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Match round-up - First Division, Day 14

Deportivo beat Hércules 1-0 in the Monday night game to move above their opponents to twelfth in the table. The Galicians had the better of the first half, with Rubén Pérez shooting wide and Calatayud having to save from Urreta and Saúl. Valdez tested Aranzubia shortly before the break, but Calatayud had to be on his toes to keep out Adrián soon after the restart. And with twenty minutes remaining substitute Lassad headed in the winner after Colotto headed back Saúl's wide free kick. Portillo did go close after that, but Depor held on for a third home win in a row. (06.12.10)

Villarreal consolidated third spot with a 1-0 victory over Sevilla on Sunday evening, the result maintaining their unbeaten home record this season. Juan Carlos Garrido's side dominated the first half, with Rossi having a strike ruled out for a possible hand ball by Nilmar, Nilmar himself being pulled up for a borderline offside when free on goal, and Cazorla bringing a first class save out of Palop before Nilmar ran on to Rossi's pass to open the scoring. The Andalusians came back after the break though, with Kanouté and Negredo both getting the ball in the net only to be thwarted by dubious offside decisions. And in the end it was up to Diego López to ensure the three points for his side, the local keeper making vital stops from Kanouté, Navarro and Alfaro as the visitors pushed for the equaliser.

Espanyol remain two points behind Villarreal in fourth place after they too won 1-0 against Sporting Gijón. The Asturians were in desperate need of points, and Sangoy could have done better early on when free in front of Kameni. Osvaldo had a goal ruled out for offside and Javi Márquez fired a spectacular volley just wide in reply, but six minutes after the restart the Catalans were left with ten men when Raúl Baena was sent off after picking up a rigorous second yellow card. Luis Morán lobbed a shot just over the bar and Carmelo fired another effort wide of the mark as the visitors tried to take advantage of the extra man. However with twenty minutes to go Luis García ran on to Osvaldo's lofted pass to score what was to prove the only goal, keeping up his team's 100% record at home.

Real Sociedad move up to sixth after beating neighbours Athletic Bilbao 2-0 in the first Basque derby between the two sides in four years. A friendly crowd saw the locals take the lead with a twice taken Xabi Prieto penalty after San José had handled the ball in the area. Griemann could have scored again soon afterwards when he got past Iraizoz only to fire a shot against the post, and Susaeta replied for the visitors with a long shot just wide of the upright. Four minutes after the restart though the unfortunate San José turned a Xabi Prieto cross in to his own net, and Iraizoz had to be on his toes to keep out a Griezmann free kick a few minutes later. Both Llorentes, Fernando and Joseba, headed over for their respective sides after that, but the scoreline remained unchanged.

Mallorca drop out of the European spots though after a 3-0 defeat at Getafe. Michel's team needed a good result after their midweek elimination from the Europa League, and after a period of pressure Pedro Ríos put them ahead with an impressive shot inside the far post. And with just under half an hour on the clock Ríos made it two after Miku laid the ball back in to his path. The visitors did their best to get back in the game, De Guzmán and Chori Castro forcing good saves out of Codina either side of half time, and Webó and Castro having penalty appeals turned down after the interval. But with twelve minutes to go substitute Víctor Sánchez controlled a long pass from Ríos to set up Dani Parejo for the third, taking the Madrid based side to within a point of their opponents in the table.

Almería and Zaragoza stay down at the foot of the table after cancelling each other out in a 1-1 draw. The early chances fell to the visitors., although the best of all was for Goitom, who somehow steered his shot straight at Leo Franco with the goal at his mercy. Bertolo and Lafita put Diego Alves to the test, and Franco was called upon again to keep out Kalu Uche and Corona close to half time. Zaragoza took the lead though with a Gabi penalty midway through the second half after Rigo had tripped Lafita, but ten minutes later Piatti headed the equaliser from Uche's cross to make it a point apiece for new coaches Oltra and Aguirre.

Málaga climb out of the relegation zone though after a convincing 4-1 win over Racing Santander. Eliseu opened the scoring for the Andalusians with a spectacular first time volley from Duda's corner, and Recio got the second with a shot from outside of the area which took a deflection off a defender. Rosenberg got one back with a low shot on the stroke of half time, but Rondón connected with crosses from Eliseu to score twice at the start of the second half, taking Pellegrini's side to within a point of the Cantabrians in the table. (05.12.10)

The Saturday night fixtures were all affected by a wildcat strike by Spanish air traffic controllers, with the three away teams having to travel to their games by road and rail. Barcelona left it late to make their trip to Pamplona to play Osasuna, and kick off was delayed by 45 minutes as a result. It didn't affect them though as they ran out 0-3 winners, with Pedro picking up a pass from Messi to open the scoring midway though the first half. Messi hit the post a couple of minutes later and Messi and Pedro both brought good saves out of Ricardo either side of half time, and with twenty minutes gone in the second half Messi ran on to Villa's through ball to score the second. The locals never really looked like getting back in the match, and Messi wrapped it up from the penalty spot with seven minutes to go after Sergio brought him down in the area.

Real Madrid stay two points behind their rivals after a 2-0 victory over Valencia later in the evening. Mourinho changed his formation to a 4-3-3 after the big defeat in the Nou Camp last week, and although Casillas had to save early on from Mata, the locals had the better chances after that. Guaita made a couple of important saves from Khedira and Özil, and Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post with a clever back-heel on the stroke of half time, and soon after the restart the visiting keeper stopped efforts from Ronaldo and substitute Benzema. A few minutes later though Valencia were left with ten men when Albelda picked up a harsh second yellow card, and eight minutes after that Ronaldo picked up a pass from Özil to open the scoring. Casillas prevented Tino Costa from levelling the scores later on, but with three minutes to go Ronaldo ran on to score his second of the night after Lass won the ball in midfield and it was all over.

Atlético Madrid's nightmare week continued with a 2-0 defeat at Levante in the first match on Saturday evening. After losing to Espanyol and Aris at home in the last few days, Quique's side were hoping for a pick-me-up in Valencia. But with only two minutes on the clock Nano headed the visitors in to the lead after Xavi Torres played the ball back towards goal following a corner, and Caicedo came close to scoring again a couple of times in the next few minutes. De Gea had to keep out Rubén and Caicedo either side of half time, and Reina's first intervention was to save from Forlán just before the break. With just under an gone though Juanlu intercepted a sloppy free kick to set up Caicedo for the second, and it could have been worse had De Gea not stood up to Larrea in the last minute. (04.12.10)