First division, day 11
Leaders Barcelona fell to their first defeat in the league this season, losing 2-1 at Betis in the last match on Sunday evening. All the goals came after the break, with Edu putting the locals ahead soon after the restart from Joaquín's cross, and Oliveira making it two later in the half after Puyol failed to cut out a long punt out of defence by Rivas. Substitute Gerard got one back, heading home Deco's centre two minutes later, but they were unable to break down a solid defence after that, Ronaldinho and Eto'o putting the best chances wide.
Real Madrid finally got into top gear with a 6-1 win over Albacete, closing the gap with Barcelona to four points just a week before they visit the Nou Camp. Ronaldo headed the opening goal from Zidane's corner as early as the second minute, and although Francisco levelled the scores temporarily after a mistake by Samuel, Zidane restored the lead a few minutes later. Raúl and Samuel added two more either side of half time, the first from Zidane's cross and the second from Beckham's free kick, and Owen and Ronaldo rounded things off with strikes in the last three minutes of the game.
A late equaliser from Atlético Madrid's Colsa spoilt Héctor Cúper's return party at Mallorca. There was a festive atmosphere to welcome the new manager back to the San Moix stadium, and a spectacular free kick from Arango midway through the first half appeared to have put them on the way to only their second win of the season. But Colsa came on to level the scores at 1-1 against his old side and leave them down at the bottom of the table. (14.11.04)
With international matches coming up next week, no less than seven games were brought forward to Saturday night. Deportivo La Coruña got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win over high flying Levante, but only thanks to a hotly disputed Diego Tristán penalty. Luque had hit the bar from the halfway line in the first half, but it looked like another barren evening before the referee ruled that César had been fouled by Jesule. Bernd Schuster's side stay in fourth spot, still two points above the Galicians.
Valencia though could only draw 0-0 with Zaragoza, and they have now gone ten games without a win. Ranieri's side had the better chances in the first half but couldn't find the route to goal. Javi Moreno could have won it for the visitors when he hit the post after the restart, but Baraja was unlucky to have a headed goal ruled out for a borderline offside near the end. Valencia have not won now since Juan Soler took over as president a couple of months ago.
Sevilla drop out of the top four after a mistake by Esteban gifted Numancia a last minute 2-1 victory. The Andalusians had taken the lead early in the second half when Puerta charged down a clearance by Juanmi, but Osorio headed an equaliser seven minutes from the end, and a 65 metre wind assisted free kick from Antonio bounced over Esteban's head to give the Soria based side their first win in eight games.
Espanyol took advantage to move up to second spot with a 2-1 win over Racing Santander. The Catalans took an early lead when Dani picked up a loose ball to beat Aouate, but Javi Guerrero levelled the scores after the restart, his headed goal the first keeper Kameni had let in for almost a month. Maxi restored the lead from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Aouate, but got himself sent off a few minutes later after picking up a second booking for diving.
Getafe moved out of the relegation spots with a 1-0 win over Málaga, their third victory in just over a week. The only goal of the game came just a minute after the restart, half time substitute Gallardo scoring with a shot which took a deflection off a defender just a minute after coming on. The victory leaves Albacete in the bottom three pending their game with Real Madrid tomorrow.
Athletic Bilbao also moved away from the bottom spots after beating Villarreal 2-1 in a match which was delayed for a quarter of an hour due to a power cut in the first half. Urzaiz got both goals for the Basque side early in the second half, the first a volley from outside of the area and the second after a pass in from Etxeberría. Riquelme hit the bar from a free kick though, and minutes later José Marí pulled one back. Their challenge ended though when Battaglia was sent off in the final minutes.
Osasuna won 1-0 against their Basque neighbours Real Sociedad to send Amorrortu's side back to the edge of the relegation spots. The San Sebastian based club thought they had taken the lead in the first half when Nihat's shot appeared to cross the line before Corrales cleared it away, but referee Turienzo Alvarez waved away their protests. And substitute Chengue Morales got the winner twenty minutes from the end, turning a cross from Corrales into the net with his knee. (13.11.04)