A late goal by Higuaín gave Real Madrid a 0-1 victory at Sporting Gijón on Sunday evening, a result which kept Mourinho's side a point clear of rivals Barcelona at the top of the table. There was a hostile atmosphere after heated exchanges midweek between the two managers, although their paths didn't cross in the stadium as Mourinho was banned and watched the game from a private box. His side had the better of the opening minutes though, Higuaín hitting the post and Özil and Higuaín both pulled up for borderline offsides when free on goal. Diego Costa had a couple of efforts blocked close to half time, but after the restart local keeper Juan Pablo had to be at his best to keep out Di María, Higuaín and substitute Benzema. With eight minutes to go though Juan Pablo could only push out a header from Benzema, giving Higuaín the easiest of tap-ins, and a great save in the dying minutes by Casillas from Barral's header ensured a sixth win in a row for the Merengues.
Later in the evening Valencia beat Getafe 2-0 to move up back up to fourth in the table. Things could have been different had Moyà not saved from Manu in the fourth minute, but soon afterwards Tino Costa controlled a return pass from Mata on his chest and fired a first time volley past Codina. There was little action after that however until well in to the second half, when David Navarro made it two after Codina had blocked his first header from a Tino Costa free kick. But then Valencia turned it on, with Soldado forcing Codina in to a good save, Joaquín hitting the post and young substitute Isco going close. An end though to Valencia's run of four games without a win, but Getafe's problems continue, Michel's side now without a victory in their last six matches in all competitions, incuding two cup games against third division Portugalete.
Sevilla stay level with Valencia on points after a last minute 1-2 win over struggling Zaragoza. The game got off to a slow start, but with just under half an hour on the clock Kanouté slipped the ball through for Luis Fabiano to beat Doblas from a wide angle. Gay brought on Marco Pérez and Bertolo at the break though, and Bertolo in particular changed things, bringing a spectacular save out of Javi Varas before equalising with a header from Gabi's corner. Marco Pérez and Alfaro had penalty appeals turned down, and Negredo headed a good chance over the top before his side were left with ten men after Fernando Navarro was sent off for a foul on Braulio. But with a draw seemingly on the cards a mistake by Jarosik let Negredo through to score a late winner, leaving the home side once again back at the foot of the table.
There were very few goals this weekend though, the match between Racing Santander and Espanyol one of two which ended 0-0. The two sides came in to the game with different objectives, the locals needing to recover from their midweek cup defeat against Córdoba and the visitors looking to build on a good start to the season which has seen them up to fourth place. The early chances fell to the Catalans, Toño doing well to save from Callejón and Osvaldo firing an acrobatic scissors kick over the top. With half an hour on the clock however, referee Ramirez Domínguez awarded a penalty to the visitors after Javi López tripped Cisma just outside of the area, but Kameni stood his ground and beat away Ariel's penalty kick. After the break both sides had their chances, Toño saving a header from Osvaldo and Kameni responding with a block on Rosenberg, but in the end both teams settled for a point.
A 0-0 draw as well between Mallorca and Deportivo, a result which favours the visitors who are now two points above the drop zone. Depor's five man defence hasn't been letting much through recently, and the locals didn't trouble Aranzubia until Nsue's header brushed the post later on in the first half. Soon afterwards Pereira crashed a shot against the crossbar, but the Galicians responded with efforts from Riki and Lopo which just failed to find the target. After the interval Webó went close a couple of times and Aranzubia had to come out of his area to clear from Cavenaghi, but this one was always going to end goal-less.
Hércules are now a point above Deportivo after coming from a goal down to beat Real Sociedad 2-1. The Basque side took the lead on the quarter hour mark after Carlos Martínez headed a Xabi Prieto towards goal, Cortés only managing to head the ball up off the bar allowing Griezmann to score from close up. The young French forward almost scored a second when another header came back off the bar soon afterwards, but just two minutes after the restart the locals drew level when Trézéguet slid Kiko's cross past Bravo. And four minutes later Drentha curled a long free kick in to the near top corner of the net to keep the Alicante based side clear of the drop zone for the time being.
New coach Manuel Pellegrini is starting to turn Málaga's season around, and after the last minute midweek cup win, his side beat fellow strugglers Levante 1-0 to move off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation spots altogether. The visitors had the better of the first half, Caicedo in particular heading over from a couple of yards out and then charging down an Arnau clearance, the ball flying just over the crossbar. A couple of minutes after the restart Juanlu headed against the bar, but Gámez replied with a header from a free kick which Reina turned against the post. And a few minutes later Eliseu scored what was to prove the only goal with a long shot which squeezed past the keeper on the near post. Valdo almost equalised late on with another header which Arnau pushed up on to the bar, but the locals held on to take their first points at home this season. (14.11.10)
La Liga looks more and more like being a two horse race once again after Barcelona beat third placed Villarreal 3-1 on Saturday evening. In recent seasons the visitors had come away from the Nou Camp with a point or more, but midway through the first half Xavi and Iniesta combined to send Villa through to open the scoring. A few minutes later a Pedro strike was incorrectly ruled offside by referee Delgado Ferreiro, and almost immediately Nilmar burst through at the other end to equalise. For the rest of the first half Villarreal were on top, but after the restart Barça wrested back the control, and Messi restored the lead after a rapid passing move with Pedro following a quickly taken free kick. This time the visitors had no response, and with seven minutes to go Messi wrapped things up after Pedro's shot was deflected by Capdevila. Guardiola's side go top pending Real Madrid's game tomorrow, now five points clear of their opponents in the table.
Atlético Madrid are now fifth after a 3-0 victory over Osasuna, thanks largely to Diego Forlán who scored his first goals since the second weekend of the season. The Uruguayan striker opened the scoring with just under half an hour on the clock after Ricardo could only push out a shot from Agüero, and he set up the second for Agüero shortly before half time with a lofted cross which his strike partner only had to head in to an empty net. In between De Gea had got a hand to a shot from Aranda and Ricardo had kept out a header from Tiago, and De Gea had to be on his toes to save from Masoud and Monreal after the restart. The visitors were left with ten men though when Monreal picked up a second yellow card, and a few minutes later Forlán put the result beyond doubt with his second goal of the night.
Earlier in the evening Athletic Bilbao beat Almería 1-0 to move up to eighth in the table. San José should have given the Basque side the lead in the fifth minute after Juanma Ortíz gave away a penalty on Gurpegui, but Diego Alves guessed correctly and saved the defender's spot kick. Five minutes later though Llorente gave the keeper little chance when he volleyed home a cross from Igor Martínez, and Koikili and Llorente could both have added to the scoreline before half time. Just before the break though Koikili was sent off for a second bookable offence, and his replacement Castillo was also red-carded with twenty minutes to go for a hard tackle on Goitom as he advanced on goal. However despite the numerical advantage the visitors hardly troubled Iraizoz after that, and they ended the day just a place above the relegation spots. (13.11.10)