First division, day 6

Barcelona moved three points clear at the top of the table after a 3-1 victory over fourth placed Sevilla on Sunday night. The Andalusians had a goal disallowed though before Ronaldinho opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Belletti was brought down by Escudé with just under half an hour on the clock. Kanouté headed an equaliser ten minutes later in a quick passing move, but before the break Ronaldinho restored the lead with a trademark free kick. And Messi rounded things off with an individualist goal near the end of the second half to complete the revenge for the defeat in the European Supercup.

Valencia lost ground though after losing 3-2 to Celta, their first defeat of the season. David Navarro headed the Chés in to the lead from Villa's free kick five minutes before the break, but Baiano picked up a pass from Canobbio to level the scores on the stroke of half time. Within ten minutes of the restart the Galicians scored two more, Iriney's volley flying off a defender and up in to the net and Canobbio's long shot squeezing through the usually safe hands of Cañizares. Morientes got one back soon afterwards, but Pinto kept the visitors out from then on, and they ended with ten men when Gavilán picked up a second booking in injury time.

Deportivo came within a minute of making it in to the top four, but they had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Betis in the last match of the weekend. The Andalusians hit the woodwork twice in the first half and once in the second, but it was the visitors who took the lead when a long shot from Arizmendi curled away from Doblas just three minutes in to the second half. Betis won themselves a penalty though when Lopo handled in the area in injury time, and substitute Robert converted the kick. Prior to that Felipe and Sobis had both been sent off for second bookable offences.

Zaragoza drove another nail in to the coffin of Real Sociedad manager José Marí Bakero, a 1-3 win leaving the Basque side firmly rooted down at the foot of the table. As in other matches the referee played an important part in the final outcome, Ramírez Domínguez awarding a penalty to the home side which Xabi Prieto converted, but then sending off Rivas for a second booking and a minute later giving a penalty to the visitors for a non existent hand ball. Diego Milito converted the kick, and Diogo and Diego Milito added two more at the beginning of the second half for the final result.

Real Sociedad's Basque neighbours Athletic Bilbao are out of the relegation zone though after a 2-3 victory at Gimnàstic. Yeste converted a hotly disputed penalty in the tenth minute, and the locals were left a man short when Ruz was sent off for a hard tackle a few minutes later. Iraola got a second and Yeste chipped an excellent third either side of half time, but Sarriegui put through his own net and Makukula gave the home fans hope of a comeback with a headed goal near the end.

Osasuna are not having the same success as in the last couple of years, and they are now only a couple of points above Athletic after losing 0-1 to Racing Santander. The Pamplona based side had the better chances early on, but they fell behind to a dubious Felipe Melo penalty when Zigic was pushed by Cruchaga early in the second half. It was a first win for the Cantabrians and a welcome relief for their coach Miguel Angel Portugal, who has already been written off more than once.

A 0-1 result as well between Levante and Mallorca, where visiting coach Gregorio Manzano was celebrating his 200th game as a manager in the top flight. Arango got the only goal of the game midway through the first half after a corner was only cleared as far as his feet, and the hosts ended with ten men after Kapo was sent off for protesting a possible penalty late on.

A scoreless draw between Villarreal and Espanyol, although it could have been different had the referee not controversially ruled a last minute headed goal by Pandiani after his linesman ruled that De la Peña's corner had swung out of play. Kameni had kept the Catalans in the game up to that point with a couple of saves, in particular from Marcos Senna header and a Riquelme free kick. (15.10.06)

Atlético Madrid moved up to third in the table pending Sunday's results after a controversial 2-1 win over Recreativo. Referee Pérez Lima played a vital role in the home side's victory, although he started off awarding a dubious penalty against them after Viqueira fell under a challenge from substitute Jurado. Javi Guerrero scored on the follow up after Leo Franco had saved his spot kick, but less than ten minutes later Pérez awarded another hotly disputed penalty at the other end which Fernando Torres converted. And soon after that he allowed a second goal to stand even though Agüero had fisted the ball in to the net after a Torres header was spinning wide. The referee rounded things off showing red cards to Dani Bautista and Seitaridis for second bookable offences near the end.

Another disappointing performance from Real Madrid, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of city neighbours Getafe leaving them out of the Champions League spots. Bernd Schuster's side gave them the run around right from the start, and even when Capello threw on Ronaldo and Raúl to join Van Nistelrooy at the break they still hardly created any chances. The only goal came on the hour mark when Alexis headed home Redondo's corner, and Madrid ended with ten men after Ronaldo was shown a second yellow card for something he said to the referee, meaning he will miss next weekend's big match with Barcelona. (14.10.06)