Sevilla are back up to fifth in the table after a 3-0 win over Getafe on Monday evening. The Madrid based side had won their last three visits to the Sánchez Pizjuán stadium, and they felt themselves unlucky not to have an early penalty when Spahic handled in the area and then pulled down Sarabia in the same play. After that though the locals were on top, Navas and Negredo shooting wide before Fazio stooped to head in Rakitic's corner on the half hour mark. Manu replaced the injured Perotti shortly before half time, and three minutes after the restart he collected a loose ball on the left of the area and caught out Moyà with an angled shot. The visiting keeper made first class saves after that to keep out Manu, Kanouté and Navas, and Getafe's only reply was a long shot from Juan Rodríguez which went wide of the target. And with the game coming to an end Kanouté picked up a pass from Rakitic to beat Moyà for a third time, sealing a win which takes the Andalusians to within two points of the Champions League spots. (05.12.11)
Málaga kicked off their game at Real Sociedad on Sunday afternoon knowing that a win would take them in to the Champions League spots, but in the end they remain three points behind Levante after they were beaten 3-2. Pellegrini's side were close to victory though, despite falling behind in the tenth minute when Demichelis couldn't stop himself from deflecting the ball in to his own net after Agirretxe's header came back off the crossbar. Less than ten minutes later Rondón headed in a cross from Isco to level the scores, and ten minutes after the restart Seba Fernández battled past Mikel González to pick up Rondón's headed pass and give the visitors the lead. Rondón missed a chance to make it three, but with two minutes to go Carlos Vela headed up a loose ball in the area to surprise Caballero with a spectacular overhead kick. And with the game in injury time Ifrán controlled a pass in from Agirretxe and turned past Demichelis to steer a shot past the keeper. Three much needed points for the Basque side, and after two wins in a row the under pressure Montanier can rest easy for the time being.
Osasuna consolidated seventh spot with a 2-1 victory over Betis, a result which leaves Pepe Mel's job hanging by a thread. After only picking up one point from their last nine games, Mel lined up with five at the back, but his side could have gone ahead early on when Salva Sevilla rattled the woodwork from a free kick. Lamah saw his header deflected round the post though, and six minutes before the break Miguel Flaño got behind the defence to head Cejudo's corner past Casto. Mel replaced a defender with striker Rubén Castro at half time, and local keeper Andrés had to be at his best to save from Cañas, Santa Cruz and Castro before the substitute got on the end of a Jonathan Pereira cross to equalise with ten minutes to go. But even though Castro hit the bar and Pereira, Beñat and Santa Cruz brought further saves out of Andrés after that, it was the home side who came away with the spoils when Nekounam fired home a free kick in the third minute of time added on.
Atlético Madrid are up to eighth after a 3-1 win over neighbours Rayo Vallecano in this Sunday's mid-day match. Falcao was back in Manzano's side after a short injury lay-off, and he brought a good save out of Cobeño before passing the ball through for Gabi to open the scoring midway through the first half. Reyes tested the keeper soon afterwards, and Diego and Falcao went close, but Michu and Lass both could have levelled the scores for the visitors before the half time whistle. With a quarter of an hour to go however Falcao dived forward to head home the second from Diego's cross, and with the game already in injury time Salvio made it three after Gabi set him up. Two minutes later Gabi did partly spoil a good day by turning Piti's cross past his own keeper, but the game ended seconds later.Atleti's unbeaten home record remains intact, and they move three points above their opponents in the rankings.
Athletic Bilbao drop a point behind Atlético after they could only draw 1-1 at Mallorca, who themselves ended the weekend just two points above the relegation spots. It was the first time that Caparrós had come up against his old club since leaving in the summer, and he saw his new team take the lead in only the second minute when youngster Alvaro Giménez turned the ball back in to the net after Amorebieta failed to clear a Cendrós centre. Toquero got the ball in the net a few minutes later only for his strike to be ruled out for offside, but with the first half coming to an end Amorebieta got on the end of an Ander Herrera cross to head the equaliser, the referee waving away claims that he should have blown his whistle for half time seconds earlier. After the restart Iraizoz had to save from Tissone and Pereira, and Chico cleared off the line from Amorebieta with the keeper beaten, but in the end both sides settled for a point.
