Real Madrid kicked off the Sunday games with an impressive 7-1 victory over Osasuna, a result which extended their lead at the top of the table to three points. After a long period of domination by the locals, Ronaldo headed in a Di María cross to open the scoring midway through the first half. But the visitors equalised just a few minutes later, Ibrahima drilling a shot under Casillas after Raúl García had taken a quick free kick whilst most of the Madrid players still arguing with the referee. That riled them in to action, and by half time they scored twice, Pepe steering a header past Andrés and Higuaín making himself space to beat the keeper, both from Di María assists. Mourinho lost Di María to an injury soon after the restart, but soon afterwards Ronaldo made it four from the penalty spot after young left back Satrustegui was sent off for bringing down Özil in the area. After that Madrid had their eyes on matching the eight that Barça put past the Pamplona based side earlier in the season, and they almost did it, Ronaldo completing his hat-trick before Benzema came on to score two more, and Ronaldo hitting the bar late on. A total of 39 league goals to date though, the highest tally in 60 years at this stage of the season, and the Merengues are going from strength to strength.
Later in the evening their arch-rivals Barcelona could only draw 2-2 at Athletic Bilbao, and that thanks to an injury time strike from Messi when they appeared to be heading for their first defeat of the season. Despite the rainy conditions Barça were on top early on, Adriano bringing a good save out of Iraizoz. But with twenty minutes on the clock Ander Herrera picked up an assist from Susaeta to fire a shot past Valdés, the first goal that the keeper had let past him in just under 900 minutes. It only took the visitors four minutes to equalise, Fàbregas steering a header past Iraizoz from Abidal's cross, and Iraizoz had to be at his best to keep out Iniesta and Messi either side of half time. Athletic felt they should have had a penalty when Adriano pulled back Iraola, and with ten minutes to go they got back in front following a corner, Abidal's clearance bouncing back off the leg of Llorente, Piqué turning the ball in to his own net trying to clear. Guardiola threw everyone forward, Villa testing Iraizoz a couple more times and Iniesta putting a good chance wide. With a couple of minutes left on the clock Amorebieta was sent off for a second bookable offence, but the locals held on until the second minute of injury time, when Iturraspe and Iraizoz got in each other's way, and Javi Martínez could only clear the ball as far as Messi, who gratefully fired a shot back in to the net.
Barça's city rivals Espanyol are seventh after a 0-0 draw with Villarreal. The locals felt themselves hard done by when Alvaro Vázquez had a penalty appeal turned down, and then Héctor Moreno had a headed goal ruled out for a borderline offside. Vázquez went close again either side of half time, Moreno had another header saved and Romaric fired a long free kick just wide of the mark as the locals carved out the better chances. Hernán Pérez was causing some problems for the home defence though in the second half, the best a run which ended with Marco Rubén shooting wide, and another run which he finished himself with a shot across goal. With a few minutes to go Espanyol's Forlín was sent off for a second bookable offence, and in the end both teams settled for a point.
Rayo Vallecano moved up to eighth after a 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad, who drop to the foot of the table as a result. The turning point of the game came in only the tenth minute, Bravo only able to get a hand to Michu's long shot and Iñigo Martínez pulling back Delibasic as he ran on looking to turn the rebound in to the net. The action earned a red card for the defender, and Piti stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty. In the first quarter of an hour after the break Lass set up Michu to score two more, and Trashorras curled a free kick past the keeper for the fourth. Tito could have scored a fifth if Bravo had not been on his toes, and Real only really troubled the local defence with a couple of efforts by Xabi Prieto late on.
Last week's bottom club Getafe are out of the drop zone completely after a brave 3-2 win over city neighbours Atlético Madrid, Luis García's side having to fight back with ten men after Lopo was sent off for giving away a penalty on Diego midway through the first half. Falcao converted the spot kick, but Abdel levelled the scores with a well struck free kick shortly before half time. And the young Moroccan midfielder floated in another free kick soon after the restart which Michel headed on past Courtois, Filipe Luis's lunge only helping the ball in to the net. Moyà had to make two or three saves before Domínguez beat him with a deflected shot to make it all square once again with ten minutes to go, but two minutes later Getafe were awarded a penalty themselves after Turan pushed over Diego Castro, who stepped up himself to drill his shot wide of the keeper.
