First division - day 14
Second placed Villarreal failed to keep up with leaders Real Madrid after losing 2-0 at Valladolid on Sunday evening. Pellegrini's side were never really in the game, and they fell behind in the eighteenth minute when Llorente guided a header wide of Viera from Sisi's cross. Young keeper Sergio Asenjo was making his first appearance this season for the locals, and he did well to keep out Nihat before the break. But Víctor poked home Sesma's cross to make it two after the restart, and Llorente could have increased the lead when Viera tipped his header over the bar later on.
Atlético Madrid are up to fourth after beating Betis 0-2, a result which cost the head of local coach Héctor Cúper who was fired shortly after the match ended. Reyes hit the bar with a free kick before Forlán controlled a lofted pass from Agüero to beat Ricardo with just over half an hour gone. Leo Franco had to make a couple of important saves from Somoza and Sobis after the restart, but with the game coming to an end Raúl García fired a low shot past the keeper at the second attempt to wrap things up.
Valencia's situation is going from bad to worse, and they dropped to sixth in the table after a 0-3 defeat to Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side made the early running, and they went ahead when Yeste curled a free kick past Cañizares on the half hour mark. And Llorente added two more after the restart, the first a header from David López's cross and the second a shot on the turn in the last minute, to give the visitors their first win in the Mestalla stadium in twenty years.
Mallorca stay in eighth spot after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Murcia. The Islanders fell behind when Iñigo volleyed a shot past Lux midway through the first half. But after Güiza had a goal disallowed for offside and Arango had a penalty appeal turned down, substitute Webó saved them a point with a well placed header from Ibagaza's free kick.
Zaragoza are not having the best of seasons, and coach Víctor Fernández is under pressure after his side lost 2-1 to Recreativo. Diego Milito put them ahead in the twentieth minute after picking up a pass from Aimar, but Martins equalised with a long shot just five minutes later. And although César saved a Martins penalty before the break after Juanfran handled in the area, Camuñas whipped the ball back in for Martins to score his second of the night.
The result takes Recreativo out of the relegation spots to the detriment of Deportivo, who lost 1-2 at home to Osasuna. Lotina's side have only taken four points at home all season, and they went behind when Plasil volleyed an impressive shot past Aouate just two minutes in to the second half. Rubén Castro appeared to have saved a point when he finished off after Taborda headed on a corner, but a last minute Dady free kick gave the Pamplona based side the three points.
Bottom club Levante sink further behind the rest after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Getafe. Riga gave them the lead with a quarter of an hour on the clock after Abbondanzieri could only parry his penalty kick back into his path. But a serious injury to Descarga unsettled the side, and Braulio scored twice in the last half hour to give Michael Laudrup's team the victory. The only good news was that Descarga was safe and recovering in hospital. (02.12.07) .
Real Madrid extended their lead at the top after beating Racing Santander 3-1, their fifteenth win in a row at home. Within ten minutes Bernd Schuster's side were two up, Raúl running on to Van Nistelrooy's through ball to open the scoring and Sergio Sánchez turning Sneijder's cross into his own net soon afterwards. Smolarek hit the post as Racing fought back, but midway through the second half Raúl got his second of the night with a free kick which found it's way through an opening in the defensive wall. Munitis got one back a couple of minutes later after Tchité set him up, but it was too late to prevent the Cantabrians falling to their first defeat in nine games.
Meanwhile Espanyol and Barcelona drew 1-1 in a hard fought derby, which was made all the more interesting by the fact that they started the weekend in fourth and third spots respectively. Iniesta gave Frank Rijkaard's side an early lead after a good run by Messi down the right wing, and Xavi and Bojan both hit the bar before the break. However substitute Corominas got on the end of Riera's cross to equalise midway through the second half, and Kameni kept out efforts from Ronaldinho (who started the match on the bench) and Messi later on.
Sevilla were brought down to earth after their Champions League win over Arsenal midweek, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Almería leaving them below their opponents down in the bottom half of the table. The hero of the night was local keeper Diego Alves, in the side as Cobeño was not allowed to play under his loan contract, and he made important saves from Navas, Kanouté and Capel in the first hour or so. Sevilla's Daniel Alves was sent off for a second bookable offence in the first minute of the second half, and Acasiete headed the only goal from Corona's free kick near the end. (01.12.07)