All square in Sunday's big match, with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo helping themselves to two each as Barcelona and Real Madrid drew 2-2 in the Nou Camp. Even though it is still early in the season, the eight point gap between the two teams meant that Madrid could not afford to lose, and Benzema and Ramos went close before Ronaldo drilled a low shot inside Valdés's near post midway through the first half. A few minutes later Benzema fired an easy chance against the upright, and Di María shot wide on the follow up, but soon afterwards Messi equalised after a cross from Pedro came off a couple of defenders in to his path. Early in the second half Özil and Iniesta both had penalty appeals turned down, and with just over an hour gone Messi put the home team in front with a house special free kick. But just five minutes later Ronaldo levelled the scores once again after Özil put him through, and although Montoya hit the bar in the dying minutes, that was how it stayed. Barça stay top despite dropping their first points of the season, and Madrid are up to fifth, still those eight points behind their arch-rivals.
Atlético Madrid are now level on points with the leaders though after a 2-1 victory over third placed Málaga in the last match of the weekend. Falcao got on the end of Emre's bouncing cross to head past Caballero in only the sixth minute, his eighth goal of the season in the league taking him back level with Messi and Ronaldo in the top-goalscorers chart. After their midweek Champions League win though, the Andalusians were not to be cowed, and after Camacho brought a good save out of Courtois, Santa Cruz headed the equaliser from Monreal's cross some ten minutes to go to the break. Falcao headed just wide and Adrián also tried his luck at the beginning of the second half, but Isco went close from long range, and Courtois had to push a speculative Joaquín free kick. But with the game coming to a close Mario Suárez headed Gabi's free kick in to the six yard box, and Weligton put through his own net under pressure from Falcao to give Simeone's side their sixth league win in a row.
Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martínez finally got his first win over Valencia at the seventh attempt, the "Granotas" beating their city neighbours 1-0 in a derby match which kicked off at Sunday lunchtime. The visitors looked the better side early on, with Munúa having to save from Jonas and Tino Costa, and Soldado and Jonas both failing to hit the target. But with twenty minutes on the clock Barkero struck a shot just wide at the other end, and a minute later Martins controlled a long Munúa clearance on his chest before firing a first time volley in to the roof of the net. After that Munúa had little to do, and only a couple of great saves by Guaita from El Zhar and Pedro Ríos prevented any further damage. Bragging rights for once though for Levante, who move above their larger rivals in the table.
Elsewhere Athletic Bilbao got their first league victory of the season, Bielsa's side beating Osasuna 1-0 to leave their local rivals still down in the relegation zone. Aduríz scored what was to prove the only goal in the eleventh minute after Iraola and De Marcos combined down the right wing, and after De Marcos and Aduríz came close again, Mendilibar decided to make two early substitutions to try and stop the rot. For a short while that did the trick, with a cross from one of the replacements Lamah bouncing off the bar, and Lolo also rattling the woodwork with another long free kick. After the restart Athletic wrested back control, with Andrés forced to make a string of saves from De Marcos, Susaeta and others, but even so Timor could have saved a point for the visitors when he hit the post with a fierce free kick late on.
Granada meanwhile won 1-2 at Mallorca to clock up their second win in a row. The islanders' good start to the season has been curtailed to certain extent by serious injuries to key players, and with only a few minutes on the clock Joao Victor was added to the list when he was carried off with serious knee ligament damage. Hemed still caused a few problems for Toño in the visiting goal, with Brahimi and El-Arabi replying for the Andalusians. But twenty minutes in to the second half Nsue was sent off for bringing down Torje as he ran on to a long through ball, and although the foul started outside of the area, the referee awarded Granada a penalty which El-Arabi converted. Soon afterwards Brahimi was also sent off for a second bookable offence to even things up, but the visitors went further ahead when Torje picked up an El-Arabi pass before beating Aouate, and Hemed's headed goal from Martí's free kick came too late to change the result. (07.10.12)
Four more games on Saturday, with Betis up to fourth in the table after a 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad in the last match of the evening. Kick off was delayed by 15 minutes due to a power cut, but when things got underway, Paulao connected with a Juan Carlos corner to steer in a near post header which Zubikarai could only fumble in to his own net. Adrián was making his first start in the local goal after Casto picked up a red card last weekend, and the young keeper made a couple of top class saves from Carlos Vela and Iñigo Martínez before the break. Rubén Castro hit the bar after the restart however, and although Adrián had to be at his best to keep out a Zurutuza free kick, Castro headed home his team's second from a Beñat free kick with ten minutes to go. Betis ended with ten men after Mario picked up a second booking late on, but the final whistle went soon afterwards.
Valladolid failed to get back in to the top six after they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom club Espanyol. After their convincing win over Rayo last weekend, Djukic's side were full of confidence. But although Ebert brought an early save out of Cristian Alvarez, the better chances after that fell to the visitors, with Wakaso and Víctor Sánchez both testing Jaime with long shots. Shortly before half time Espanyol were left with ten men when Víctor Alvarez picked up a second booking, but even so they went ahead with a Verdú penalty after Rukavina pushed over Longo in the area. Oscar headed the equaliser though from Ebert's corner, and although Verdú got the ball in the net again in injury time, referee Fernández Borbolán incorrectly ruled out the strike for what he considered to be offside.
Djukic's side are now level on points with Rayo Vallecano, who beat Deportivo 2-1 earlier in the evening. The locals went two up in the first half hour, Piti turning a shot past Aranzubia on the far post after Marchena could only deflect Leo's cross in to his path, and Juan Carlos latching on to Delibasic's pass to drill in a shot which took a deflection off Zé Castro to wrong foot the keeper. Pizzi pulled one back from the penalty spot however after Javi Fuego barged over Alex Bergantiños, and half time substitute Nelson Oliveira came close to levelling the scores soon after the break. Oliveira and Pizzi both went close after that, but Aranzubia had to be on his toes to keep out Delibasic and Juan Carlos, and substitute Nicki Bille could have increased the lead when he fired a shot over the crossbar near the end.
Getafe also move up level with Valladolid and Rayo after they won 0-1 at Zaragoza. The locals were left a man short early on when romaric was sent off for a hard tackle on Lacen, but even so Moyà had to be on top form to save from Sapunaru, Postiga and Movilla before the break. After the restart though Pedro León went close with a couple of long shots before he won his side a penalty, falling under the challenge of Alvaro who was also red-carded. Diego Castro converted the spot kick, but Alvaro Vázquez missed a sitter and Roberto saved from Paco Alcácer to keep the Maños in the match. With ten minutes to go Moyà had to save again from Postiga, but even though numbers were evened up a bit when Barrada was sent off for a foul on José Marí, Luis García's team held on for the win. (06.10.12)
Celta made it three home wins in a row after beating Sevilla 2-0 on Friday evening. With the Andalusians missing their engine-room trio of Medel, Rakitic and Trochowski, the locals were allowed to control midfield, and Iago Aspas and Park Chu Young tested Palop a couple of times before the break. And the locals took the lead on the hour mark, Iago Aspas converting a penalty after Maduro had blocked his free kick with his arms. Reyes and Negredo went close to equalising, and Manu del Moral brought a good save out of Sergio Alvarez, who was a last minute addition to the starting line-up after Javi Varas damaged a hand in the pre-match warm up. But with five minutes to go substitute De Lucas got on the end of Augusto's cross to head a second for the Galicians, putting the game beyond Sevilla's reach. (05.10.12)