First division, day 13
Real Madrid returned from Tokyo in excellent form after winning the Intercontinental cup midweek, beating Mallorca 1-5 in the San Moix stadium to move up to sixth spot with a game in hand. Ronaldo had been one of the stars of that match, and it only took him seven minutes to open the scoring here, running through to beat Leo Franco after Raúl touched on Figo's pass. Eto'o equalised though for Manzano's team, and for a few minutes Mallorca could have gone in front. However Ronaldo added a second individualist goal just after the restart, and Raúl added two more, the first from a Roberto Carlos cross and the second following a corner. Mallorca's Pandiani got himself sent off near the end for a foul on Figo, and in injury time substitute Guti turned in Morientes' square pass to round things off. The result ends the home sides' run of nine games without defeat, and they drop three places to fifth.
Emotive scenes before the match between Celta and Alavés, with players and fans showing solidarity with the Gallician people affected by the oil tanker spill off their coastline. Celta won the game 2-1 to move up to third place and leave the Basque side struggling only two points above the drop zone. Lotina's side took the lead in the twentieth minute when Dutruel, returning to his old ground, blocked a shot from Edu only to see the rebound hit Karmona and bounce into his own net. Only four minutes later referee Pérez Pérez awarded a penalty to the home side when Desio brought down Catanha, and Luccin stepped up to convert the kick. The visitors came back though with a penalty of their own after the break, Ilie scoring from the spot after Berizzo had fouled Abelardo, but when Desio was sent off for a second bookable offence their challenge ended.
An event packed game at the Montjuic stadium, where Betis ran out 2-4 winners over Espanyol to move up to fourth in the league. Capi put the Andalucians in front early on, and Juanito deflected Assunçao's free kick past Argensó for the second with only twenty minutes gone. Espanyol's Domoraud was sent off for a bad foul on Alfonso, and Alfonso missed the easiest of chances after the restart to extend the lead. Numbers were evened up though when Joaquín was given a red card, and the Catalans came back with goals by Roger and Milosevic to level the scores. Fernando scored twice though soon afterwards to send Espanyol back down in next to last place, and they ended the game with nine men after David García also got himself sent off.
Luis Aragonés keeps on breaking records at Atlético Madrid, and he celebrated his 700th game in charge with a 1-0 victory over Valladolid. It was not a comfortable win though, with their opponents, desperate for points, fighting tooth and nail all the way. Pachón went close a couple of times and Esteban had to be at his best, particularly late in the second half when he made a reflex save from Oscar. The only goal came from under 21 international Fernando Torres after the break, beating Bizzarri with a far post header after an Albertini free kick from the left was only partly cleared. Atlético move up to seventh, just behind city rivals Real Madrid on goal difference.
Osasuna kept up their recent good run with a 1-3 victory against local rivals Athletic Bilbao, and they draw level with their opponents in the middle of the table. Aloisi started things off for the visitors from the penalty spot in the eight minute when Larrazábal handled in the area, but Urzaiz equalised two minutes later, heading a corner past Sanzol. Muñoz restored the lead though on the quarter hour mark with a shot through a crowded goalmouth, and Iván Rosado made it three shortly before the break after Lafuente failed to cut out Rivero's cross. (08.12.02)
Real Sociedad kept up their amazing unbeaten run, beating Sevilla 0-1 to move even further clear at the top of the table. It was not an easy victory though, and without the suspended Xabi Alonso in midfield they were bettered by their opponents in the first half. Alberto came back in goal in place of Westerveld, who was suffering from gastro-enteritis, and he made two important saves from Casquero to keep the scores level at the break. Referee Esquinas Torres also let Real off a penalty when Jauregi appeared to handle in the area. Sevilla slackened off though in the second half, and in the seventieth minute De Pedro found Karpin with a cross from the left for him to beat Notario on the far post. In injury time substitute Toedtli headed the last chance wide, leaving his side down in the bottom three at the end of the day.
Valencia moved up to second place pending Mallorca's game on Sunday after beating Racing Santander 2-0. Either side could have scored before Angulo gave the home side the lead shortly before the interval, running on to Juan Sánchez through ball to shoot past Lemmens. Three minutes in to the second half Angulo turned provider, setting up Carew for him to get ahead of the defence and turn the ball wide of the keeper. Palop saved well from Benayoun and Munitis struck the bar with a long shot as Racing reacted, but Benítez was already thinking of the Champions League game against Arsenal and started to rest players. A quarter of an hour from the end Aimar came on to rousing applause, returning after an injury which has kept him out for almost a month.
The shock of the day though was at Vallecas, where Rayo Vallecano won their first game in seven after defeating Barcelona 1-0. Fernando Vázquez would have been out of a job this week if Julen Lopetegui had not turned down an offer for his position, and the Rayo manager, serving out a two match ban, sat nervously watching his side from the stands. Barça had the best of the first half, with Etxeberría saving from Kluivert and Riquelme, and Kluivert missing the best chance when he rounded the keeper but took the ball too far. However the ideas ran out, and Azkoitia ran through as Bolo headed on a long clearance from Etxeberría to round De Boer and force the ball past Bonano. It took Rayo out of the relegation spots, for 24 hours at least, and left Van Gaal's side with one of their worst ever starts to the season, having only picked up one point now in their last four games.
Deportivo La Coruña could only draw 1-1 at bottom club Recreativa Huelva and lose ground on the leaders. The game started at a frantic pace, with Juanmi tipping a centre-come-shot by Javi García over the bar and Luque saving from Fran and Makaay. Midway through the first half the home side went in front, Cubillo finding Raúl Molina with a through ball for him to turn his shot wide of the keeper. The lead only lasted five minutes though before a defensive mistake gifted the ball to Diego Tristán on the edge of the area, who without hesitation fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net. Recre were left with ten men in the eightieth minute when Xisco was sent off for a hard foul on Víctor only four minutes after coming on, and in the closing minutes Luque made a vital save from his namesake to save a point for the home side.
Villarreal took revenge, in part at least, for their defeat in their Intertoto cup final by drawing 1-1 at Málaga. The visitors were given the chance to take the lead on the half hour mark when Roteta gave away a penalty on Berruet, but Contreras guessed correctly and saved Víctor's kick. Later in the half Musampa got the ball in the net for the home side only to see the goal ruled out for offside. Floro brought on Javi Venta at the break, and a few minutes later his long cross was headed brilliantly by Palermo over the keeper for the opening goal. Things looked grim for Málaga when Rojas was sent off for a second bookable offence with twenty minutes to go. However Peiró's side equalised soon afterwards when Darío Silva, just back in the side after an injury, got on the end of Gerardo's cross to head down past Reina. (07.12.02)