First division - day 11
Only one point separates three teams at the top of the table after Sunday's matches. Barcelona comfortably beat struggling Betis 3-0, with Henry hitting the post before opening the scoring after Iniesta set him up on the half hour mark. And Ronaldinho converted two free kicks later on, the first over the top of the defensive wall soon after the restart and the second with a deflection past Ricardo in injury time. The result leaves the Andalusians in the relegation spots. .
Villarreal won a thrilling match at Atlético Madrid by 3-4 to stay level on points with Barça in the table. The locals went two up with a Pablo header and a Simao strike early on, but goals from Rossi and Fuentes levelled the scores by the interval. Maxi missed a penalty before Agüero headed Atlético back into the lead, but Nihat equalised soon afterwards, and then struck the winner from a wide angle with only a minute left on the clock.
Atlético drop down to fifth, a point and a place above Espanyol who drew 1-1 at Racing Santander. The Cantabrians thought they had done enough to move ahead of their opponents after Tchite scored ten minutes in to the second half, the Congolese striker following up after Kameni had pushed Garay's penalty on to the post. But Tamudo converted a second penalty in the last minute after Luis Fernández brought down Luis García to extend his side's unbeaten run to seven games.
Zaragoza missed out on the chance to close in on the European spots after losing 2-3 to Valladolid. Oliveira put them ahead with just under a quarter of an hour gone, but Mendilibar produced a masterly substitution midway through the first half, Víctor coming on to score twice within five minutes. Alvaro Rubio added an impressive third just three minutes later after a tight dribble through the defence, and Diego Milito's last strike came too late to alter the result.
Valladolid move out of the drop zone on a day when the bottom three teams all won. Getafe are also out of the relegation spots after a 0-2 win at Osasuna, a ground where they took the three points as well last season. The locals had Cruchaga sent off with a quarter of an hour to go, and Michael Laudrup's side took advantage, Pablo converting a penalty and Granero adding a second in the last ten minutes.
Levante produced the surprise of the day though, their 3-0 victory over Almería finally getting their campaign on track after one of the worst starts ever. Riganò was the man who did the damage, a first half hat-trick doubling the number of goals his side had scored all season.
Deportivo climbed away from the danger zone after beating Murcia 0-2, their first win in four games. Both goals came in quick breakaways after the break, Xisco starting things off with a long gallop from midfield and Guardado got the second after running on to a long clearance from Dudu Aouate.
Athletic Bilbao recorded their first home win of the season, beating Recreativo 2-0 to leave the Andalusians down in the the relegation spots. Etxeberría got both the goals in an eight minute period in the second half, the first being his 100th goal in the league in his 400th game with the Basque side. (04.11.07)
A week is a long time in football they say, but sometimes even three days can be an eternity! Real Madrid were brought back to Earth after the thrashing of Valencia midweek, Bernd Schuster's side losing 2-0 at Sevilla on Saturday evening. Both goals came in a three minute period midway through the first half, Keita opening the scoring with a cracking shot from outside of the area and Luis Fabiano adding the second after Casillas could only parry an effort from Kanouté. Madrid ended with ten men after ex Sevilla defender Sergio Ramos was sent off for a second bookable offence just five minutes in to the second half.
Meanwhile Valencia bounced back from their upset to beat Mallorca 0-2 and move back up to the Champions League spots. Morientes got both the goals, the first on the stroke of half time after Lux misread Miguel's cross, and the second after the restart following good work by David Silva. And all that before new manager Ronald Koeman had even taken over! (03.11.07)