First division, day 6
Valencia held on to first place with a 0-1 victory against a poor Barcelona side, who drop out of the European spots as a result. Cañizares kept out the early efforts from the local strikers, and Oliveira ran on to a Baraja through ball to fire the visitors into the lead with a quarter of an hour on the clock. Van Bronckhorst thought he should have had a penalty when brought down by Ayala after the interval, but otherwise the Valencia goal was not under threat and substitutes Sissoko and Canobbio could both have increased the lead in the final minutes.
Real Madrid stay in third place after a 2-1 win over bottom club Espanyol. It was not an easy victory though, and only a couple of controversial decisions by referee Pérez Lasa guaranteed the three points. The Catalans held on until early in the second half when Raúl found Ronaldo for him to open the scoring. Figo should have made it two from the penalty spot soon afterwards but Lemmens saved his kick, and Pérez turned away a penalty appeal from the visitors minutes later. Ronaldo headed his second of the night from Beckham's chipped cross near the end, but despite playing with ten men after Wome was sent off, Alex Fernández got a last minute consolation goal for Espanyol.
Osasuna hold on to the last Champions League spot with a 1-1 draw at managerless Mallorca. Both sides missed clear chances throughout the game, the best of which were a shot by Bakayoko which Leo Franco saved and an effort from Eto'o which struck the bar. And the goals finally arrived within a minute of each other, Nadal heading home a corner seven minutes from the end, and substitute Webó replying with a shot from an impossibly tight angle almost directly from the kick off.
A 1-1 draw as well between Real Sociedad and Sevilla. Kovacevic gave the home side the lead in the opening minutes, heading home Karpin's cross. Visiting keeper Notario was injured in the build up to the goal, and Esteban came on to play a key part in his side's recovery with a string of first class saves. The Andalucians levelled the scores later in the first half when Darío Silva ran on to Baptista's pass to beat Westerveld.
A brilliant performance by Valladolid reserve keeper Ocellet was not enough to prevent his side from being beaten 0-4 by Racing Santander. The Argentine born new signing came on to replace Bizzarri when he gave away a penalty and got himself sent off just before half time, and immediately saved not only that kick but also a second penalty early in the second half. However Regueiro beat him soon afterwards and Bodipo and Nafti added two more late on to add to an earlier Bodipo goal.
Celta continued their slide down the table after losing 2-1 at Málaga, and they ended the weekend down in fourteenth place. Fernando Sanz put the Andalucians ahead early on following a corner, and although Milosevic headed an equaliser in the second half, Miguel Angel finished them off only four minutes later.
Real Murcia won their first game of the season, beating Albacete 1-0 in the battle between the newly promoted sides. Ex Rayo Vallecano midfielder Michel got the only goal from a well struck free kick in the sixth minute. Albacete stay next to bottom in the table. (05.10.03)
Deportivo La Coruña moved back into top spot pending Sunday's games after a resounding 5-1 win over an Atlético Madrid side who could end the weekend in the relegation zone. Irureta's side took the lead through Fran in the seventh minute, and although Lequi equalised soon afterwards, an unfortunate Aguilera own goal put the Galicians back in front before the break. Sergio added a third after the restart before Pandiani got his usual goal, a record sixth in as many league games, and Scaloni completed the rout in injury time. Atlético substitute Javi Moreno got himself sent off only twenty minutes after coming on in the second half.
Villarreal kept up their long unbeaten run this season with a 1-1 draw at home to Zaragoza. Víctor gave them hope of a victory with an early goal from a well struck free kick. But a spectacular strike from David Villa made it all square midway through the first half, and the scoreline didn't move again all match despite numerous opportunities for both sides.
A last minute goal from Marcos Assunçao saved a point for Betis in their home match against Athletic Bilbao. Joaquín should have given his side the lead when he shot over the bar from four yards out shortly before half time, and Yeste hit the bar at the other end in reply. Tiko put the visitors ahead in the first minute of the second half, and only Assunçao's late strike gave them third home draw in a row this season. (04.10.03)