First division, day 13
Real Madrid bounced back after their defeat at Barcelona last week to thrash Bernd Schuster's Levante 5-0. It took them some time to get going, and Casillas had to make a couple of important saves before Ronaldo picked up a pass over the top from Beckham to beat Mora for the first goal shortly before the break. That opened the floodgates though, and they scored three more in the first ten minutes of the second half, Figo running on to crack home the first, Ronaldo collecting a pass from Celades to get the second and Beckham adding the third with a spectacular shot from outside of the area. Substitute Michael Owen made it five near the end after Guti set him up to round off a great night and keep the Galacticos within seven points of the leaders.
Valencia moved back up to fourth place after a 2-0 win over Mallorca in the last match of the evening. The match signalled Héctor Cúper's return to the Mestalla stadium, and his side were closest to scoring early on. But they were caught out by two dead ball kicks either side of half time, Moretti getting above the defence to head home a corner of the half hour mark and Baraja finishing off after Navarro headed back another corner midway through the second half. Luis García hit the post at the other end from a late free kick, but it was another defeat for the Islanders who find themselves once again at the bottom of the table.
Betis are the on-form team at the moment, and they made it ten games without defeat after beating Villarreal 2-1. Once again Oliveira was the man who did the damage with two goals in the first half, the first from Edu's pass and the second after Reina could only push out a shot from Cañas. Guayre got one back after the break after José Marí lobbed keeper Doblas, and the ex Las Palmas forward was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty soon afterwards when he was brought down by the keeper, a decision which cost visiting manager Pellegrini a red card for protesting.
Betis move up to fifth, ahead of their city rivals Sevilla for the first time this season. Joaquín Caparrós's side were beaten 4-1 by Osasuna in a match which, although bad tempered, was at least a bit more civilized than the last time the two teams met at the end of last season which ended in a riot. Muñoz put the Pamplona based side ahead, and although Carlitos headed an equaliser before the break, Webó restored the lead after the restart. The visitors were left with ten men though when Javi Navarro was sent off for elbowing an opponent, and the locals took advantage to add two more through Morales and Moha.
Deportivo La Coruña's disappointing season continues, and they threw away a two goal lead to end up drawing 2-2 with Real Sociedad. Luque put the Galicians ahead on the quarter hour mark and set up Munitis to head home the second a few minutes later, but then limped off with an injury. Nihat pulled one back before half time with a well struck free kick, and Kovacevic made it all square five minutes after the interval when he got on the end of Karpin's cross to head past Molina. Real ended with ten men when Karpin was sent off in the closing minutes after picking up a second yellow card for time wasting whilst being substituted.
Albacete moved clear off the relegation spots to the detriment of Málaga after beating their rivals 0-2 in the Rosaleda stadium. It was a poor performance from Gregorio Manzano's side, and the home fans called for the head of the club president at the end. Both goals came from mistakes by young defender Alexis, the first after he gave the ball away early on to Momo for him to produce the cross from which Viaud eventually scored, and the second at the start of the second half when Momo dispossessed him and ran on to beat Calatayud.
Numancia moved off the bottom of the table thanks to a 2-1 win over Zaragoza, another good result for caretaker manager Máximo Hernández. Osorio was the hero of the night with two headed goals in the first half, both following crosses from the left wing, and Milito headed one back before half time. The visitors had two penalty claims turned down by the referee in the second half, but Tevenet should have increased the lead when he tripped himself up with only the keeper to beat late on. (28.11.04)
Barcelona opened up a nine point gap at the top of the table pending Sunday's games after a 1-2 win at Getafe. Frank Rijkaard's side appeared to be on the way to an easy victory when they scored twice in a three minute period midway through the first half, Márquez putting them ahead with a well struck free kick and Deco getting the second after a good run by Xavi down the left wing. But the hosts put up a plucky fight after that, with Craioveanu pulling a goal back after the restart, and only a string of first class saves from Víctor Valdés kept the visitors in front. Craioveanu was sent off though for a foul on Deco seven minutes from the end, and after that their challenge faded.
Espanyol moved back up to second spot after a 2-1 victory over Atlético Madrid. Most of the action came in the second half, with Dani opening the scoring from the penalty spot after Maxi was tripped by Sergi. Two minutes later though the visitors were level when the otherwise excellent Kameni totally misread a free kick from wide on right by Nano, allowing the ball to pass over his head and in to the net. Dani restored the lead though a quarter of an hour from the end after the defence failed to cut out De la Peña's through ball, giving the Catalans the three points.
Athletic Bilbao moved away from the danger zone with a convincing 3-0 win over Racing Santander earlier in the evening. Ezquerro started things off in only the sixth minute with a carbon copy of his goal from the week before, cutting in from the left to chip the keeper. Gurpegui added a second later in the first half, a goal which was particularly celebrated by his team mates and fans who had given him messages of support before the kick off after a court turned down his appeal against a two year ban for a positive drugs test. And Urzaiz headed the third in the second half from Iraola's cross to finish things off. (27.11.04)