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Match round-up - First Division, Day 7

Villarreal missed out on a chance to top the table for the first time in their history after they were held to a 2-2 draw by regional neighbours Hércules on Monday night. Valdes got behind the defensive wall to collect a Drenthe free kick and put the locals ahead midway through the first half, but just two minutes later Capdevila latched on to Angel's cross to equalise from close to goal. Trézéguet restored the lead following another Drenthe cross five minutes before the break, but the French striker got himself sent off three minutes later for protesting. After the restart Borja Valero picked up a Cazorla pass to level the scores once again, but he too got his marching orders for a second bookable offence with ten minutes to go, and he was followed down the tunnel a couple of minutes later by his team-mate Musacchio, who was shown a straight red card for elbowing an opponent. Not the result that Villarreal wanted, but the point keeps them second in the table behind Valencia. (18.10.10)

Sunday's games saw Espanyol move up to sixth after a 0-1 victory at Mallorca. The last time the Catalans won in Palma, coach Pochettino was still playing centre back, but they went ahead with a Luis García penalty on the half hour mark after Kevin pushed over the forward inside the area. Just three minutes later though Osvaldo was sent off after catching Crespi with his elbow as they jumped for a high ball, but even with ten men Espanyol continued to dominate, Luis García having an effort cleared off the line soon after the restart, and Verdú and Alvaro Vázquez in particular failing to convert good chances late on. A first away win of the campaign for them though, and their best start to the season in some time.

Sevilla drop out of the European spots though after a 2-0 defeat at Sporting Gijón in the last game on Sunday night. The Asturians started strongly, De las Cuevas bringing a good save out of Palop before Sangoy looped a header over the keeper from Rivera's cross in the sixth minute. For a short while Sevilla treid to get back in the game, Luis Fabiano and Alfaro testing Juan Pablo, but soon after the restart Diego Castro made it two with a clever back-heel flick in off the far post from Carmelo's centre. And in the end the locals could have won by a bigger scoreline, Alexis heading off the line from Sangoy with Palop beaten, Nacho Novo having a goal disallowed and Palop and the woodwork just keeping out Bilic late on.

Zaragoza stay at the bottom of the table after losing 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao, who themselves are now just a point below Sevilla in eighth spot. The Basque side went ahead with just over ten minutes on the clock when Iraola latched on to a loose ball following a corner to drive a low shot past Doblas. And midway through the first half Llorente headed the second after Susaeta crossed in from the right. Susaeta touched a Toquero cross just wide and Gurpegui had a strike disallowed for a borderline offside, and early in the second half the visitors were left with ten men when Pinter picked up a second booking for a foul on Llorente. Athletic couldn't add to their lead though, and with the game already in injury time Braulio got a late consolation for the visitors.

Deportivo are only just above Zaragoza though after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Osasuna. Like the Maños, Lotina's side have yet to win this season, and the coach drafted in Aranzubia in goal to try and turn things around. The keeper had to save early on from Lekic, but he was at fault when Vadócz was allowed to shoot against the post a few minutes later, Laure appearing to clear the ball with his hands. In between Lassad forced Riki in to a good save, and Antonio Tomás fired a shot over the bar from yards out. With ten minutes to go to the break though referee Pérez Lasa sent off Camuñas for something he said, and soon afterwards he ruled out what looked like a good goal from Vadócz, presumably for offside. After that however the Pamplona based side held on throughout the second half for their first away point since the end of January.

Despite the point though Osasuna drop in the bottom three after Racing Santander beat Almería 1-0. The Cantabrians dominated from start to finish, and could have won by a much bigger scoreline had it not been for Diego Alves. The keeper was in action early on to save from Ariel and Kennedy, but he was finally beaten by a long shot from Munitis, his first goal in 18 months. Toño was tested for the first time by Crusat close to the break, but after the restart it was Racing against Alves, who managed to keep out several efforts from Kennedy, Munitis and Rosenberg, who also steered a header against the bar near the end.

Levante climb away from the danger zone as well after a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad. There were no goals in the first half, although Sergio drilled a long shot against the post and De la Bella went close a couple of times for the visitors. With just under an hour gone though Del Horno ran in to head Sergio's corner past Bravo and soon afterwards Juanlu won the ball in his own half and put Caicedo away for him to touch the ball past the keeper for the second. Sarpong headed one back from Xabi Prieto's chipped cross a few minutes later, but despite the best efforts of Llorente the Basque side couldn't find the goal they needed to save a point. (17.10.10)

Real Madrid take over again at the top of the table pending Villarreal's game on Sunday after beating Málaga 1-4 in the last match on Saturday evening. Although the first chance fell to Quincy, Higuaín and Khedira both rattled the woodwork before Higuaín got behind the defence to turn Cristiano Ronaldo's cross past Galatto. With the first half coming to a close Ronaldo connected with Özil's square pass to make it two, and five minutes after the restart the Portuguese forward got his second of the night from the penalty spot after Özil was tripped by Edu Ramos. Kris Stadsgaard did get one back a few minutes later after Higuaín could only head back a Luque corner, but Ronaldo set up Higuaín again soon afterwards hand the Andalusians their fourth home defeat in a row.

Madrid move a point ahead of last week's leaders Valencia, who were beaten 2-1 by Barcelona earlier in the evening. The visitors went ahead a few minutes before half time when Pablo latched on to Mathieu's pass and fired in a shot which deflected off Keita and Valdés in to the net. The local keeper had to be at his best to prevent Pablo from extending the lead a couple of minutes later, but just a minute after the restart Iniesta picked up a return pass from Xavi to equalise. César did well to keep out a Villa header minutes later, and with just over an hour gone Puyol powered another header past the keeper from Xavi's cross. The Catalans could have added to their lead after that had César not kept out Messi and Villa, but they had already done enough to take three important points which takes them level with their opponents in the table.

Atlético Madrid kicked off the weekend with a 2-0 win over city neighbours Getafe, a result which takes them up to fifth place in the table. The visitors had the better of the opening minutes, with Colunga and Parejo testing De Gea and Manu shooting just wide. But Reyes and Simao went close at the other end, and with seven minutes to go to half time the locals went ahead when Simao's free kick came back off the post and deflected in to the net off the back of the unfortunate Codina. Casquero and Manu tried their luck after the restart, but with just over a quarter of an hour to go Reyes sent Valera away for him to set up Diego Costa for his side's second. (16.10.10)