Real Madrid fell to a shock 1-0 defeat at Levante on Sunday, leaving Mourinho's side down in fifth place. The Merengues got off to a strong start, with Benzema having a goal disallowed for offside and Kaká failing to convert a couple of early chances. Soon afterwards Ballesteros cleared off the line from Benzema with the keeper beaten, but after that the chances dried up, and shortly before half time Madrid were left with ten men when Khedira picked up a second booking as players clashed following some hard tackling. Levante took advantage after the restart, Iborra and Juanlu both missing chances before Javi Venta crossed in for Koné to beat Casillas. There was little reaction from Madrid, and Aranda could have added to lead later on when he got through only to see his shot saved by Casillas.
Later in the evening Betis beat Athletic Bilbao 2-3 to join Valencia at the top of the table, just behind the Ches on goal difference. Pepe Mel's side went two up early on, Beñat returning to the ground where he grew up to beat Iraizoz with a wide free kick, and Nacho cutting in from the wing to score the second, the referee turning down claims that the ball had gone out of play in the build up. Santa Cruz could have increased the lead further when he hit the post a few minutes later, and although De Marcos got one back after Casto failed to hold on to Susaeta's cross, Salva Sevilla restored the two goal cushion when he converted a penalty for hands by De Marcos on the stroke of half time. Jefferson Montero missed an easy chance and Jonathan Pereiro hit the post again soon after the restart. But Mario was sent off later on after he clashed with Muniain, and Casto had to keep out a Llorente header before David López drilled home a second penalty after Chico handled in the area. Athletic's challenge ended though when Amorebieta was also sent off for a second bookable offence, although the Basque side felt they should have had another penalty in injury time when the ball hit Nacho on the arm.
Atlético Madrid are starting to get their new side together, and they followed up their Europa League victory with a 4-0 win over Racing Santander. The hero of the day was Falcao, who scored a hat-trick in only his first league appearance in the Calderón stadium. The Colombian striker picked up a cross from Reyes to open the scoring midway through the first half, and converted a penalty a few minutes later after Osmar bundled over Diego in the area. Before half time he had got the ball in the net again only for the strike to be ruled out offside, but just ten minutes after the restart he made it three after latching on to a pass from Arda Turan before lobbing the keeper. Manzano decided to give him a rest after that, but Adrián headed in a fourth from another Turan assist later on to complete the scoreline.
Earlier in the afternoon Zaragoza beat Espanyol 2-1 thanks to two goals from Luis García, who last season was captaining the Perequitos. Rubén Micael missed the easiest of chances before Luis García headed Lafita's cross down past Cristian Alvarez on the half hour mark. But Javi Márquez and Raúl Baena both went close either side of half time, and midway through the second half a long cross from Javi lópez bounced past everyone in to the net. Soon afterwards though López was sent off for a second bookable offence after giving away a penalty on Lafita, and although Alvarez did well to save Luis García's spot kick, the keeper couldn't prevent his ex-colleague from scoring the winner in the first minute of injury time.
The opening match on Sunday was the South Madrid derby between Getafe and Rayo Vallecano, the first time the two sides have met in the top flight. And it was the newly promoted side who came out on top, an early goal from Michu following Piti's corner enough to give them a 0-1 victory and the three points. Piti came close to adding to the scoreline later in the first half, and although new signings Pedro León and Güiza tested Dani either side of half time, the visitors could have won by a bigger margin had Movilla and Michu taken their chances later on. (18.09.11)
Barcelona answered their critics with a resounding 8-0 victory over Osasuna on Saturday evening. After two draws in a row there were some doubts about their ability to keep up their usual form, but by half time they were already five up, with Messi turning in a Dani Alves headed pass to open the scoring, and Fàbregas making it two with an impressive volley from Messi's return pass. Abidal and Messi both headed against the woodwork before Villa ran on to Abidal's pass to round the keeper and score, and a repeat of the play minutes later ended with Andrés blocking Villa's shot only for the ball to hit Roversio and enter the net. Messi made it five after Fàbregas set him up before the break, and the Argentinian forward hit the bar again before slipping the ball through for Xavi to lob the keeper for the sixth. Osasuna did briefly make a fight of it, Nino and Ibrahima going close, but Villa and Messi added two more after that for their biggest tally at home since they beat Logroñés by a similar scoreline in the 1996/97 season.
Valencia stay two points ahead of Barcelona in the table however after the Ches beat Sporting Gijón 0-1 to make it three wins in a row. Guaita did well to keep out Sergio Alvarez early on, but with just under half an hour on the clock Soldado got what was to prove the only goal after Juan Pablo could only push out a shot from Jonas, the striker's fifth of the season. A few minutes later Jonas hit the bar, and after the restart Soldado and Aduríz both came up against the local keeper. Guaita had to save the day in the end though, Barral's late shot taking a deflection off a defender and looping up towards the top corner of the net before the keeper pushed it clear. Another defeat for Sporting, and they are currently at the bottom of the table having lost their opening three matches.
Sevilla move up to third pending Sunday's games after a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad. Both teams came in to the match level on four points, but the locals soon took control, with Trochowski shooting wide early on. Claudio Bravo did well to save from Medel and Navas before the break, but he could do nothing eight minutes after the restart when Kanouté picked up Negredo's headed pass before drilling a low shot wide of the keeper. Real, missing Xabi Prieto after he limped off with an injury on the half hour mark, only came close to scoring when Iñigo Martínez headed wide following a set piece free kick. And the locals could have won by a bigger margin in the end had Navas, Manu or Negredo been able to convert their chances later on.
Málaga are now fifth after beating Mallorca 0-1, their second win in a row. The Andalusians started well, with Van Nistelrooy in particular hitting the bar, and then having a penalty appeal turned down. Cazorla brought a good save out of Aouate, and with six minutes to go the break Pelegrini's side went ahead, Pablo Cáceres deflecting a Demichelis header past his own keeper following Cazorla's free kick. After the interval Nsue came close to levelling the scores, but only another good save by Aouate prevented rondón from adding to the scoreline later on.
A 1-0 scoreline as well in the game between Granada and Villarreal, the first points of the season for the newly promoted side. The visitors needed a result after a poor start to the season both in the league and the Champions League. But they were pushed back right from the kick-off by their opponents, with Yebda and Uche (on loan from Villarreal) shooting wide, and Uche being kept out by César. Ten minutes after the restart though Uche did beat the veteran keeper with a well-aimed header from Siqueira's cross, their first goal since being promoted. Villarreal should have equalised however when they were awarded a dubious penalty after Nilmar fell under a challenge from Siqueira, but Rossi fired his spot kick against the post, and De Guzmán put the rebound wide. The win takes Granada above their opponents, Garrido's side now down in the relegation zone themselves after only picking up one point in their first three matches. (17.09.11)