First division, day 11
An unscheduled round of midweek matches this week, the programme for day 11 brought forward by a fortnight to allow Spain to prepare their World Cup play-off games against Slovakia.
Osasuna hold on to top spot after defeats on Thursday for Getafe and Valencia. Getafe were beaten 3-0 by Real Sociedad, who move up into the UEFA cup spots as a result. Aranburu, Nihat and Xabi Prieto (with a controversial penalty) got the goals in the first half. Valencia meanwhile lost 0-2 at home to Sevilla, Luis Fabiano opening the scoring before the break and Ayala putting through his own net immediately after the restart. With a quarter of the season gone the midweek results leave the table wide open, with only one point separating third placed Barcelona from Valencia, who drop to ninth.
Atlético Madrid took advantage to get back within reach of the leaders thanks to a 3-0 win over Cádiz. Maxi opened the scoring before the break, and Pablo and Galletti added two more in the second half. Zaragoza lost ground though after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Racing Santander, Aganzo getting the equaliser for the visitors after Diego Milito had given the hosts the lead. It was the sixth time this season that Zaragoza have shared the points. There was a similar result as well in Vitoria, where the match between Alavés and Espanyol ended 1-1, leaving the hosts still down in the bottom three and their opponents just out of the relegation spots thanks to a better goal difference than Mallorca. The goals came early on through Sarriegi and Luis García, and the home side ended with ten men after Sarriegi was sent off around the hour mark. (27.10.05)
Osasuna are the overnight leaders after a last minute 3-2 win over neighbours Athletic Bilbao. Raúl Garcia cancelled out an earlier strike by Gurpegui just before half time, and Milosevic headed the Pamplona based side into the lead after the restart. A Josetxo own goal appeared to have saved a point for the visitors, but substitute Webó beat Aranzubia in injury time to keep up his side's 100% home record and send their rivals to the foot of the table.
Barcelona are up to third pending tomorrow's games after a late 2-0 victory over Málaga. Visiting keeper Arnau returned to the Nou Camp where he learnt his trade, and put in a great performance during the first eighty minutes as Frank Rijkaard's side threw everything they could at him. But Ronaldinho put the hosts ahead with a controversial penalty after he himself fell under a challenge from Juan Rodríguez, and Larsson added a second two minutes from the end.
Barça move ahead of their arch-rivals Real Madrid after the "Galacticos" were beaten 3-1 by Deportivo Coruña. The Galicians had not lost this fixture for 14 years, and they took the lead late in the first half when Canadian midfielder De Guzman beat Casillas. Juanma headed a second on the stroke of half time and added a third near the end before Raúl got a late consolation.
Villarreal are up to sixth spot after a 2-3 win against Betis. Pellegrini's side twice took the lead, firstly through José Marí early on and then through Sorín after the break, but Oliveira and then a Javi Venta own goal levelled it each time. Riquelme hit the winner from the penalty spot later on though, and Betis were left with nine men when Joaquín and then Melli were shown red cards for insulting the referee.
Mallorca moved out of the relegation spots after beating Celta 1-0, a result which takes a lot of pressure off local coach Héctor Cúper. Doni got the only goal of the game in the opening minutes of the second half with a deft flick past Pinto, and soon afterwards the visitors' challenge ended when they had Contreras sent off for a second bookable offence. (26.10.05)