First division - day 9
Mallorca moved up level with second placed Valencia after recording a club record sixth league win in a row, 3-1 over Alavés. Gregorio Manzano's side took the lead in the first half when Pandiani headed a cross from Novo past Dutruel, his fourth goal in eight days after his hat-trick last week. Ibagaza added a second after the break, and Pandiani made it three from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Dutruel in the area. Iván Alonso hit the post with a long shot and Rubén Navarro missed a late penalty for the visitors, but Ilie did give them a consolation goal in injury time.
Celta bounced back after their midweek cup defeat to beat Espanyol 1-0 and hang on to fourth spot. Although they were bettered by their opponents early on, the Gallicians took the lead in the first half when José Ignacio collected a Mostovoi pass to beat Argensó. The home side improved in the second half but could not add to their score, even when the visitors were playing with ten men after substitute Alex Fernández was sent off after receiving a second booking for a foul on Jesuli. Espanyol's second defeat in a row leaves them still down in the relegation zone.
A thrilling match at Atlético Madrid, where Luis Aragonés' side drew 3-3 with Athletic Bilbao. The heroes of the day were José Mari for the locals and Urzaiz for the visitors, both of whom scored hat-tricks. Curiously, neither had played as striker in the last match, José Mari being given the role due to an injury to Torres, and Urzaiz coming back in after being dropped for the last three games. Atlético took the lead midway through the first half when José Mari headed in a corner, but two opportunist goals from Urzaiz in a three minute period after the break turned the game around. the Atlético number 23 equalised again, but Urzaiz put Bilbao back in front before an injury time strike, again from José Mari, gave the home side their sixth draw of the season.
Bottom club Recreativo Huelva lost 1-3 to Valladolid, and are already looking like relegation material. Their first win of the season last week gave them some hope, but an Olivera strike put the visitors in front midway through the first half, and the Andalucians went further behind when Pachón picked up a pass in the area to beat César on the stroke of half time. Mario made it three after César palmed out an Olivera cross seven minutes from the end, and Loren restored some pride a minute later, heading a corner past Bizzarri.
Sevilla climbed away from the relegation spots with a narrow 1-0 win over Racing Santander. The only goal of the game came on the half hour mark, Casquero beating Ceballos with a shot from outside of the area after a clever back-heeled free kick from Tomás. Earlier on Notario had made a finger tip save from Munitis, but Racing did nothing else of note and Samways almost scored a second for the home side when his long free kick bounced through on to the post. (10.11.02)
Real Sociedad maintained their three point lead at the top of the table despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo La Coruña. After a shaky start, Real took command of midfield, and Nihat got free only to blast the ball over the bar. Kovacevic returned to the side after missing the last match through injury, and he got on the end of Karpin's long cross to open the scoring with a header down past Juanmi. Depor were dangerous on the counterattack though, and Luque made it all square shortly before the half time whistle after Makaay set him up. The second half followed a similar pattern, and Makaay almost snatched a late victory with a shot against the post from wide on the left. The bad news for the visitors though were injuries to both central defenders in the first half, and Irureta may have trouble finding a back four for the Champions League visit to AC Milan.
Second placed Valencia failed to capitalise on Real's slip, and they too drew 1-1 in their home tie with Betis. It took a late goal from Aimar to earn the point though, the Argentine international connecting with a cross from substitute Mista to place a header wide of Prats. Marcos Assunçao had given the visitors the lead earlier in the half from a free kick which curled wickedly away from Cañizares into the corner of the net, and with Prats making first class saves from Aimar and Baraja it looked as if the league champions were in for a defeat. Benítez made three attacking changes though, the last being Mista who found Aimar with his first touch of the ball.
An injury time free kick from Figo gave Real Madrid a 2-3 victory at city neighbours Rayo Vallecano which took them up to third place pending Sunday's games. Ronaldo had given Del Bosque's side the lead early in the first half running on to Figo's through ball to shoot past Etxeberría, but a brilliant solo effort from Azkoitia a few minutes later took the sides in level at the break. Julio Alvarez hit the post soon after the restart, but play went down the other end Roberto Carlos restored the lead following a set piece free kick. Eventually Julio Alvarez equalised again with his fifth penalty of the season after Azkoitia was tripped in the area, and just when the fans were celebrating the draw, Figo struck for Madrid's first away win in the league in six months.
Barcelona struggled to beat Villarreal, running out 1-0 winners thanks to a second half penalty from Riquelme. The Catalans had the best of the first half but could not beat Reina, and were lucky to be let off a penalty in the second half when Puyol brought down Víctor. The visitors were left with ten men though when Unai was sent off for the second time this season after picking up a second booking, and Xavi hit the bar with the resulting free kick. Van Gaal had left Saviola on the bench for this game, but he brought him on and almost immediately the young striker won a penalty when brought down by Ballesteros. That was enough to take the three points, and Barça are now a point behind Real Madrid in fourth place. .
Málaga ended their run of two defeats in a row with a 1-0 victory over Osasuna. The only goal came midway through the second half from Darío Silva, who controlled a pass from Sandro before hitting a low shot past Sanzol. The visitors had only troubled Contreras once in the first half, the keeper saving from Iván Rosado early on, and Darío Silva, Musampa and Dely Valdés all had chances before the break. Gerardo hit the post with a long shot in the second half before Darío's strike, and Sanzol had to make a full stretch save from Miguel Angel near the end to stop him from increasing the lead. (09.11.02)