Sevilla missed out on a chance to join Real Madrid and Valencia at the top of the table when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Racing Santander on Thursday evening. Negredo put the Andalusians ahead from the penalty spot after Toño came out of his goal to punch the ball and only succeeded in hitting Alfaro. A few minutes earlier Perotti had hit the post from a wide free kick, and ten minutes before the break the Argentinian midfielder could have scored a second when free on goal, Toño doing well to keep out the shot. Racing got back in the game though, Arana testing Palop with a header before Pinillos equalised with a spectacular volley after Zokora could only head Adrián's cross in to his path. After that the locals hardly troubled the visiting keeper, and only a last minute save from Palop prevented Diop from scoring the winner. Antonio Alvarez's side are still unbeaten in the league, but their fans expected more and there were boos and whistles when the players left the pitch at the end.
Sevilla are now fifth, a point behind Barcelona and Villarreal, who won 1-0 against Deportivo earlier in the evening. Angel had to clear ahead of Desmarets early on, but otherwise the home side dominated, with Rossi shooting just wide a few minutes later. With just over half an hour on the clock Angel passed in for Nilmar to fire in an angled shot off the far post, his fourth in the league this season taking him to the top of the Pichichi chart. And they could have increased the lead after that, Nilmar looping a header over the bar and Senna and Capdevila bringing good saves out of Manu either side of half time. Diego López made his first and only save from Juan Rodríguez early in the second half, but Rossi and Cazorla both had further chances for the locals later on. A third league win in a row for Juan Carlos Garrido's side, and a first defeat for the Galicians after three draws in a row.
Elsewhere Málaga pulled off another surprise, beating Getafe 0-2 to clock up their second away win in a row. The Andalusians nearly went ahead before the break, Codina having to save from Quicy and Cata Díaz clearing Apoño's follow up off the line. Arizmendi tested Rubén (málaga's third keeper this season) and Colunga shot wide, but Codina had to be on his toes to push a shot from Rondón over the bar shortly before half time. Soon after the restart Rondón got the first of the night on a quick breakaway after Sandro put him through, and just eight minutes later a lob from Eliseu came back off the post, and Rafa brought down the winger in the area after he collected the rebound. The defender was sent off after picking up a second booking for the foul, and Apoño fired the resulting penalty past the keeper for his side's second. Numbers were evened up five minutes later from Jesús Gámez also picked up a second yellow card, but Málaga could have scored again had Codina not kept out a shot from Quincy late on. (23.09.10)
It looks as if Barcelona have a hard season ahead of them. After losing their opening game at home, they were only able to beat a much changed Sporting Gijón 1-0 on Wednesday night, a far cry from their successes from last year. Guardiola still put out a strong side despite missing the injured Messi, but apart from a couple of efforts by Villa and Iniesta which Cuéllar kept out, they were unable to break through a heavily manned defence. Five minutes after the restart though Villa picked up a Dani Alves pass to fired a shot past the keeper, Barça's first league goal in the Nou Camp coming after 140 minutes of football. That should have opened things up, but Sporting resisted to the end, and although Villa went close a couple of times against his old side, the result was in doubt until the final whistle.
Barça will end the mid-week round of games just a point behind the leaders though after Valencia were held to a 1-1 draw by Atlético Madrid later in the evening. Both sides had chances before Diego Forlán sent Antonio López away for him to set up Simao for the opener with just under twenty minutes gone. Forlán could have scored a second a few minutes later, but Mata went close for the home side either side of half time. It was end to end stuff after that, Forlán and Raúl García missing chances for the visitors, and De Gea making first class saves from Soldado and Mata. But with seven minutes to go Aduríz got on the end of Albelda's cross to steer in a header which even the young keeper couldn't reach. In the end a point each for two of the most on-form teams of the moment.
There were very few goals on Wednesday though, and none at all at the Romareda stadium where Zaragoza and Hércules drew 0-0. The stars of the match though were the two keepers, Calatayud in particular pushing an early Bertolo header on to the post and then doing well to keep out a Sinama-Pongolle free kick. Leo Franco responded with saves from Tote before the break and Trézéguet and Drenthe after the restart, and Jarosik rattled the crossbar with a long shot. The locals could have won it in the end though, Marco Pérez failing to convert two good chances in the dying minutes.
Zaragoza find themselves at the bottom of the table though for the first time in eight years after Levante beat Almería 0-1. Ex Depor and Espanyol midfielder Sergio got the only goal after Rubén Suárez set him up close to half time to give the Valencia based side their first points of the season. Otherwise though it was Lillo's side who did all the attacking, with Piatti missing a couple of chances early on and Reina (substituting Munúa for this match) making important saves from Ulloa, Piatti and Carlos García after the interval. Almería drop below their opponents in the table having only picked up two points to date. (22.09.10)
An intense programme of midweek games this week, Real Madrid kicking things off with a 3-0 win over Espanyol on Tuesday night. There was little action until Luis García blocked a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick with his hand midway through the first half, Ronaldo converting the kick at the second attempt. A few minutes after the restart Madrid were left with ten men when Pepe picked up two bookings in five minutes, but less than a minute later numbers were evened up when Galán was shown a straight red for a hard tackle on Ronaldo. With ten minutes to go Madrid made it two, Higuaín collection Ronaldo's cross and steering a shot inside Kameni's near post, and soon afterwards substitute Benzema picked up a short pass from Lass to complete the scoring. Espanyol ended the match with nine men after Forlín was also sent off for a second bookable offence.
Madrid return to the top of the table pending the rest of the week's matches, and Athletic Bilbao are up to fourth after beating Michael Laudrup's Mallorca 3-0 earlier in the evening. The first real chance didn't come until late in the first half when Aouate had to save from Igor, but with the first half coming to a close the keeper didn't read a cross from David López correctly, and the ball bounced past everyone in to the net. With an hour on the clock the locals were awarded a penalty after a header from Llorente hit his marker Nunes on the arm, and San José stepped up to make it two. And with the game in injury time Aouate could only push out a shot by Llorente from Susaeta's cross, and young substitute Iñigo Pérez turned the rebound in to the net.
Osasuna clocked up their first victory of the season, coming from behind to beat neighbours Real Sociedad 3-1. The visitors opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark against the run of play, Tamudo collecting the ball after Puñal could only head back Bravo's long clearance. But before the break Camacho's side had turned the scoreline around, Pandiani heading Monreal's cross past Bravo for his team's first goal of the new campaign, and Camuñas poking a shot back in to the net from Juanfran's cross. Lekic fired a chance wide and Griezmann and Tamudo both went close after the restart, but Aranda wrapped things up when he ran in from the right to head Soriano's lofted cross in on the far post. (21.09.10)