First division, day 12
Real Madrid moved back to the top of the table, above Deportivo on goal average, after a 2-1 win over Albacete. It was not an easy victory though, and the winning goal didn't come until nine minutes from the end when Zidane steered Solari's chipped cross down past the keeper. Beckham had put the league champions into the lead shortly before half time with a magnificent shot from outside of the area, but Parri equalised a minute later with an even more spectacular volley from Aranda's cross.
Valencia missed out on the chance to make it a three way tie at the top when they drew 2-2 at Real Murcia in the last game of the weekend. Mista put the visitors ahead early on, but Richi equalised before the break following a set piece free kick and Michel put the East coast side in front two minutes after the restart from Fredi's cross. Mista made it all square though eight minutes later, heading Carboni's long cross past Juanmi, to keep his side in third place in the table.
Athletic Bilbao move up four places to fourth in the table after a 0-2 win at Celta. Both goals came after the break, Lacruz heading home a Luis Prieto free kick around the hour mark and Iraola hitting the second in injury time.Referee Rodríguez Santiago upset the local fans though, turning down a possible penalty on Milosevic and then disallowing what looked like a good goal from the Sebian striker later on. Celta ended the weekend only one place above the relegation zone.
Atlético Madrid's run of five wins in a row came to an end when they were beaten 3-1 by Valladolid on a rain-sodden pitch. Musampa put the visitors ahead early on, but a great performance by Makukula turned the scoreline around. The Portuguese under 21 international headed the first from Zapata's free kick and had a hand in the other two goals, the first coming from Zapata after the defence failed to clear, and the second by Sousa who took Makukula's pass to score. Atlético played all the second half with ten men after Ortíz was sent off before the break.
Osasuna hold on to sixth spot after a 0-0 draw at Málaga. The Pamplona based side were by far the better team, and only a header from Salva in the first half troubled Sanzol. Muñoz hit the post after the break and Palacios missed an easy chance late on which could have given them the win. The result ends Málaga's run of three home wins in a row.
Zaragoza came away with three valuable points after a 1-2 away win at Racing Santander. The wet conditions made play difficult, and were responsible for the first two goals, the opener coming for the home side when Rebosio slid on the slippery surface and carried Regueiro's cross into his own net, and the equaliser resulting from a failed clearance when the ball stuck in a pool of water, alvaro taking advantage to pick up the rebound and beat Ricardo. Racing failed to take their chances in the second half, and Soriano struck the winner near the end following a corner.
A last minute goal from Domoraud gave bottom club Espanyol a 1-0 victory over Sevilla, their first win at home this season. Luis Fernández was in charge for the first time at the Luis Companys stadium in Montjuic, but his side appeared to be up against it when Lopo got himself sent off for a second bookable offence in the second half. However the returning Iván De la Peña came on to pick out Domoraud with a late free kick for him to head the winner past Esteban. (23.11.03)
Leaders Deportivo were held to a 0-0 draw at Betis in the first match on Saturday evening. The intense rain in Sevilla left the pitch waterlogged and made playing condition s difficult, and there were very few scoring opportunities for either side. The best chance of the match fell to the locals midway through the first half when Molina fouled Juanito in the area, but the keeper saved Fernando's resulting penalty kick. Dani thought he had scored after the break for the Andalucians, but referee Megia Dávila disallowed the goal, ruling that Palermo's overhead kick to set him up was dangerous play. It was a vital decision, and opens up the possibility of a three way tie at the top if Valencia and Real Madrid win on Sunday.
Luis Aragonés's Mallorca recorded their third win in a row, a 0-1 victory at Real Sociedad to end the Basque side's 20 month unbeaten home record. The only goal of the game came in the eighteenth minute, when Eto'o beat the offside trap to pick up Correa's through ball and beat Westerveld. Visiting keeper Leo Franco had to be at his best though to stop efforts from Kovacevic and Nihat as Real threw everything forward in the second half, and referee Pérez Burrull waved away appeals for a goal and / or penalty when Cortés appeared to block Kovacevic's header with his arms whilst standing over the goal line.
A last minute goal from Sonny Anderson gave Villarreal a 2-1 victory over Barcelona. It was the Catalans' first game without Ronaldinho, and they were lacking ideas in a first half in which all the shots at goal came from the locals. José Marí opened the scoring for Benito Floro's team following a corner five minutes before the break, deflecting Coloccini's header over the diving Valdés. Rijkaard brought on Saviola in the second half and he had a hand in the equalising goal soon afterwards, Kluivert finishing off after Luis García's shot was saved by Reina. But Anderson's injury time diving header from Belletti's cross was enough to hand the visitors their first away defeat since they lost in the Madrigal stadium last April. (22.11.03)