First division, day 4
So close is the league in these opening days that Real Madrid started their Wednesday night match against Athletic Bilbao in the relegation spots and finished it in fifth place thanks to a 3-1 victory. Luxemburgo's side got off to a bad start, Woodgate spoiling his long awaited debut by deflecting Etxeberría's wayward shot past his own keeper midway through the first half. Robinho levelled the scores with his first goal for the club when he headed Beckham's free kick past Aranzubia early in the second half, and Raúl put them ahead a few minutes later after half time substitute Guti combined with Ronaldo to set him up. The unfortunate Woodgate got himself sent off for a second bookable offence a couple of minutes later, but even so Raúl extended the lead with a near post header from Beckham's corner just three minutes after that. (22.09.05)
Celta return to the top of the first division after beating Villarreal 1-2 in the Madrigal stadium. The Galicians never looked back from the sixth minute, when Baiano got on the end of Antonio Nuñez's cross to open the scoring, and Baiano got his second of the night after collecting a pass from Angel just a minute in to the second half. Riquelme pulled one back from a free kick ten minutes from the end, but it was not enough to prevent his side from slipping to the bottom of the table.
Getafe's moment of glory at the top of the first division was short lived, although their 1-1 draw with Mallorca still leaves them in second place. A mistake from young keeper Moyà let a shot from Güiza into the net in the seventh minute, and the Madrid based side could have built on their lead after that. But with ten minutes to go a spectacular shot from over 30 yards out by Fernando Navarro dipped over the head of Luis García to save a point for the visitors.
Deportivo La Coruña stay level with Getafe on eight points after drawing 1-1 with Betis. The visitors took the lead though when Oliveira got on the end of Joaquín's cross in the first half, but a hotly disputed penalty decision by referee Megia Dávila on the stroke of half time let in Diego Tristán to equalise. Betis coach Serra Ferrer was shown the red card for imitating Wayne Rooney in the incident, but his side could still have won had Marcos Assunçao not hit the crossbar in the second half.
A draw as well at the Nou Camp, where Barcelona and Valencia shared the points after finishing level at 2-2. Giuly put the Blaugrana ahead in the first half after a long run, but David Villa equalised from the penalty spot after the restart after Edmilson fouled Villa himself. And the ex Zaragoza striker put his side in front just a minute later after charging down a Víctor Valdés clearance. Cañizares dropped Ronaldinho's cross at Deco's feet though later in the second half to allow the Portuguese midfielder to make it all square again.
Valencia are now on six points, level with five other sides including Zaragoza, who beat Osasuna 3-1 to record their second victory of the season. All four goals came in the second half, with Diego Milito starting things off when he headed home Savio's cross. Substitute Sergio García made it two ten minutes from the end, and Savio added a third before Delporte got a last minute consolation with a long free kick which bounced past everybody.
Racing Santander are also up into the top six after a 1-0 win over Espanyol. It was a dull match though, the only points of interest the return of De la Peña to his home town and the lining up of Oscar Serrano against his ex club who he took to court recently. The onl goal came twenty minutes from the end when Antoñito took advantage of a rebound off a couple of defenders to score his first goal for his new club, and Espanyol's challenge ended when Lopo was sent off near the end.
Probably the most exciting tie of the weekend though was Real Sociedad's 3-2 come back victory over Atlético Madrid. The Basque side were two down at half time, Fernando Torres and Kezman helping themselves to a goal each. But Real's front pairing of Kovacevic and Nihat finally won the day, the Serbian striker scoring twice and his Turkish colleague getting one in between to win the day.
The other two matches on Tuesday night ended in scoreless draws, with Sevilla unable to make any headway against local neighbours Cádiz, and almost losing it after Abraham Paz fired a first half penalty kick over the bar. And Málaga and Alavés cancelling each other out in a 0-0 draw which leaves Piterman's side joint bottom and the locals just a place outside the relegation spots pending Real Madrid's game on Sunday. (21.09.05)