Betis are up to fourth in the table after beating Getafe 2-4 in the Monday night game. Curiously all the goals came in the last half hour of the match, but before that Pedro León had gone close a couple of times prior to the interval, and Alvaro Vázquez had missed an easy chance after the restart. With his side short of ideas, Pepe Mel brought on Jorge Molina early on in the second half, and it couldn't have worked out better, the striker opening the scoring within minutes after Salva Sevilla and Rubén Castro combined to set him up. Diego Castro equalised ten minutes later after Paco Alcácer skilfully latched on to a long pass to turn the ball across goal, but Beñat restored the lead with an excellent free kick from wide on the left, and Rubén Castro ran on to another Sevilla assist to make it three just a couple of minutes later. With the game coming to a close Pedro León reduced the gap to one goal after Colunga put him through, but with Getafe keeper Moyà scrambling back from the opposing penalty box after going up for a last minute corner, the visitors broke away and Sevilla ran on to make it four. (05.11.12)
Levante are not going to give up their Europa League spot without a fight, and they stay two points ahead of Sevilla after holding the Andalusians to a score-less draw in the last match on Sunday evening. Juan Ignacio Martínez's side had clearly come looking for a draw, and a packed defence only allowed through a couple of timid efforts from Negredo and Navas before the break. Palop was only called in to action once to catch a long shot from Juanlu, but otherwise all the play was at the other end, with Medel and Babá bringing good saves out of Munúa later on, and Campaña looping a shot across the crossbar, Babá failing to turn in the rebound. Levante got what they wanted though, and they will stay in the top six for another week at least.
Otherwise though Sunday's games largely involved teams struggling in the lower reaches of the table, with Espanyol moving out of the relegation spots for a few hours at least after beating Real Sociedad 0-1 in the mid-day match. The Catalans had not won away from home in eleven months, and it looked as if they were heading for another defeat as the locals totally dominated a rainy first half. Only a string of saves by Cristian Alvarez prevented Xabi Prieto, Agirretxe, Vela and Illarramendi from giving the Basque side the lead, and the visitors only got close to their opponents goal once, when Zubikarai blocked a shot from Sergio García. After the interval it was more of the same, with Alvarez keeping out Vela, Agirretxe and Iñigo Martínez. But with a quarter of an hour to go Verdú's corner fell to Hector Moreno as he was lying on the ground, and although his shot was going wide, Colotto was there on the far post to turn it in to the net.
Espanyol ended the day back down in the bottom three however after Deportivo and Athletic Bilbao won their respective games later on in the afternoon. Deportivo beat Mallorca 1-0 in their Riazor stadium, an improvement on the 1-1 draw that the two teams played out three days before in the fourth round of the cup. With the Galicians looking for their first win since the opening day, and the visitors trying to staunch a run of four defeats in a row, both teams got off to a nervous start, and there was little action until Bruno Gama cut past two defenders to fire an angled shot inside the far post on the half hour mark. Minutes after the restart Arizmendi should have done better when he got free on goal only to shoot at Aranzubia, but Gama came close to a second when he lifted a shot just past the post, and Pizzi rattled the crossbar with a fierce free kick minutes later. Depor fell back to defend after that though, and there were some nervous moments for the home fans near the end when Martí and Hemed shot wide, and Giovani curled a last minute free kick just past the post.
Athletic Bilbao also clocked up a much needed victory, the Basque side beating Granada 1-2 to leave the Andalusians down in next to bottom spot. The wins earlier in the day for Espanyol and Deportivo meant that Bielsa's team kicked off down in the bottom three, but they were soon ahead, Aduríz converting a penalty in the twelfth minute after the striker was brought down by Diakhaté. A quarter of an hour later Aduríz got his second of the evening, picking up the rebound as his first pass was blocked before firing a shot wide of Toño, but after the break the locals responded, El-Arabi and Brahimi wasting chances before El-Arabi got one back with an angled shot from outside of the area. Aduríz came close to a hat-trick when he headed against the crossbar, De Marcos shot just wide, and Toño did well to tip an effort from Muniain over the bar, but the result was in doubt until the final whistle, Iraizoz having to keep out Floro Flores near the end.
