First division, day 6
Barcelona struggled to beat a battling Numancia, but eventually ran out 1-0 winners to move two points above Valencia at the top of the table. Frank Rijkaard found room for all of his attacking players, but they were unable to break down a packed defence until late in the second half, when Larsson got on the end of Xavi's corner to steer a header down past Nuñez.
Deportivo La Coruña got their season back on track with a 0-1 victory against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu stadium, the first time they have won there in the league since 1955. With Ronaldo injured, Michael Owen was given a place in the Madrid starting line up, but neither he nor his colleagues could find the net, and Luque tied up the three points for his side with a goal on the stroke of half time.
With most of the teams in the upper half of the table failing to win, Sevilla took advantage to move up to third spot with a 0-0 draw at Racing Santander. It was a hard fought match, with many fouls and hard tackles, and the Andalusians' veteran defender Pablo Alfaro was sent off near the end. Racing have not won at home now in over seven months, and they drop down into the bottom three.
Málaga were another side to profit from the day's results, and they move up five places to fourth after beating Osasuna 2-0. The goals came from their two new strikers, Amoroso opening the scoring in the first half and Wanchope wrapping things up after the break.
In fact five other sides are level with Málaga on ten points, including Levante, who beat Mallorca 2-0 to leave them languishing at the bottom of the table. The star of the night was once again Ettien, who set up Manchev for the first goal with a dazzling run, and then laid on a second for Sergio García after the interval.
All four of the bottom sides won their respective matches, and with the table still very tight, it was all change in the relegation spots. Albacete got their first win of the season against Espanyol, who drop out of the Champions League places as a result. Redondo got the only goal midway through the second half, and local substitute David Sánchez was sent off near the end.
Villarreal also recorded their first league victory, following up their midweek UEFA cup success by beating Zaragoza 2-0. Riquelme was the man who did the damage, floating across a corner just before the break which Alvaro headed into his own net, and setting up Forlán for a second three minutes after the restart.
The top scorer of the weekend though was Pachón, who scored a hat-trick as Getafe beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1. The ex Valladolid striker put his side in front in the first minute, and although half time substitute Etxeberría made it all square, Pachón got two more later on to take the Madrid based team away from the drop zone. (03.10.04)
Valencia moved a point clear at the top of the table after drawing 1-1 at Betis. Ranieri's side took the lead in the ninth minute when Di Vaio caught the local defence napping following a throw-in, but Edu equalised on the half hour mark when ex Valencia striker Oliveira set him up.
Real Sociedad climbed out of the relegation zone after beating Atlético Madrid 1-0, their first victory of the season. The only goal of the game came shortly before the break when Kovacevic headed Karpin's cross wide of Leo Franco, and they held on even though the visitors hit the woodwork three times. (02.10.04)