First division, day 4

Deportivo kept up their run at the top of the table, beating struggling Albacete 3-0 to make it four straight wins in a row. The visitors held on until half time, but then two identical defensive errors in a minute from Víctor's corners allowed Naybet and then Luque to score. Pandiani added a third right at the end from a cross by debutant Munitis, his fourth goal in consecutive league matches, to keep his side two points ahead of the chasing pack. The only down side for the Galicians was the red card shown in the first half to one of the substitutes Scaloni for insulting a linesman from the bench.

Real Madrid stayed two points behind Depor in second place with a 1-3 win over Málaga. Ronaldo gave the league champions a good start in the twelfth minute after Zidane headed on Beckham's corner, but the locals were coming back into the game until Beckham worked a set-piece free kick with Figo to bend his shot into the far corner of the net in the second half. Edgar scored from a spectacular overhead kick to narrow the gap, but substitute Guti ran on to Figo's pass to finish things off.

Nihat returned to the Real Sociedad side to inspire a 3-0 win over Zaragoza which takes them up into the top four. The Turkish forward returned from injury to open the scoring with a low header ten minutes in to the second half, and De Paula came on as a late substitute to add two more near the end, the first from Karpin's cross and the second from a short pass by Lee Chun Soo.

Valladolid bounced back from their thrashing by Real Madrid to beat Espanyol 3-1. Fernando Vázquez's side were two goals up with less than ten minutes on the clock, Zapata heading a first and Jesús catching the defence sleeping with a quickly taken free kick. Bobson got one back for the Catalans, but Lopo got himself sent off for a second bookable offence just before half time, and Ciric scored a third from the penalty spot near the end.

The other four games on Sunday all ended in draws, with the match between Betis and Racing Santander ending without goals thanks in part to a great performance by ex Manchester United keeper Ricardo. Racing could have won it when Regueiro had a goal disallowed for offside in the second half.

Celta are still looking for their first win in the league, and they ended up drawing again, this time 1-1 at Villarreal. Mostovoi headed the Galicians into the lead with twenty minutes to go, but Berizzo headed a long cross past his own keeper two minutes later to make it all square.

A 1-1 draw as well between Mallorca and Sevilla, with Darío Silva getting away with a foul on Lussenhoff before putting the visitors ahead midway through the first half. Bruggink levelled it before the interval though with a well struck free kick.

Real Murcia and Athletic Bilbao drew 2-2 in a game in which the lead changed hands twice. Michel put the home side in front early in the first half, but strikes by Etxeberría and Tiko either side of half time turned the score around. But a dubious penalty by Javi González on Luis García allowed the young striker to save a point for his side. (21.09.03)

Valencia beat a poor Atlético Madrid 0-3 to move to the top of the table pending Sunday's games. All three goals came in the last quarter of the match, with an inspired Aimar and half time substitute Mista having a hand in them all. The two combined in the 68th minute to set up Vicente for him to beat Burgos, and a few minutes later Aimar squared the ball across for Mista to add a second. Then with the game running in to injury time, Aimar found his strike partner again with a defence splitting pass for him to round the keeper and score from a tight angle. The Atlético fans booed off their players and threw cushions on to the pitch at the end, and manager Gregorio Manzano has to get his act together if he is to remain in the job much longer.

Barcelona missed out on the chance to join Valencia at the top of the table when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Osasuna. Rijkaard lined up again with Kluivert, Saviola and Ronaldinho in his side, but they were unable to break down a well ordered defence and found themselves behind early in the second half when Cruchaga headed Puñal's corner past Víctor Valdés. Ronaldinho eventually scored the equaliser with a shot which was going wide before Izquierdo deflected it past his own keeper, and Kluivert got the ball in the net later on only to see the strike ruled out as Saviola was offside. All in all a disappointing performance by the Blaugrana, who have not been able to beat Osasuna in their last six meetings. (20.09.03)

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