With many of the teams above them picking up wins, bottom club Osasuna find themselves three points adrift of the rest after losing 0-1 to Valladolid. There was only one real effort in all of the first half, Andrés having to save from Ebert, and after the restart Cejudo and Kike Sola both got free on goal only to shoot wide. With a quarter of an hour to go though the locals were left with ten men when Rubén was sent off for a second bookable offence, and although Kike Sola brought the save of the night out of Dani Hernández, the visitors broke away from the resulting corner, and Omar passed through for Ebert to chip a shot over the head of the keeper. It was enough for a win which takes the visitors to within two points of the top six, but their hosts are struggling, and after taking his team to within a whisker of the European spots last year, Mendilibar is now facing a bleak future. (04.11.12)
Barcelona confirmed their best ever start to a season after beating Celta 3-1 on Saturday evening. Tito Vilanova put out an aggressive 3-4-3 line-up for this match, and that with a back three of converted midfielders (two of whom were to score the goals). Before kick-off Messi was presented with the European Golden Boot trophy and Xavi paraded the "Prince of Asturias sporting achievement award" which he won recently together with Iker Casillas, and Messi was sporting his new boots, with the name of his newly born son Thiago engraved upon them. The Argentinian forward can be pardoned for being a bit too selfish early on in wanting to dedicate a goal to his new offspring, but Víctor Valdés had to react quickly to stifle an early attack from Iago Aspas. With just over twenty minutes gone however Adriano opened the scoring after connecting with a return pass from Pedro, and although Mario Bermejo equalised three minutes later after Valdés could only push out a shot from Alex López, David Villa restored the lead almost immediately after combining with Iniesta. Aspas came close to levelling the match once again when he shot just wide of the far post soon after the restart, but a few minutes later Jordi Alba made it three after Villa dragged Iniesta's pass in to his path with his heel, the referee waving away Celta's appeals that the full back picked up the ball in an offside position. That was enough to seal another win which takes the Catalans on to 28 points from their first ten games, beating the record set by coach Louis Van Gaal in the 1996/7 season.
Second placed Atlético Madrid were unable to keep up the pace with the leaders though, a 2-0 defeat at Valencia ending their record unbeaten run of 23 games. Diego Alves had to keep out Miranda in the opening minutes, but soon afterwards Soldado connected with Rami's long pass to put the locals ahead with a spectacular first time volley from right of the area. Neither side were taking prisoners though, and local coach Pellegrino was sent to the stands for protesting as the hard tackles weighed in. After the restart Turan, Juanfran and Falcao all failed to hit the target, and Falcao had a couple of penalty appeals turned down. Guardado tried his luck with a couple of long shots when he had colleagues better placed for a pass, and with a couple of minutes to go the locals were left with ten men when Ricardo Costa picked up a second booking. Atleti pushed forward looking for the equaliser, but with the game in injury time Feghouli put substitute Nelson Valdez through for him to round Courtois and score. A morale boosting win for the Ches, who move to within two points of the European spots.
Málaga suffered their first home defeat of the season, the Andalusians losing 1-2 to Rayo Vallecano in their Rosaleda stadium. Nobody gave much for Rayo's chances, but with ten minutes gone their new young star Leo Baptistao left Weligton for dead before playing in a low cross which Piti turned in on the far post. After that the locals took over, with Cobeño having to save from Saviola and Joaquín, and Gámez, Isco and Eliseu all going close. Four minutes in to the second half Demichelis got on the end of Joaquín's wide free kick to head home the equaliser, but Rayo snapped back, Piti, José Carlos and Leo all causing problems for Caballero before Piti beat him for a second time with a shot from the edge of the area. Pellegrini threw on reinforcements, but the visitors closed ranks to pull off the surprise result of the day.
Real Madrid took advantage of all that to overtake Málaga and close in on Atlético after a 4-0 win over Zaragoza. Cristiano Ronaldo headed wide a couple of times before Higuaín opened the scoring, following up after Roberto could only get a hand to Raúl Albiol's header from a Modric corner. Two minutes later Di María made it two, beating Roberto at the second attempt after the keeper blocked his first shot, and when Ronaldo shot wide soon afterwards it looked like Madrid had things tied up. However after the interval Casillas had to be at his best to keep out Víctor Rodríguez and Paco Montañés, José Marí crashed a long shot against the crossbar, and Postiga got the ball in the net only to be pulled up for a non-existent offside. The visitors' challenge ended however when Benzema put Essien through for him to score his first goal for his new club, and with the game in injury time Modric also got his name on the scoresheet for the first time with a low shot after Callejón did enough for the ball to come out to him on the edge of the area. (03.11.12)