First division, day 15
With Barcelona's match against Betis postponed due to the Club world Cup, Sevilla took advntage to overtake them in the league with a 1-3 win against neighbours Recreativo. Luis Fabiano gave Juande Ramos's side an early lead from the penalty spot after Antonio Puerta was brought down. And although Jesús Vázquez headed home Aitor's cross to equalise soon afterwards, Kanouté re-established the lead before half time after Renato's header came back off the post. Jesús Navas made it three after picking up a pass from Alves after the restart, and the visitors held on despite having Aitor Ocio sent off for a second bookable offence.
Real Madrid moved up to within a point of Barcelona as well after beating Espanyol 0-1 later in the evening. Both keepers were in action in a lively first half, but Van Nistelrooy got what was to prove the winner a few minutes after the restart after picking up Guti's pass and beating Kameni with a shot on the turn. Cannavaro was sent off soon afterwards for a second bookable offence, but the Catalans could not find the way past Capello's well ordered defence after that, falling to their first defeat in eleven games.
Atlético Madrid returned to fourth spot after beating city neighbours Getafe 1-0 in the last match on Sunday. Maniche gave the home side the lead midway through the first half, heading a Fernando Torres cross past Pato Abbondanzieri. And after that Javier Aguirre's side shut up shop, with Leo Franco making key saves from Güiza and Del Moral, to move five points clear of their opponents in the table.
Osasuna kept up their recent good form with a 1-4 victory over Villarreal, with Héctor Font returning to his old club to set up headed goals for Webó and Nekounam in the first half. David López made it three from the penalty spot after Barbosa fouled Webó after the break, and although Cani fired one back from Riquelme's free kick, Juanfran wrapped things up twenty minutes from the end.
Levante and Celta shared the points in a 1-1 draw, a result which kept the visitors in the top half of the table and left their hosts just two places above the drop zone. With less than a minute on the clock Baiano picked up the ball in midfield and ran on to curl a spectacular shot past Molina, but Alvaro headed the equaliser from Robert's corner five minutes after the restart.
Real Sociedad recorded their first win of the season after beating fellow strugglers Gimnastic 3-2. The Catalans took the lead twice, Llera heading the opening goal in the first half, and Rubén Castro getting a second just a minute after Mingo had put through his own net two minutes after the restart. But Juanito levelled the scores once again, and Diego Rivas connected with López Rekarte's cross to take his side off the bottom and above their opponents in the table. (17.12.06)
Valencia move back up into the European spots after a 0-1 win at Zaragoza, the first time that Víctor Fernández's side have failed to score all season. The locals went close a couple of times through Diego Milito and Aimar, but three minutes before the break a long shot from Angulo sailed over the head of the stranded César and in to the net. There was little action after the restart though, and the visitors held on to close the gap on their opponents to two points.
Racing Santander are up to twelfth in the table after coming from behind to beat Mallorca 1-2. Jankovic gave the Balearic Islanders the lead after Tristán and Arango set him up on the quarter hour mark. But Rubén got on the end of a wayward shot from Oscar Serrano to head the equaliser after the restart, and Balboa got the winner a minute from the end after picking up a pass from Zigic to strike an angled shot past Prats.
Athletic Bilbao recorded their second win in a row under new coach Mané after beating Deportivo 0-2. The Galicians had gone seven games without a win before this one, and they went behind when Javi Martínez headed Iraola's corner past Aoaute with only eight minutes gone. Juanma got himself sent off for the second week in a row near the end for a second bookable offence, and Martínez bulldozered through for his second goal of the night in injury time. (16.12.06)