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Match round-up - First Division, Day 9

Mallorca are up to seventh, level on points with sixth placed Atlético Madrid and eighth placed Sevilla, after coming from behind to beat Levante 2-1 on Monday night. Cavenaghi went close a couple of times and De Guzmán fired a shot against the bar in the opening minutes, but with just under half an hour on the clock Stuani headed the visitors in to the lead from Valdo's cross. Reina did well to save from Pereira and Víctor headed wide either side of half time, but twenty minutes in to the second half Nsue headed across a long ball in to the area for Pereira to turn a shot past the keeper and level the scores. Mallorca pushed for the winner, and with six minutes to go substitute Webó got above Ballestros on the near post to head De Guzmán's corner past Reina. Only nine goals from nine matches, but (like Espanyol) they have made them all count. (01.11.10)

Villarreal extended their unbeaten run to eight games, although they drop down the table to third after drawing 1-1 at Sporting Gijón. In the end though they were grateful for a point after equalising in the second minute of injury time. It was a rainy Sunday evening in most of Spain, and although the wet conditions made play difficult at times, there were several chances in a goal-less first 45 minutes. Midway through the second half though Diego Castro put the Asturians ahead from the penalty spot after Gonzalo handled in the area, and Gonzalo himself was sent off a few minutes later after picking up a second booking. De las Cuevas brought a good save out of Diego López and then fired another shot against the upright as the locals looked to wrap things up, but with the final whistle approaching Marchena was held back by Eguren in the area, and Rossi stepped up to equalise from the penalty spot.

As it happened, none of the six teams immediately below Real Madrid and Barcelona managed to win, and it is already starting to look like the usual "Scottish league" two-horse race. Espanyol stay in fifth place despite a 3-0 defeat at Deportivo, the Galicians' first victory of the season. Local coach Miguel Angel Lotina knew that this was probably his last chance, and his team helped him out with a confident display in the pouring rain. Lotina fell back on his old plan of five defenders, and with just under half an hour gone they took the lead, Adrián beating Cristian Alvarez after Colotto headed back Saúl's corner. Incredibly it was the first goal by a Depor forward this season. With a quarter of an hour to go Lopo turned in a cross from Colotto to make it two and a few minutes before the end Colotto himself scored the third to round off a good evening for him and his side.

Atlético Madrid are back in to the European spots, although they will be less than happy with their 1-1 draw against struggling Almería. Diego Forlán and Kun Agüero were together in the starting line up for the first time in some time, and both had chances early on. Reyes had a penalty appeal turned down and Kalu Uche hit the post at the other end, but with just under half an hour on the clock Agüero opened the scoring after Diego Alves could only push out a header from Reyes. That was the only time that the Brazilian keeper was beaten though, and he was to make a string of excellent saves after that to keep his team in the game. Three minutes before the break though De Gea did well to tip over another shot from Uche, and from the resulting corner the ball was picked up by Piatti who fired a long shot past the keeper to round off a good week for Juanma Lillo's side.

Later in the evening Athletic Bilbao beat Getafe 3-0 to climb above their opponents to eighth. Within twelve minutes the Basque side were two up, Iraola drilling a low shot in to the bottom corner of the net after Toquero's cross was only partly cleared, and San José converting a penalty after Rafa barged into Muniain as he ran in to the area. Both keepers were in action as the rain closed in later in the first half, Iraizoz saving well at the feet of Colunga, and Codina punching over a wide free kick from Susaeta. Llorente uncharacteristically missed a couple of chances, but with seven minutes to go Gabilondo picked up a square pass from fellow substitute Davi López to round things off. After the week he's had, Michel will be happy to get back to Madrid!

Only two points separate fifth placed Espanyol from tenth placed Real Sociedad though after the Basque side beat Málaga 1-2. Jesualdo Ferreira's team have lost all their matches at home, and although they had the better chances in the first half they went behind when Llorente put Griezmann through for him shoot low under Arnau. And ten minutes after the restart it appeared to be already over when Llorente headed the second from a Xabi Prieto cross. However half time substitute Edinho hit the bar, and a few minutes later the locals were awarded a penalty when Seba Fernández was brought down in the area. Bravo saved Apoño's penalty and his follow up however, and although a minute or so later youngster Juanmi got on the end of a Jesús Gámez cross to finally beat the keeper, it was too little too late.

The defeat leaves Málaga in the bottom three after Racing Santander beat Osasuna by an impressive 4-1. It has been a good weekend for all the managers who have been in trouble, Gay, Lotina, Lillo and Racing's Miguel Angel Portugal, who saw his Swedish contingent put his team back on track. Kennedy opened the scoring with a furious free kick which Ricardo could only punch in to his own net, and Rosenberg made it two later in the first half with a long shot which curled away from the keeper. Nekounam got one back from the penalty spot just before the hour mark after Torrejón handled in the area. But the defender made up for his mistake, heading across a Kennedy corner for Rosenberg to score his second of the evening soon afterwards, and then completing the scoreline with a header from another Kennedy corner with five minutes to go. (31.10.10)

Real Madrid made sure of top spot for another week after coming from a goal down to beat Hércules 1-3. The Alicante based side had already beaten Barcelona and Sevilla this season, and they went ahead in only the third minute when Trézéguet headed a David Cortés cross wide of Casillas. Calatayud did well to keep out Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuaín a few minutes later, but the locals could have extended their lead had Casillas not come out quickly to block another header from Trézéguez. Seven minutes after the restart though Calatayud failed to hold on to a bouncing shot from Ronaldo and Di María nipped in quickly to drill home the rebound. With a quarter of an hour to go Mourinho went for broke, bringing on Benzema for Pepe, and it proved an inspired move. The out of favour French striker created two goals in four minutes for Ronaldo, and Ronaldo could have completed a hat-trick had he not missed the target after rounding the keeper.

Barcelona stay a point behind Madrid after an impressive 5-0 win over Sevilla later in the evening. Guardiola lined up with his eight World Cup winners plus Messi, Alves and Abidal, and they produced the type of football which has been at times lacking this season. Within four minutes Messi had given them the lead after Javi Varas could only push out a shot from Pedro. And although Luis Fabiano and Diego Capel tried their luck, Barça went further ahead when Messi turned past two markers and played the ball out wide for David Villa to curl a shot past Varas. A minute before half time the visitors were left with ten men after Konko picked up a second booking, and soon after the restart a poor headed back pass from Romaric allowed Dani Alves to nip in and score against his old club. Messi netted the fourth after winning the ball in midfield and releasing a low shot with five defenders trailing in his wake, and Villa completed the scoring in the last minute after picking up a pass from Busquets.

Valencia have run out steam recently though, and once again they disappointed their home fans after drawing 1-1 with bottom club Zaragoza. Lanzaro volleyed the visitors in to the lead in the third minute after Jarosik played back in a corner. And although Ricardo Costa hit the post a few minutes later, Moyà had to be at his best to keep out Lafita and Braulio as Zaragoza dominated play. With three minutes to go to the break though Valencia got a bit of luck, Lanzaro heading a long cross from Mata past his own keeper and in to the net. Topal almost put the home side ahead after Doblas misread Vicente's free kick, his shot cleared off the line by a defender. But even after Ander Herrera was rather harshly shown a straight red for a trip on Mata, Unai Emery's side hardly troubled the visiting keeper for the rest of the match. (30.10.10)