Granada continued their climb away from the danger zone with a 1-0 victory against Zaragoza, and despite having only scored six goals in thirteen games they are up to fourteenth in the table. Martins fired a shot wide and Jara brought a good save out of visitng keeper Roberto as the locals dominated the early moments, but Hélder Postiga failed to convert a couple of chances at the other end later in the first half. A minute before the break though Mikel Rico's cross came through to Ighalo, and although the striker saw his first effort blocked by Lafita, the rebound fell kindly for him to score. Ighalo should have added to the lead a couple of times after the interval, but the Maños put on the pressure near the end, Granada's own Roberto saving well from Barera and Luis García. Another defeat for Aguirre's side though, and they ended the weekend two points adrift at the bottom of the table. (04.12.11)
A week to go to "El Clásico" between Real Madrid and Barcelona in the Bernabeu stadium and both teams showed their strengths on Saturday evening, Real Madrid kicking things off with a 0-3 victory against Sporting Gijón which took their winning streak to fourteen straight games. Mourinho's side were on top right from the start, Juan Pablo having to save from Di María and Higuaín seeing a strike ruled out for offside before Di María won the ball back off a slow Damián to catch the keeper out with a shot from an impossible angle. De las Cuevas and Barral gave Casillas something to do at least either side of half time, and Botia headed another chance wide after the restart, but soon afterwards Di María slipped the ball through the legs of a defender allowing Ronaldo to round Juan Pablo and score. The keeper did well to save from Higuaín a few minutes later, and Kaká came on to cause a few problems for the local defence, but after Eguren was sent off for a second bookable offence, Marcelo picked up a pass from Benzema to wrap things up in injury time.
Later in the evening Barcelona thrashed fourth placed Levante 5-0 to stay three points behind their arch rivals, albeit having played a game more. Juan Ignacio Martínez's team have pulled off a few surprises this season, but they found themselves behind in only the fourth minute after Iniesta played on Messi's pass for Fàbregas to turn and shoot wide of Munúa. Puyol could have scored a second had he been able to connect properly after the keeper could only push out a Messi free kick, but soon afterwards Fàbregas steered a header in to the far corner of the net from another free kick by Xavi. Messi and Iniesta combined again to set up Cuenca for a third shortly before the break, and Messi made it four after Dani Alves put him through ten minutes in to the second half. Soon afterwards Alexis fired in a shot which took a deflection off a defender and went in off the crossbar, and only some atypical poor finishing from Messi prevented the scoreline from increasing after that. An aggregate 39-0 scoreline in their nine league matches in the Nou Camp this season, and next Saturday's big clash looks like it is going to live up to its name.
Valencia are not ruling themselves out of the running for the league title though, and they stay four points behind Barça (also with a game in hand) after beating Espanyol 2-1. The Ches took the lead early on with a hotly disputed penalty after Didac pulled back Dealbert in the area, Tino Costa converting the spot kick. Alvaro Vázquez and Aduríz brought good saves out of Diego Alves and Cristian Alvarez later in the first half, and Verdú went close with a couple of free kicks after the restart, but midway through the second half Héctor Moreno equalised following a cross in from Thievy. Up to that point Emery had been holding back some of his key players for Tuesday night's deciding Champions League clash at Chelsea, but with a quarter of an hour to go he decided to bring on Soldado, who almost immediately got on the end of a Tino Costa corner to head the winner. A confidence booster, and now they have to concentrate on Tuesday night's game.
Villarreal's league form is matching their poor European performance however, and they are now only a couple of points off the drop zone after they were beaten 1-0 by bottom club Racing Santander earlier in the evening. Juan Carlos Garrido's side hardly came close to the local goal in the first half, and Stuani headed the Cantabrians in to the lead from Arana's cross in the twenty-seventh minute. Adrián González went close a couple of times before the interval and Arana poked a shot over the bar early in the second half for the hosts, who were being managed by three caretaker managers after Héctor Cúper resigned earlier in the week. But with Nilmar coming on at half time for his first appearance since a long injury lay-off the visitors finally got back in the game, and Nilmar himself as well as De Guzmán and Marco Rubén all failed to convert chances to beat Toño later on. (03.12.11)