First division - day 7
Valencia moved two points clear at the top of the table after a 4-0 victory over Numancia. David Villa put them ahead early on, running on to score past Juan Pablo after an effort from Morientes was blocked, and Mata took advantage of a defensive mistake to make it two midway through the second half. Vicente got the third later on after picking up a pass from Mata, and Villa wrapped things up after running on to a high pass from Manuel Fernandes to lob the ball over the head of the keeper.
Sevilla are up to second, ahead of Villarreal on goal difference, after beating local rivals Almería 0-1 in the last match of the evening. With all four strikers injured, Manolo Jiménez was forced to put out a makeshift side. But they still clocked up their fifth win of the season thanks to Adriano's volley after the local defence headed clear a Maresca corner midway through the second half.
Barcelona moved back above Real Madrid to fourth spot after a 0-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao. With one eye on the upcoming Champions League match, Guardiola left Messi, Xavi and Puyol out of his line up. And Víctor Valdés had to make a couple of vital saves from dangerous free kicks before Eto'o picked up an assist from Henry and ran on past Amorebieta to score.
The top five have opened up a five point gap over the rest, and Málaga are now a surprise seventh after beating Getafe 2-1. Soldado picked up a long punt from Pato to give the visitors the lead in the tenth minute, but Baha headed Duda's free kick past the keeper to equalise on the half hour mark. And before the interval Duda turned a long Jesús Gámez cross in to the net to make it three wins in a row for the Andalusians.
Racing Santander and Deportivo have important UEFA Cup ties midweek, and the two sides seemed happy to play out a 0-0 draw and save their strength for Thursday. Both hit the woodwork though, Luccin for the locals from a first half free kick, and Juan Rodríguez for the visitors with a shot against the bar after the break. Luccin was sent off near the end for a second bookable offence.
Changes at the bottom of the table, where Betis moved clear of the relegation spots after beating Mallorca 3-0. Damià opened the scoring after running on to Mehmet's long pass in the first minute, and Emaná set up Pavone for the second shortly before the interval. And Emaná latched on to Sergio García's pass late on to make it three and ensure his side's first victory of the season.
Sporting Gijón are also out of the drop zone after a 2-1 win over Osasuna. Carmelo headed them in to the lead from a Luis Morán free kick with ten minutes gone, and although Ezquerro equalised three minutes later, Bilic put the Asturians back in front from the penalty spot after Roversio was sent off for a foul on the striker. It was a first defeat for Osasuna's new coach Camacho, who took over from Ziganda midweek.
Recreativo also had a new man in charge, Lucas Alcaraz returning to Huelva after Zambrano was dismissed a few days ago. And his side came close to victory before coming away from Valladolid with a 1-1 draw. Marco Rubén ran on to Aitor's long ball to give the Andalusians the lead on the stroke of half time, but veteran striker Víctor made it all square with only a couple of minutes left on the clock. (19.10.08)
An action packed derby saw Real Madrid win 1-2 against Atlético Madrid thanks to a last second penalty. Bernd Schuster's side took the lead when Van Nistelrooy beat Leo Franco with less than a minute on the clock, and they could have gone further ahead when Sneijder hit the bar and Van Nistelrooy had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside. Perea and Van Nistelrooy were both sent off for aggressive tackles before the break, but Simao appeared to have saved a point for the locals when he equalised in the last minute of normal time. However the visitors were awarded a spot kick in injury time after Heitinga brought down Drenthe, and Higuaín drilled a shot past Leo Franco to take his side up to second.
Villarreal are in first place though pending Sunday's games after a 0-0 draw at Espanyol. Llorente and Rossi went close for the visitors in the first half, but Tamudo had a goal ruled out for offside and Diego López did well to save from De la Peña at the other end. The locals were awarded a penalty midway through the second half when Capdevila fouled Tamudo on the edge of the area, but the visiting keeper saved Tamudo's spot kick. And Kameni also had a couple of stops to make from Pires and Senna before the referee called it quits. (18.10.08)