Barcelona move two points clear at the top of the table after a 1-0 win over Valencia on Sunday night. It was not an easy victory though, and the result was in doubt right up until the final whistle. Pedro and Messi both tested Diego Alves early on, but Soldado curled a shot just wide of the post at the other end. Midway through the first half though Adriano picked up a short corner to fire a shot across the keeper and in to the net, and soon afterwards Cesc Fàbregas got through on goal only to chip a shot against the upright. Dani Alvés shot wide and Fàbregas put another good chance over the top either side of half time, but Victor Ruíz had a goal disallowed for a borderline offside, and then headed a late chance over the crossbar.
Real Madrid stay five points behind Barcelona after they beat Granada 3-0 earlier in the evening. Callejón had an early effort saved by Toño before he set up Cristiano Ronaldo to open the scoring from a wide angle in the twenty-fifth minute. Toño did well to keep out Ronaldo later in the first half, but eight minutes after the restart he could only push out another shot from the Portuguese forward back in to his path, leaving him with the easiest of tasks to turn the ball in to the empty net. Soon afterwards the visitors were left with ten men when Borja Gómez picked up a second booking, and with a quarter of an hour to go Higuaín wrapped things up after connecting with a cross from fellow striker Benzema.
Last week's joint leaders Rayo Vallecano stay in the top four for another week after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Sevilla, although they will be thankful for the point after the Andalusians missed two penalties. The first came in the sixth minute after Jordi Amat brought down Negredo, the Spanish international striker firing the spot kick against the post. And for the rest of the first half the visitors were in command, Manu, Trochowski and Rakitic in particular failing to convert chances. Rayo improved a bit after the break, Trashorras testing Palop with a well struck free kick. But once again Sevilla were awarded a penalty after keeper Rubén was sent off for bringing down Rakitic, and once again they missed, Rakitic steering his kick wide of the post. Michel's side still ended the day in seventh spot, but they should really have won this one.
Valladolid were also on top of the pack last week after winning their first two games, but they drop down to fifth after they were beaten 2-0 by Athletic Bilbao. The Basque side were looking for their first points of the season, and Susaeta headed against the post before the break. There were few clear cut chances though until twenty minutes from the end, when Aduríz latched on to a loose ball to put the locals ahead, the first goal that Jaime had let in all season. Iraloa brought a good save out of the visiting keeper soon afterwards, and Gurpegui deflected Aduríz's shot against the post from the resulting corner. Ebert responded with a shot which Iraizoz did well to keep out, but a minute later Susaeta picked up the ball on the left of the area and curled a shot past Jaime for his side's second. A relief for Bielsa, and hopefully that will settle the nerves after a turbulent start to the season.
Athletic's win means that only two sides are yet to pick up a point, Osasuna, who lost at Celta yesterday, and Espanyol, who were two up at Levante but ended up losing 3-2. New signing Longo put the Catalans ahead in the twentieth minute after picking up a throw-in and battling through to volley a shot past Munúa, and soon afterwards Tejera made it two after firing a long shot past the keeper following a corner. However the Valencia based side squared the match with two goals in as many minutes early in the second half, Juanlu firing a spectacular shot past Cristian, and Lell turning a shot in to the net after his first effort was blocked. The locals were left with ten men when Iborra picked up a second booking, but even so they won it in injury time when Raúl Rodriguez deflected Michel's cross in to his own net.
The match between Betis and Atlético Madrid had been scheduled for tomorrow, but it has been postponed to a later date due to international call ups. (02.09.12)
Mallorca and Málaga are the provisional leaders of the first division after both won their respective games on Saturday evening. Mallorca beat Real Sociedad 1-0 to take top spot pending the rest of the weekend matches, another good start for Caparrós's side despite losing several key players in the summer. After a brief flurry by the visitors, the islanders took control, with Bravo saving well from Hemed and Conceiçao headers before the break. With a quarter of an hour to go Victor Casadesús stooped to head in a Javi Márquez cross for what was to be the only goal, and although Real did wake up in the final minutes, the reaction came too late to change the result.
Málaga are level with Mallorca on seven points after a 0-1 victory at Zaragoza. After qualifying for the Champions League proper on Tuesday, Pellegrini's side came in to the match full of confidence. However they could have fallen behind early on had Romaric not shot wide of the target with the goal at his mercy. Eliseu and Toulalan both went close either side of half time, but ten minutes in to the second half some poor marking allowed Camacho to run in unchallenged to head Eliseu's corner in to the net. Jiménez threw on all his fire power for the last half hour, but his side could not avoid a second home defeat in a row.
Celta picked up their first points of the season after beating Osasuna 2-0 in the opening match of the weekend. Both sides had lost their first two games, but the visitors almost went ahead when Llorente hit the bar before the break. And it was end-to-end stuff before Iago Aspas got on the end of an Augusto Fernández cross to head the ball wide of Andrés. Osasuna's challenge ended when Arribas was sent off for a second bookable offence late on, and with the game in injury time Mario Bermejo wrapped things up after picking up an assist from Toni.
Celta's neighbours Deportivo kept up their unbeaten record after drawing 1-1 with Getafe later in the evening. The visitors had beaten Real Madrid the weekend before, and Xavi Torres missed an early chance to give them the lead when he headed wide in the fifth minute. Just a minute later though Riki opened the scoring for the Galicians, running on to find a gap in the defence following a short Pizzi free kick. Getafe reacted quickly, Aranzubia having to save from Colunga and Pedro León before Colunga played a Xavi Torres pass on for Abdel Barrada to equalise. Torres wasted another good chance soon after the restart, but it took a couple of good saves by Moyà from Camuñas and Riki to save a point for Luis García's team. (01.09.12)