First division - day 14
The big news on Sunday was the sacking of Real Madrid manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo. The Brazilian born coach was relieved of his duties this afternoon after less than one year in charge following a series of poor performances by his side. Luxemburgo will be replaced for the time being by B team coach López Caro, although the club is expected to look for a new manager to take over as from the new year.
Meanwhile Madrid's arch rivals Barcelona go from strength to strength, clocking up their ninth straight win with a 0-2 victory at Villarreal. Frank Rijkaard's side did note the absence of Xavi, who tore a knee ligament in training and who will miss the rest of the season as a result, but they still took the lead midway through the first half when Peña couldn't get out of the way after Viera pushed out Ronaldinho's free kick. Deco made it two after the restart with a long shot which also took a deflection off the unfortunate Peña, and Valdés was not really troubled after that, even though his side were left with ten men when Márquez picked up a second booking near the end.
Osasuna kept up the pace with Barcelona though after beating Málaga 1-2 earlier in the evening. The South coast side had been a bit of a "bête noir" for the visitors, but Webó gave them the lead midway through the first half after slack defending by the local defence. Nacho got on the end of Paco Esteban's cross to equalise a few minutes later, but Valdo steered a header past Arnau before the break to restore the lead. The top two stay five points ahead of Celta, who remain in third spot following today's results.
Valencia move up to fifth, just behind Real Madrid on goal difference, after a 1-3 win at Espanyol. Angulo gave the Chés the lead on the quarter hour mark after Vicente played on Aimar's centre, and David Villa made it two before the interval after Kameni could only push out Vicente's cross. Aimar wrapped things up on the hour mark after picking up a short pass from Villa on a rapid counter attack, and a goal three minutes later from Corominas was only scant consolation for the Catalans.
Deportivo are just two points behind though after beating Sevilla 0-2. Visiting coach Joaquín Caparrós was given an ovation by the crowd on his return to his old club, but he still took away the three points, ending the Andalusians' run of eight games without defeat. It was a bad tempered match, not helped by referee Megia Dávila who showed no less than 14 yellow cards and two reds, sending off Sevilla's Maresca for protesting in the first half and Daniel Alves for a second yellow card after the break. Diego Tristán got the first goal with a twice taken penalty after Alves tripped Capdevila, and Víctor got the second before the break with a well struck free kick. Local keeper Palop saved a second penalty from Taborda in the second half.
Real Sociedad threw away a two goal lead for the second week in a row, only coming away from Racing Santander with a point after a 2-2 draw. Novo put the San Sebastian based side ahead midway through the first half, and they seemed to be on the way to victory when local keeper Aouate spilled a long free kick at the feet of De Paula allowing him to score the second six minutes after the restart. But Antoñito pulled one back, and substitute Uranga got himself sent off just four minutes after coming on a few minutes later. And with the game coming to an end Mikel Alonso tried to clear Antoñito's cross and only succeeded hitting his own keeper Riesgo, the ball bouncing back in to the net to save a point for the locals.
Two goals in a minute gave Zaragoza a 1-2 win at Cádiz, saving the head of coach Víctor Muñoz for another week at least. The visitors had only won one game all season, and things looked bleak when Enrique burst through in a quick passing move to lift the ball over César and head in to the empty net. But Cani levelled the scores with a long shot midway through the second half, and Ewerthon collected a long throw to fire a shot in off the bar just a minute later.
Mallorca moved further away from the danger zone with a 0-3 victory at Alavés, who themselves drop back in to the bottom three as a result. Víctor got a goal either side of half time to put his team two up, the first from Arango's pass and the second with a well directed header, and Iuliano blasted home a spectacular third a few minutes later. The crowd turned on club president Dmitri Piterman after the final whistle, chanting for him to leave. (04.12.05)
Real Madrid move back up into the top four pending Sunday's matches after a narrow 1-0 win over neighbours Getafe. The visitors caused some problems for Luxemburgo's side early on, but Ronaldo (returning to the line up after an injury) picked up a return pass from Zidane and ran on past Contra to poke a shot past Calatayud with just over a quarter of an hour gone. Early in the second half though Beckham was sent off for a hard tackle on Riki, and Casillas was once again called upon to save the day, in particular making a first class stop from an excellent volley by Pernía.
Celta are back up to third in the table after beating struggling Betis 2-1 in the first match on Saturday evening. The Galicians were two up with only twenty minutes on the clock, Canobbio turning a low cross from Placente past Doblas and Baiano heading another centre from the Argentine full back past the keeper. Edu headed one back for the Andalusians right at the end, but it was not enough to prevent Serra Ferrer's side from slipping to the bottom of the table.
A goal in the sixth minute of injury time saved a point for Athletic Bilbao against Atlético Madrid in the San Mamés stadium. The visitors were missing four of their first choice players through injury or suspension, but they took the lead early on when Kezman picked up a long pass from Zahinos to beat Aranzubia. An injury to Leo Franco meant that third choice keeper Falcón had to take over in Atlético's goal, but he held on until virtually the last second of the match, when Orbaiz got on the end of Yeste's cross to make it 1-1. (03.12.05)