the top four to fifth place, level with Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao and a point behind Alavés and Betis. Real stay next to bottom, but are now only a point away from safety.
One of the big winners of the day was Real Madrid. They ran out easy 0-3 winners against city rivals Rayo Vallecano, and move up to within a point of the European spots and four of the leaders. Once again Morientes was the man on target, with another two goals to take his tally to seven in the last four games. He had a hand in the first goal scored by Raúl in the first minute, and added a second later in the half after an error by Helder. Raúl paid him back with a gift of a pass after winning the ball back after the break, sending Rayo four points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Celta also closed up on the top teams with their first win in six games, 4-1 over Espanyol. They fell behind though early on to a Tamudo penalty after Juanfran fouled Posse, but by half time they were in front thanks to goals by Catanha and Jesuli. Catanha added his second after the break to take him to joint top scorer in the league with Diego Tristán, and substitute Edu finished things off near the end. Celta are now eighth, with Espanyol dropping to fifteenth, only two points above the drop zone.
Sevilla moved back up to the top half of the table with their best result of the season, a 4-0 victory over Valladolid. With Olivera on international duty with Uruguay, Moisés was charged with taking a first half penalty for a foul on young striker Reyes which he converted for his sixth of the season. Reyes got the second himself with a fabulous run from his own half, and Casquero added two more later in the second half for the final result. Valladolid's Torres Gómez was sent off early in the first half for a second bookable offence.
Zaragoza are just behind Sevilla on goal average after they defeated Las Palmas 2-1 in the Romareda stadium. Yordi headed them in front in the twelfth minute from a long cross by Ezquerdinho and Juanele scored the second in the second half after the ball fell at his feet. Sarasua scored a consolation goal for the visitors in the last minute, but Las Palmas drop to within a place of the relegation spots, just above Osasuna on goal average. Zaragoza are in eleventh place, but are only four points behind second placed Alavés.
Tenerife climbed away from the danger zone with a narrow 1-0 victory over a depleted Málaga. The visitors were missing seven players between injuries, suspensions and international duty, although Joaquín Peiró could count on Gato Romero, who was not called up by Uruguay, and Miguel Angel, who had his fifth yellow card suspended. It was an open game with several goal chances, although the only one that counted was from Slovak, who turned in Iván Ania's cross in the second half. Tenerife have now registered seven points in their last three games, and they go a point above their opponents up to fourteenth. (25.11.01)
Barcelona were brought down to earth after their Champions League victory over Liverpool, losing at home to Athletic Bilbao by 1-2. The Basque side have one of the best away records in the league this year, and they took the lead in the tenth minute when Urzaiz headed Yeste's free kick wide of Bonano. Rexach was forced to bring on Rivaldo after the break even though he was not fully fit, and the Brazilian star appeared to have saved the day with a spectacular volley soon after he replaced Rochemback. The visitors made things worse for themselves when Lacruz got himself sent off for the second time this season, but substitute Ezquerro surprised everyone with a breakaway goal nine minutes from time to take his side up level with Barcelona on points. (24.11.01)