Zaragoza's new coach Javier Aguirre got off to a good start with a 1-1 draw at Getafe in the Monday night game, although the result was not enough to take his side off the bottom of the table. The visitors went ahead with just over half an hour on the clock after Codina came way out of his goal trying to clear, Bertolo winning the ball off him and lifting a long shot in to the empty net. The locals came back though shortly after the break, Rafa heading a free kick against the bar before colunga equalised from the penalty spot after a kung-fu style high kick by Sinama-Pongolle on Gavilán. The Maños were left with ten men a few minutes later after Ponzio picked up a rigorous second yellow card, but although Colunga went close a couple of times, Michel's side could not take advantage. (22.11.10)
Espanyol clocked up their sixth straight home win, beating Hércules 3-0 on Sunday to move back up to fourth in the table. After early pressure from the visitors, Verdú opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark after connecting with Osvaldo's pass. Callejón had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside and Luis García fired a long shot just wide, but before the half time whistle Kameni had to make a spectacular save from Trézéguet to keep his side ahead. The result remained in doubt until ten minutes from the end when Calatayud was sent off for bringing down Osvaldo in the area, the striker firing the resulting spot kick past substitute keeper Unai Alba. And with the game coming to an end Espanyol were awarded a second penalty after Alvaro was tripped by Pulhac, this time Luis García stepping up to score.
Atlético Madrid are now sixth after they beat Real Sociedad 2-4, their first ever victory in the Anoeta stadium. Llorente gave the Basque side the lead in the twelfth minute, helping on Griezmann's cross with a little help from Ujfalusi, and with a bit more luck the locals could have increased their lead after that. With twenty minutes to go though Tiago was lucky to be let off a penalty appeal when he handled in the area, and in the following play Reyes sent Agüero away for him to set up Forlán for the equaliser. After that the floodgates opened, Agüero getting on the end of Ujfalusi's cross to score a second and then adding another after Bravo could only deflected Forlán's shot in to his path. Diego Rivas got one back after Simoa lost the ball to Xabi Prieto, but Simao wrapped things up from the penalty spot after Mikel González brought down Reyes in the area.
Sevilla drop out of the European spots though after a 1-2 defeat against Mallorca. Michael Laudrup's side are proving to be one of the revelations of the season, and De Guzmán and Pereira caused some problems for the returning Palop before Pereira ran on to Chori Castro's pass to put the islanders ahead. After that the locals took command, Kanouté, Perotti and Luis Fabiano all failing to find the target either side of half time and Luis Fabiano having a strike ruled out for a previous hand ball. With three minutes to go Luis Fabiano finally squeezed a shot past Aouate to equalise, but two minutes later Webó got on the end of De Guzmán's free kick to head past Palop and silence the crowd.
Changes down at the bottom of the table, Levante moving out of the relegation spots after a 3-1 win over Racing Santander. The result takes the Valencia based side up to fifteenth, level with their opponents in the table. Both keepers were in action before Caicedo ran on to Juanlu's pass to open the scoring midway through the first half. And just three minutes later the on-loan Manchester City striker picked up Stuani's short pass to score for a second time. The Racing players were indignant though as Bolado was lying on the ground injured at the time, and in the ensuing fracas Cisma got himself sent off for kicking an opponent from behind. Shortly before the half time whistle Stuani made it three from close up after Caicedo set him up, and although Lacen connected with a Munitis to cross to get one back late on, the game was laready over.
Málaga drop below Levante in to the bottom three after a 3-0 defeat at Deportivo, who themselves are steadily moving away from the danger zone. The Galicans took the lead with an Adrián penalty after Sandro Silva pulled down Lopo in the area midway through the first half. And although Kris forced Aranzubia in to a good save from a header the locals went further in front when Colotto steered a far post header past Arnau following a corner. The nearest Pellegrini's side came to scoring was when Aythami almost put through his own net, and Depor could have added to their lead a couple of times before substitute Pablo Alvarez made it three after Aranzubia's long clearance was headed on.
Sporting Gijón are now only just above Málaga on goal difference though after losing 1-0 at Osasuna. The Asturians came close to scoring first when Nacho Novo connected with a throw-in to fire a spectacular volley against the bar, but Juan Pablo had to be at his best to push a Nekounam header over the bar from Puñal's free kick. After the restart Ricardo kept out another effort from Novo, but a few minutes later Masoud ran on to Soriano's square pass on a rapid breakaway to score what was to be the only goal of the game. Osasuna end the weekend in eleventh spot with fifteen points, fourteen of which have come at home. (21.11.10)
What a game we have to look forward to next week! Barcelona and Real Madrid set up the big derby match with two massive wins on Saturday evening, distancing themselves even further from the chasing pack. Barcelona beat Almería by a historic 0-8, a result which left the statisticians checking the record books for a similar scoreline. By half time they were already five up, Messi picking up Villa's return pass to open the scoring with a quarter of an hour on the clock, and Iniesta getting the second three minutes later after a defender played the ball in to his path. Acasiete turned Maxwell's cross in to his own net and Pedro made it four following a long pass from debutant Fontás, who was standing in for Piqué in defence. And two minutes later Messi scored his 100th league goal after a quick passing move with Pedro. Guardiola rested Xavi, Iniesta and Pedro after that, and Bojan came on to score twice, helping Maxwell to set up Messi for his hat-trick in between. The result signalled the end for local coach Juanma Lillo, who was fired immediately after the match ended.
Real Madrid responded though by thrashing Athletic Bilbao 5-1 later in the evening to remain a point above their rivals in the table. Higuaín started things off in the twentieth minute, picking up a pass from Di María and holding off two defenders to beat Iraizoz. Casillas did well to save from Llorente, but a minute later Özil played Higuaín's cross in to the path of Cristiano Ronaldo for him to score a second. Ronaldo had a penalty appeal turned down and Higuaín put a good chance wide, but before the half time whistle Llorente got one back after Iraola's mis-kick fell to him, the referee waving away appeals for offside. Ten minutes after the restart though Sergio Ramos restored the two goal cushion from the penalty spot after Di María was tripped by Susaeta in the area, and a few minute later Ronaldo made it four with a trademark free kick which sent Iraizoz the wrong way. After that Javi Martínez hit the bar and Granero had a goal disallowed as Marcelo was offside, and with the game already in injury time Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a second penalty after Amorebieta brought down Granero.
Both sides moved further away from the teams below them after third and fourth placed Villarreal and Valencia cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw. Unai Emery surprised everyone lining up with five defenders, but his side went ahead in the twentieth minute when Aduríz got a foot to Joaquín's cross to turn the ball in off Gonzalo. For the rest of the first half the locals were on the attack, Moyà saving well from Capdevila and Rossi, Cani and Cazorla shooting wide. Nilmar tested Moyà again a couple of times after the restart, and eventually Rossi got ahead of the defence to lift Bruno's cross past the keeper. But although Stankevicius was sent for a second bookable offence by an over-zealous referee, the visiting defence held on for a point which keeps them three points behind their neighbours. (20.11.10)