First division - day 7
Real Sociedad moved three points clear at the top of the table after a last gasp 2-1 win over Racing Santander. The visitors proved once again that they are difficult side to beat, taking the lead in the first half when Javi Guerrero headed a Pablo Sierra cross down past Westerveld. A brilliant performance by Ceballos kept out the Real strikers after the break though, at least until the introduction of De Pedro midway through the second half. The Spanish international set up Kovacevic for him to finally beat the keeper a few minutes later, and in injury time scored the winner from the penalty spot after Neru was sent off for bringing down Nihat in the area. The result gives the San Sebastian based side their best ever start in the history of the club.
An amazing match at Málaga, where visitors Espanyol came back from two goals down to win the game 3-4. A Dely Valdés penalty and a Darío Silva strike put Peiró's side two up in six minutes, and although Domoraud headed one back, Darío Silva ran half the length of the pitch to restore the two goal cushion with only a quarter of an hour on the clock. Espanyol's new manager Ramón Moya brought on Tamudo and De la Peña at the break though, and they levelled the scores within twenty minutes of the restart with a Milosevic strike and a Tamudo penalty. De la Peña hit the post and Milosevic missed a sitter as the Catalans carried on their attack, and five minutes from the end Maxi hit the winner. It was Málaga's first defeat of the season, and Espanyol's first away win in over a year.
Mallorca moved up to within two points of second place after their fourth victory in a row. Their opponents Osasuna held their ground in the first half, but Eto'o beat Sabzol with a shot from the edge of the area on the hour mark, and Novo made it 2-0 ten minutes later, following up after the keeper blocked a long shot from Riera. Osasuna drop to seventeenth place, just above their Basque neighbours Alavés and Athletic Bilbao who now occupy two of the three relegation spots.
Sevilla moved out of the bottom three with their first victory of the season, 2-1 over Valladolid. The hero of the night was their young striker Antoñito, who linked up with his ex B team colleague Reyes to score twice in the first half, the first with a header and the second with a shot into the top corner of the net. Colsa pulled one back from the penalty spot for the visitors after the break when Marcos Vales brought down Oscar Sánchez, but the Andalucians held on to take the three points. (27.10.02)
Three goals from Pablo Aimar inspired Valencia to a 5-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao. The Argentine midfielder had to play with pain-killing injections, but Rafa Benítez was grateful for his presence as he took the Basque side apart in the first half. With eight minutes on the clock the league champions were already two up through Aimar and Carew, and Aimar scored two more before the break to complete his hat-trick. Fabio Aurelio added a fifth from the penalty spot after the break after Carew was fouled, and in the dying moments Tiko scored a consolation goal for the visitors. The result takes Valencia top on goal difference pending Sunday's games, and could signal an end to Heynckes' latest reign at Athletic.
Celta dropped to third place after a dull 0-0 draw with Atlético Madrid. The Gallicians were missing the injured Catanha, Gustavo López and McCarthy, and with only ten minutes gone Mostovoi limped off with a hamstring injury. Without him they had nobody to take the initiative, and apart from a goal by Edu which was disallowed for offside there were few scoring chances. Luis Aragonés brought José Mari and Javi Moreno into his side, but they too were lacking inspiration and had to make do with their fifth draw of the season, leaving them down in the bottom half of the table.
Real Madrid were held at home to a 1-1 draw by Benito Floro's Villarreal to round off a poor week for them. With Figo still out injured and Raúl not considered fit enough to play the full match it was left to Zidane to make the play, and the French star didn't disappoint with a cracking goal midway through the first half. However Villarreal levelled the scores just before half time when Makelele pushed over Jorge López inside the area, and López himself beat Casillas from the penalty spot. Either side could have scored after the break, with Casillas saving a Palermo header with his feet and Reina tipping a Roberto Carlos free kick onto the post in injury time.
Barcelona bounced back after a recent bad run to thrash Alavés 6-1. The hero of the night was Patrick Kluivert, who scored twice in the first half hour of the game and finished off his hat-trick near the end. Mendieta got his team's third from the penalty spot after ex Barcelona defender Abelardo brought down Luis Enrique, and the Barcelona captain scored the fourth himself just before half time after Saviola put him through. Van Gaal brought on Riquelme at the break, and although Ibon Begoña pulled one back, Xavi made it five before Riquelme put through Kluivert to complete the "set".
Deportivo La Coruña also returned to winning ways with a 1-2 victory at Rayo Vallecano. Roy Makaay set them on their way with a first half strike, and added another after the break with a long shot to consolidate his position at the top of the Pichichi table. referee Moreno Delgado denied him a hat-trick though when he incorrectly ruled out a third goal, but compensated for his mistake by turning down a clear penalty appeal by Bolic. Rayo did get a goal back near the end when Corino headed home a corner from Michel, who was making his first appearance after a long injury. However it was not enough, and Depor take the three points.
Controversy in the Andalucian derby between Recreativo Huelva and Betis, with the visitors ending the game with eight men after referee Turienzo Alvarez sent off Varela, Luis Fernández and then Filipescu. Even so Betis held on to draw 1-1, leaving Recre down at the bottom of the table with only two points. Gastón Casas opened the scoring for Víctor Fernández's side from a set piece just before the break, but substitute Xisco made it all square in the second half after the first two sendings off. The match was brought forward to Saturday as Betis will be playing their UEFA cup tie against Viktoria Zizkov on Tuesday evening. (26.10.02)