A surprise in the Monday night game, with struggling Granada coming back to beat regional neighbours Sevilla 1-2. Marcelino's side had not lost all season in the league, and with less than a minute on the clock Manu del Moral fired them in to the lead after previous shots from Navas and Cáceres were blocked. Manu brought a good save out of Roberto soon afterwards, and although Javi Varas had to be on his toes to push an Abel free kick over the bar at the other end before the break, the visiting keeper kept his side in the game with saves from Navas, Manu, Armenteros and Trochowski after the restart. Granada's Uche missed the easiest of chances however before being replaced by Ighalo, and with ten minutes to go Geijo made it all square, heading the ball back in to the net after the substitute crashed a shot against the bar. Roberto was in action again a couple of minutes later to keep out Luis Alberto, but with the game coming to an end Mikel Rico latched on to Ighalo's headed pass to drill a low shot wide of the keeper. A first away win for Fabri's side, and they move off the bottom of the table as a result. (31.10.11)
Is the dream over? Levante lost 2-0 by Osasuna on Sunday afternoon, and they drop down from first to third place. José Ignacio Martínez's unbeaten side had won their last seven games, and they could have scored early on, Koné in particular bringing a good save out of Andrés and then bravely trying to turn in Valdo's headed pass, colliding painfully with the post as a result. Cejudo through went close at the other end following a good run, and with six minutes to go to the break he opened the scoring, picking up a loose ball outside of the area and firing in a low shot which deflected off Del Horno past Munúa. And four minutes later Nino put the locals two up with an opportunist strike after the keeper blocked an attack by Ibrahima. A few minutes after the restart Osasuna were left with ten men when Cejudo (who had been shown a yellow card for taking off his shirt after scoring) was given a second booking, but although Koné, Rubén Suárez and Xavi Torres all went close, the home team held on for a win which took them up to seventh spot.
Later in the evening Málaga beat Espanyol 2-1 to move above the Catalans to sixth place. It was not without controversy though, Apoño scoring the winner from the penalty spot in the second half after the referee ruled incorrectly that Romaric had handled in the area, even though the ball clearly struck him in the face. Rondón had given the Andalusians the lead in the fifth minute, turning in Monreal's cross near to goal, and Cristian Alvarez had to be at his best to keep out the striker a couple of times later in the first half. But on the stroke of half time Alvaro Vázquez got above his marker to head a wide Weiss free kick on past Caballero, and after the restart substitute Sergio García tested the local keeper with a long shot. In the end though a bad refereeing decision decided the match, and Málaga are back up to the European spots after a run of three defeats in a row.
The day started with the mid-day kick-off between Sporting Gijón and Athletic Bilbao, the game ending 1-1 to keep the Asturians out of the relegation spots and Bielsa's team in ninth spot. Honours were shared in the first half, Llorente and Barral having penalty claims turned down and Llorente, Trejo and Barral coming up against keepers Juan Pablo and Iraizoz. With just over an hour on the clock Susaeta put the visitors ahead after Toquero headed on a David López corner, but eight minutes later substitute Bilic equalised with a shot from the edge of the area which flew off Barral in to the net. Sporting came close to winning it in the end when Iraizoz managed to keep out a close range header from Barral, but with seven points from their three games Manuel Preciado's side must still be happy with their week's work.
Sporting stay ahead of Racing Santander on goal difference after the Cantabrians beat Betis 1-0, a first win of the season for Héctor Cúper's side. The visitors had the better of the first half, with Pozuelo and Ustaritz hitting the bar and Beñat bringing a good save out of Toño. Adrián González tested Casto at the other end though, and Torrejón also hit the bar as the locals rallied close to half time. Cúper eventually turned to Stuani, and within minutes the striker made the difference, winning himself a penalty which he fired past Casto for what was to prove the only goal of the match. Jefferson Montero could have saved a point had he been able to beat Toño late on, but it was not to be, and Betis fall to their sixth defeat in a row.
Atlético Madrid ended their run of seven games without a victory, beating Zaragoza 3-1 to move back up to the top half of the table. Adrián started things off midway through the first half, looping a header over Roberto from Turan's cross. Domíngez made it two on the half hour mark after Godín headed across Turan's free kick, and Falcao brought a good save out of the keeper before Filipe Luis set up Adrián for his second of the evening. Up to that point the visitors had only troubled Courtois with a couple of efforts from Postiga and Luis García either side of half time, but soon afterwards Postiga headed one back from Luis García's corner. That was it though, and Falcao and Diego both had chances to increase the scoreline later on. An important win for Atleti, and the much criticised Manzano can breath a sigh of relief, at least for the time being. (30.10.11)
All four of Spain's Champions League sides were in action on Saturday evening, with Real Madrid moving back to top spot pending Levante's game on Sunday after a 0-1 victory at Real Sociedad. Higuaín picked up a through ball from Coentrão to score what was to prove the only goal in the ninth minute, and for the rest of the first half Madrid were on top, with Ramos, Ronaldo, Di María and Higuaín all coming up against keeper Claudio Bravo. After the restart the locals did create a couple of chances, in particular long shots from Carlos Vela and Griezmann which Casillas had to keep out, but Ramos could have increased the lead had he been able to turn in Di María's cross later on. A sixth game in a row without a win for the Basque side, who find themselves just a point above the relegation spots, although their form in the last two games suggests they have the talent to do better.
Earlier in the evening Barcelona had momentarily overtaken Madrid after hammering Mallorca 5-0. There were some doubts at to whether Guardiola's side were going through a bad patch after some recent poor results, and they could have gone behind when Joao Victor put a good chance wide early on. But soon afterwards Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Nsue handled in the area, and the Argentinian superstar answered his critics with two more goals in the next quarter of an hour, the first after Adriano laid back a long cross from Cuenca, and the second with a first time shot from a Dani Alves cross. Five minutes after the restart Cuenca got his first goal for the first team, and after Messi and Piqué had chances cleared, Dani Alves finished things off with a shot in off the crossbar in injury time.
Valencia made sure of fourth spot thanks to a 3-1 win over Getafe. Unai Emery gave a rare run out to Feghouli, and the French forward responded with two goals, the first after a shot by Jonas was blocked in the twelfth minute. Diego Castro equalised for the visitors following a rapid counter-attack, but just a couple of minutes later Feghouli scored again after a tackle from Jonas fell to him inside the area. Pablo Hernández came close to a third soon after the restart, and Güiza shot wide at the other end a few minutes later. But with a quarter of an hour to go Aduríz wrapped things up with more than a bit of fortune, his ex team mate Moyà blocking his first shot but the ball rebounding off the striker back in to the net. The defeat leaves Getafe just a point above the drop zone pending Sunday's games after five matches without a victory.
Villarreal also clocked up a much needed win, beating Rayo Vallecano 2-0 to climb out of the bottom three and up to thirteenth. Bruno headed the first from a wide Borja Valero free kick in the twentieth minute, and Marcos Senna should have added a second from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time after Javi Fuego tripped De Guzmán, Cobeño doing well to push Senna's kick round the post. Injuries to Cani and Marco Rubén left Garrido without a first team striker, but midway through the second half Borja Valero cut in from the wing and fired a low shot past the keeper to make it two. Michu and Piti tried to respond for the visitors but their efforts went wide, and Rayo's brief run of two wins in a row had come to an end. (29.10.11)