First division, day 13
Real Madrid moved up to within a point of Barcelona after a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. The visitors were under new management after Mané took over from Sarriugarte midweek, and his side went ahead when Luis Prieto latched on to a short free kick to beat Casillas ten minute before the break. Capello brought on Beckham and Ronaldo at half time, and Ronaldo levelled the scores after picking up a long pass from Sergio Ramos twenty minutes in to the second half. Athletic were left with ten men soon afterwards when Aduriz was sent off for a foul on Diarra, and Roberto Carlos drilled home the winner following a corner with ten minutes to go.
Sevilla missed out on a chance to move back to the top of the table after they were beaten 2-1 by Espanyol. The Andalusians took the lead with a Kanouté penalty midway through the first half after Kameni was adjudged to have brought down Adriano, but Tamudo equalised after the restart, leaving two defenders for dead with a clever back-heel before shooting wide of Palop. Luis García got on the end of De la Peña's cross to make it two a few minutes later, and the home side held on despite having Riera sent off near the end.
Zaragoza drop out of the Champions League spots after losing 1-2 to Osasuna, their first home defeat of the season. Diego Milito opened the scoring after Diogo and Sergio García combined to set him up in the twentieth minute, but here too the scoreline was turned around, Raúl García heading home a corner with ten minutes to go, and Ponzio turning a David López cross past his own keeper in the last minute.
Villarreal moved back to within a point of the UEFA cup spots after a 2-0 victory over bottom club Gimnàstic. Riquelme returned to the line up after missing the last couple of matches, and it was his free kick which set up Fuentes to head the first goal midway through the first half. And six minutes later Cani sent Arruabarrena away for him to cross in for Guille Franco to make it two. Nàstic have not won now in thirteen games, and new coach Paco Flores has some work to do.
Mallorca and Celta shared the points in a 2-2 draw, the visitors coming from two down to equalise with a penalty near the end. Jonás Gutiérrez had given the Balearic islanders the lead early on, and Jankovic made it two when he fired home a long shot after the restart. Baiano got one back for the visitors soon afterwards though, and then won the spot kick which Jesús Perera converted with five minutes to go.
The other two games ended without goals, with Racing Santander coming away from their match at Deportivo with a point despite ending up with nine men. Strikers Munitis and Zigic both got their marching orders in the second half, the former for insulting an official and the latter for two yellow cards, and Depor's Cristian joined them after he too picked up a second booking near the end.
Real Sociedad and Getafe also drew 0-0, a result which kept the visitors in seventh place and left their hosts in next to bottom position without a win in their first fourteen games. Keepers Bravo and Abbondanzieri had some work to do, although the only real chance came when the local keeper scrambled away a looping header from Manu later on. (03.12.06)
Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Levante on Saturday evening, and they could be off the top spot by the end of the weekend. With one eye on Tuesday's Champions League game against Werder Bremen, Frank Rijkaard left Ronaldinho at home. And it didn't seem to matter when Deco curled a free kick past Molina to open the scoring shortly before half time. But the locals equalised later in the second half when Alvaro turned the ball past Valdés after the keeper could only push out Kapo's free kick.
Atlético Madrid moved up to fourth pending Sunday's games after beating struggling Betis 0-1. Galletti volleyed home the only goal with just over half an hour gone, but the star of the match was visiting keeper Leo Franco, who saved two penalties from Edu and Fernando in the second half. The defeat leaves local coach Irureta's job hanging by a thread.
Valencia's season is going from bad to worse, and they fell to a third defeat in a row at Recreativo. Aitor put the Andalusians ahead with less than a minute gone after Cañizares could only push out Javi Guerrero's shot, and Sinama-Pongolle made it 2-0 near the end with a run from midfield. The result takes Recre up to the UEFA cup spots. (02.12.06)