Getafe's win leaves Granada and Racing Santander still in the relegation spots after their game ended without goals. The locals had the better of the first half, although the only real chance fell to Torrejón, who fired a shot over the bar from close up. After the interval Geijo wasted two or three opportunities, including a shot which hit the outside of the post, and Abel tried to beat Toño with a shot from outside of the area. Racing themselves were limited to a couple of long range shots from Tziolis and Adrián, and with a couple of minutes to go they were left with ten men when Ariel was sent off after catching Mainz with a flying elbow. A dull match, and the only good thing for either side was the point they added to their total.
Zaragoza and Sporting Gijón are only just above the relegation spots themselves though after they drew 2-2. Both sides had chances early on, De las Cuevas shooting just wide and Juan Pablo making a spectacular save from a Luis García free kick, but with just under half an hour on the clock the locals took the lead when Botía headed a wide Juan Carlos free kick past his own keeper. Before the half time whistle though Barral had turned things around, the striker picking up a De las Cuevas centre to beat Roberto with a shot on the turn, and then getting ahead of his marker to turn in a deflected cross from André Castro. Javier Aguirre's side did all they could to get back after the break, Juan Pablo having to make important saves from Lafita and Barrera. But with hope seemingly lost, Iván Hernández missed a clearance outside of the area, and Postiga picked the ball up and ran through to save a point for his side. (06.11.11)
A slow start to the weekend, with the first goal not coming until after 210 minutes of football. Mallorca and Sevilla started things off with a 0-0 draw in the Iberostar stadium, keeping the visitors in fifth spot and taking their hosts two points clear of the drop zone pending Sunday's games. The heavy rain made play difficult, and the only chances in the first half were a couple of efforts from Hemed and Nsue. After the restart the locals continued to dominate, Javi Varas having to save from Nsue and Chori Castro, and Alfaro firing a good chance over the bar. Sevilla's only reply was a late shot from the right of the area by Jesús Navas which Aouate beat away, and the game ended soon afterwards. It was the fourth goal-less draw away from home for the Andalusians, and it left Mallorca's new coach Joaquín Caparrós still without a win. The many fans who stayed at home made the right choice.
The second match on Saturday between regional neighbours Betis and Málaga also ended 0-0, the only consolation for the two sides being that the locals had finally put an end to a run of six defeats in a row, and the visitors had picked up another point to defend their sixth place. Betis had the better of the first half without creating any clear cut chances, with Rubén Castro, Beñat and Pozuelo all trying their luck from long range. Málaga's first shots at goal didn't come until after the restart, Rondón heading straight at Castro after getting on the end of a Monreal cross, and the keeper turning a long effort from ex Betis winger Joaquín round the post. Pozuelo and Castro replied for Pepe Mel's side later on, but this one was always a banker's favourite for a no-score draw.
In fact we had to wait until the thirtieth minute of the third and final match of Saturday evening to see a goal, Valencia eventually running out 0-2 winners at Levante to move above their city rivals to third in the table. The locals had not lost at home after their amazing start to the season, and Juanlu almost beat Guaita early on. But with half on hour on the clock Tino Costa found Jordi Alba with a defence splitting pass, and between the left back and Javi Venta the ball found it's way in to the net. Barkero fired a free kick just over the bar shortly before half time, but five minutes after the restart Tino Costa made it two for the visitors with a free kick which Munúa failed to read. Later in the second half Koné shot wide with the goal at his mercy, and Aranda (who was lucky to be let off a second booking earlier on after he controlled the ball with his arm) brought a good save out of Guaita. But Valencia held fast for a fourth win in a row, and they retain bragging rights once again against their modest neighbours. (05.11.11)