A mistake by Valladolid keeper Jaime in the last minute gifted Betis a 0-1 victory in the Monday night match. The game appeared to be heading for a score-less draw when substitute Alex Martínez played a speculative pass in to the box. Jaime appeared to have it covered, but as he dived to the ground he failed to take the ball cleanly, and Rubén Castro was there to roll it in to the empty net. Up to that point honours had been just about shared, with Oscar and Javi Guerra failing to convert chances for the locals before the break, and Agra, Nono and Rubén Castro responding for the visitors. After the restart Casto tipped an Ebert header on to the bar, Jaime did well to keep out Castro, and Bueno and Pereira also tired their luck. But in the end its goals that count, and Betis go home with two more points than they merited thanks to Jaime's fumble. (17.09.12)
A thrilling match to round off Sunday night, with Rayo Vallecano falling just a goal short of an epic comeback after they lost 4-3 at neighbours Atlético Madrid. After presenting the European Super Cup to their fans, Atleti got off to a strong start, Gabi bringing a good save out of Dani and Falcao shooting just wide before Mario got on the end of a Diego Costa cross to open the scoring. Arda Turan had a chipped shot cleared off the line just before the break, and in the first five minutes of the second half Koke and Turan turned in crosses from Costa and Juanfran to make it three. Five minutes after that Falcao converted a penalty after Javi Fuego stepped on Costa's foot, and it looked like the only thing at stake was how many the locals could score. However a few minutes later Leo Baptistao headed against the bar, and in the last ten minutes Delibasic scored twice and Leo added a third for what was in the end a nail-biting finish.
Earlier in the evening Mallorca drew 1-1 at Osasuna, a result which kept the visitors in third spot and left the locals still languishing at the bottom of the table. The Pamplona based side had lost their three opening games, but they had the better of the first half hour, with Sisi and Llorente going close. With ten minutes to go to the break a clash of mutual elbows between Nunes and Llorente left both teams with ten men, but Osasuna continued to dominate, with Cejudo testing Aouate a couple of times either side of half time. With twenty minutes to go the hosts got their reward, Kike sola steering a header in off the near post from Lamah's long cross. But Andrés was called upon to make a couple of saves as Caparrós pushed his men forward, and with twelve minutes to go Hemed got on the end of a Javi Márquez corner to head the equaliser.
Granada and Deportivo also shared the points in another 1-1 draw, the match kicking off at four o'clock in the afternoon with temperatures in the Los Cármenes stadium around 33ºC at the time. The heat took its toll on the players, and apart from a couple of incursions by Nyom there was little to talk about until Riki had to be substituted after breaking his nose whilst challenging for a header. His replacement Nelson Oliveira made his mark almost immediately though, intercepting a bad back pass by Mainz to Toño, and turning the ball in to the empty net after getting a lucky rebound. Oliveira's luck ended there though, the referee failing to spot that his shot early in the second half bounced over the line after coming down off the crossbar. Toño did well to save from Pizzi and Oliveira later in the second half, but with ten minutes to go the locals saved a point when Floro Flores fired a shot under Aranzubia after Jaime Romero laid the ball back from the left of the area.
It was all square as well at Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao coming back from two down to level the scores at 3-3 in the end. Javi López opened the scoring for the Catalans in the eighteenth minute after Verdú set him up. And although Aduríz headed against the crossbar a few minutes later, Verdú made it two on the stroke of half time after Iraizoz could only push out a shot from Longo. Ten minutes in to the second half though Aduríz headed one back from an Ibai Gómez free kick, and ten minutes later substitute Llorente ran on to Muniain's through ball to level the scores less than a minute after coming on, a message to his critics that he is over this summer's problems. With ten minutes to go Longo restored the lead after picking up an assist from Wakaso, but the young Italian striker blotted his copy book by earning himself a second yellow card for celebrating the goal with the fans. That let Athletic back in the game, and Aduríz saved a point with a first time volley after Susaeta crossed in from the right wing. A first point of the season for Espanyol, but another disappointment, and they find themselves joint bottom with Osasuna.
Elsewhere Real Sociedad moved up safely to mid-table thanks to a 2-0 win over Zaragoza. The visitors had the better of the opening minutes, Postigo testing Claudio Bravo a couple of times. But that was about all they could muster, and Roberto had to be at his best to keep out a long centre-come-shot from De la Bella, and another effort from Griezmann. Ten minutes in to the second half Real went in front, Iñigo Martínez losing his marker to head Carlos Vela's corner in to the net. And six minutes later Vela got his name on the scoresheet as well, the Mexican forward converting a penalty after Paredes brought him down in the area. Apoño and José Marí did try their luck after that with shots from outside of the area, but Griezmann could have added to the scoreline had his shot not gone just wide near the end. (16.09.12)
Barcelona made it four wins out of four after beating Getafe 1-4 on Saturday evening. Tito Vilanova left Messi, Dani Alves and Villa on the bench to begin with after their international commitments midweek, but Thiago was back, and he hit the crossbar early on. Both sides felt they should have had penalties for hand balls by Miguel Torres and Puyol, but with just over half an hour gone Fàbregas cut through the defence to set up Adriano for the opener, and Barça were ahead. Moyà did well to keep out Thiago again before the break, and after the restart Messi came on to convert a penalty after Valera tripped Pedro inside the area. Four minutes later Messi scored his side's third after Miguel Torres could only divert a cross from Montoya in to his path, and although Sarabia got one back with a shot which deflected in off two defenders, Villa wrapped things up after controlling a chipped pass from Fàbregas with the game already in injury time.
Barça are now eight points clear of eternal rivals Real Madrid after Mourinho's side lost 1-0 at Sevilla, their second away defeat in a row. The Andalusians got off to a good start, Casillas having to save from Negredo before Trochowski got on the end of a Rakitic corner to sweep the ball past the visiting keeper with only two minutes on the clock. Palop did well to keep out a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick and Higuaín fired another chance wide, and soon after the restart the local keeper pushed a long shot from half time substitute Modric on to the post. Negredo answered with a shot wide of the upright, and Sergio Ramos came close to the equaliser when he headed over the bar from a yard out. But when Ronaldo failed to convert a couple of late chances it was all over, and Michel had his first win over his old side in six outings.
Sevilla are up to third pending Sunday's games, and Málaga ended the day in second spot after they won 3-1 against Levante earlier in the evening. Joaquín brought an early save out of Munúa before Saviola ran on to Isco's through ball to open the scoring, his first goal for his new club. Michel levelled the scores just a minute after the restart, picking up the ball in his own half and running on to thrash a long shot wide of Willy Caballero. But Joaquín restored the lead a few minutes later after Saviola set him up, and although Sergio Sánchez was sent off for a second bookable offence later on, Portillo wrapped things up after connecting with Duda's cross in the third minute of time added on.
Meanwhile Levante's city neighbours Valencia beat Celta 2-1 to clock up their first victory of the season. With just three minutes on the clock Feghouli picked up a pass from Jonathan Viera to fire them in to the lead, but twelve minutes or so later Cabral equalised, Diego Alves only able to turn his first time volley from wide on the right in to the net. Tino Costa curled a free kick over the top and Víctor Ruíz brought the save of the day out of Javi Varas before Cissokho headed the locals back in front early on in the second half. But Iago Aspas could have levelled the scores on a couple of occasions after that, and the locals were grateful in the end for the final whistle. (15.09.12)