First division - day 10
Barcelona's away form this season leaves a lot to be desired, and once again they failed to impress after a 1-1 draw at Valladolid. Mendilibar's side are currently ensconced in the relegation zone, but they went close a couple of times before Llorente got on the end of Sesma's cross to beat Valdés on the quarter hour mark. Ronaldinho equalised for the visitors a few minutes before the interval after Xavi set him up, but their only chance after the restart was a shot against the post from Bojan, and in the end they were content to save a point which kept them in second spot, albeit four points behind Real Madrid.
Barcelona's city neighbours Espanyol also faltered, although their 0-0 draw against Murcia did at least take them back up above Valencia to fifth. De la Peña made his first start of the season and showed some nice touches as the locals had most of the play. But although Chica rattled the crossbar after the break, there was no way through a well ordered defence. (01.11.07)
Some extraordinary results in the midweek round of matches. Real Madrid beat manager-less Valencia 1-5 to extend their lead at the top, the biggest scoreline they have recorded at the Mestalla stadium in their history. By half time Bernd Schuster's side were four up, Raúl scoring with less than a minute gone, and Van Nistelrooy (2) and Sergio Ramos adding three more. Angulo got one back after the break, but Robinho completed the rout a few minutes later. The Valencia management announced later today that Ronald Koeman would be their new manager.
Atlético Madrid moved up to fourth after a thrilling 4-3 win over Sevilla. Maniche started things off in the second minute, and although Luis Fabiano equalised quickly, Agüero restored the lead with a header two minutes later. Zé Castro put through his own net on the stroke of half time, but Maxi put Aguirre's side in front with an acrobatic goal midway through the second half. Jurado made it four in the ninetieth minute, but Luis Fabiano scored again to set up a nail-biting finish.
Villarreal are second after a 3-0 victory over a struggling Levante side who have only one point to their name after ten games. All the goals came in the first half, slack defending allowing Guille Franco to turn in Marcos Senna's free kick early on, and Rossi adding a penalty after Bruno tripped Cazorla before Cygan headed a third from another Senna free kick on the stroke of half time.
Zaragoza beat Almería 0-1 to clock up their first away win in almost nine months. Both sides missed easy chances, José Ortíz's and Sergio García's from a yard out, before Diego Milito finally got the winner from the penalty spot after Cobeño tripped Oscar with a quarter of an hour to go. Víctor Fernández's side move up to seventh in the table as a result.
Mallorca are just a point behind Zaragoza after a 1-1 draw at Deportivo. The Balearic Islanders took the lead through Güiza after Aouate could only turn Varela's shot on to the bar in the eleventh minute, but they were left with ten men when Moyà brought down Bodipo in the area close to half time. Guardado converted the resulting spot kick, but the visitors held on after that for a point.
Deportivo are now only a point above the drop zone after Getafe beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to move to the brink of safety. First half goals from Casquero and Uche, the first after Kepa laid back Pablo's free kick and the second after a pass from De la Red, were enough to give Michael Laudrup's team their second league win of the season.
Betis are level with Getafe on points after a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Osasuna. Melli headed Puñal's free kick into his own net trying to clear just before the interval, and Dady and Carlos Vela added two more in the first ten minutes of the second half. The local fans called for the head of majority shareholder Manuel Ruiz de Lopera and coach Héctor Cúper after the final whistle.
Finally Recreativo and Racing Santander drew 0-0 in the other match which kicked off on Wednesday. The Andalusians have now gone five matches without scoring, but at least this time they picked up a point. The visitors had the better chances, Tchite in particular missing a couple, but they too settled for a point which keeps them in ninth place. (31.10.07)