First division, day 14
Real Sociedad came back from behind to beat Mallorca 2-1 and keep their four point lead at the top of the table. All the goals came after the break, with Eto'o putting the visitors ahead with a near post header from Campano's cross immediately after the restart. De pedro levelled the scores though with a shot which took a deflection off a defender following Karpin's corner, and Aranburu scored the winner after Leo Franco cut out Nihat's pass to Kovacevic but couldn't hold on to the ball. Westerveld made a vital late save from Poli to take Real's unbeaten run to fourteen games.
Real Madrid were surprised by bottom club Recreativo Huelva in the Bernabeu stadium, falling behind to two early goals before coming back to win 4-2 to move up to third in the table. Cubillo scored into an empty net for the visitors in the third minute after Casillas blocked Raúl Molina's shot, and Molina set up Espinola for a second on the quarter hour mark. Raúl Bravo celebrated his first start of the season pulling a goal back with a lob in off the bar before the break, and Iván Helguera headed Figo's corner over Luque for the equaliser. Nine minutes later Madrid were ahead, Raúl turning his man before shooting into the roof of the net, and Figo finished things off in injury time from the penalty spot, beating makeshift keeper Espinola after Luque was sent off for bringing down Guti.
A scandalous result at the Nou camp, where Barcelona were beaten 0-3 by Sevilla to drop to thirteenth in the league. Opposition groups collected signatures for a vote of no confidence in president Joan Gaspart's management before the match, and they were reinforced by the team's poor performance on the night. The visitors had only scored twice away from home all season, but they took the lead in the fifth minute from a controversial Casquero penalty after Christanval pulled back Reyes on the edge of the area. Substitute Toedtli scored twice more in the last quarter of an hour to give Sevilla their first away win of the season and set up an interesting week in Barcelona.
Rayo Vallecano recorded their second victory in a row, beating Betis 0-1 to move away from the relegation spots. Onopko scored the only goal with a quarter of an hour on the clock, heading Michel's free kick on past Prats. Betis tried their best, with Alfonso hitting the post from a second half penalty, Joao Tomas having a headed goal controversially disallowed for a dubious offside and Rivas hitting the bar near the end. The defeat rounds off a bad week for Víctor Fernández's side after they were knocked out of the UEFA cup midweek.
Celta too were suffering from a UEFA cup hangover, and they were beaten 3-0 by Racing Santander to drop out of the top four. All three Racing goals came in a twelve minute spell in the second half immediately after Manolo Preciado brought on Bodipo and Benayoun. Within a minute Bodipo headed on for Moratón to head the first goal in from close range, and soon afterwards he won the ball off Cavallero to set up Benayoun for the second. Benayoun added the third himself with a chip over the keeper from the edge of the area to finish things off.
A spectacular overhead kick from Luque four minutes from the end gave Deportivo a 1-0 win over Málaga. The young striker came on for a disappointing Diego Tristán in the second half, and after having two penalty appeals turned down, produced a moment of magic, taking a pass from Víctor and firing a shot over his shoulder in off the post. The result takes Depor back up to fifth in the table.
Osasuna made it thirteen points out of a possible fifteen after beating a struggling Espanyol 1-0. Antonio López got the goal from a free kick immediately after the break, although Aloisi should have added to the lead a couple of times later in the half. Espanyol ended the day with ten men after Martín Posse was sent off, and a four point gap has opened up between them and eighteenth placed Sevilla.
The pressure eased off Valladolid manager Pepe Moré after his side beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0. Aganzo got both goals in a ten minute spell after the break, the second an impressive strike from Fernando Sales' long cross, to end a goal drought which has lasted four games. Athletic drop down to seventeenth spot, only a point above the relegation zone. (15.12.02)
Second placed Valencia put pressure on leaders Real Sociedad with a 0-2 victory over neighbours Villarreal. It was a first time ever victory for Rafa Benítez's side in the Madrigal stadium, and takes them to within a point of top spot pending Sunday's games. Injuries and suspensions meant that the manager had to put out the only side he could, but he lost Albelda and Angulo to injuries before the break, bringing on Enguix and Carew. It proved to be a great move, as Carew struck twice within the first quarter of an hour of the second half, the first with a chip over Reina from an almost impossible angle and the second after rounding the keeper to slot the ball into the net. The result sends Benito Floro's side once again back down to the lower spots in the division. They ended the game with ten men after Quique Alvarez was sent off ten minutes into the second half for a second bookable offence.
Alavés beat Atlético Madrid 2-0 to earn themselves a bit of breathing space in their fight for survival. Rubén Navarro opened the scoring for them in the eleventh minute, taking a pass from Ilie to shoot over Esteban, and Ilie himself got the second with a solo run which ended with him chipping the ball over the keeper. Iván Alonso came on ten minutes into the second half and should have extended the lead, but his shot hit the post. Atlético have never scored in the Mendizorroza stadium, but they had the opportunity to do so when referee Undiano Mallenco awarded them a penalty in the second half. However Dutruel dived low to save Fernando Torres' spot kick, and a few minutes later saved well from Javi Moreno to take his side away from the danger zone. (14.12.02)