Real Sociedad moved safely up to mid-table after beating Rayo Vallecano 4-0 in the Monday night game. Two defeats in a row in the Anoeta stadium had left the Basque side floundering near the drop zone, but a win at Málaga last weekend restored the confidence they needed going in to this match. With only a couple of minutes on the clock Ifrán had a strike ruled out for apparently controlling the ball with his hands, and with half an hour on the clock Carlos Vela picked up the ball from Ifrán inside the six yard box to turn a shot past Cobeño. Just two minutes later Vela got his second of the night after Rubén Pardo put him through, and Cobeño had to make a string of saves from Iñigo Martínez, Pardo and Ifrán to prevent the locals from going further ahead before the break. Fifteen minutes in to the second half however Mikel González made it three for the locals after Ifrán headed back Vela's cross, and although Delibasic had a strike ruled out for a borderline offside, Chory Castro wrapped things up with a fourth goal which takes his side level with Paco Jémez's team in the table. (19.11.12)
Barcelona may be breaking all the records, but Atlético Madrid are also having their best ever start to a season, and they ended the weekend only three points behind the leaders after a 0-1 victory at Granada on Sunday evening. The Andalusians' win at Betis last weekend gave them new confidence, and El-Arabi in particular tested Courtois early on. Toño did well to tip over a Godín header at the other end, but later in the first half it took a timely tackle from Arda Turan to deflect Torje's shot on to the post, El-Arabi firing the rebound over the top with the goal at his mercy. Simeone brought on Diego Costa at the break though (although they had to play a couple of minutes with ten men as he wasn't ready!), and the striker combined with fellow substitute Koke on the hour mark to set up Arda Turan to score what was to prove the only goal of the game. A few minutes later the visitors were left with ten men when Mario Suárez picked up a second booking, but even so they could have won by a bigger margin after Falcao uncharacteristically missed a couple of easy chances. The result maintains Atleti's five point gap over Real Madrid though, and they are therefore sure of starting the big derby game against their city rivals in two weeks' time ahead of them in the table.
Levante are back up to fourth in the table, a point ahead of Málaga, after a 0-2 win at Deportivo earlier in the day. It was one of those days for the Galicians, who lost central defenders Marchena and Zé Castro to injuries with less than a quarter of an hour on the clock. Riki got the ball in the net only to be ruled offside, and a few minutes later they went behind when Munúa's long clearance made its way through for Martins to round Aranzubia and score. Ten minutes in to the second half Depor were awarded a penalty when a Camuñas cross hit Pedro López on the arm, the full back getting himself sent off for a second booking, but Riki fired the resulting spot kick over the bar. And with twenty minutes to go things got worse for Oltra's team when Aranzubia was shown a red card for coming out of his area to stop the advancing Martins with a shoulder barge, Alex Bergantiños having to take over in goal as all three substitutions had been made. The midfielder tried his best, but in the end he was beaten by a long shot from Barkero with eight minutes to go. A match to forget for the Galicians, who remain in the bottom three as a result of the defeat.
Celta and Mallorca stay just above the relegation zone though after playing out a 1-1 draw in the Balaidos stadium. The locals had the better chances in the first half, with Iago Aspas bringing an excellent save out of Aouate and then setting up Augusto Fernández a couple of times for him to shoot wide. It was the visitors who took the lead however, Hemed finally turning the ball past Javi Varas midway through the first half after the keeper and his defence had blocked three previous shots. The Israeli striker hit the side netting soon after the restart, but a few minutes later Aspas got free on the left wing and crossed the ball in for Park Chu Young to equalise. Later in the second half Varas did well to push a Hemed header on to the crossbar, and the local keeper also saved from Nsue with a quarter of an hour to go. Bermejo went close a couple of times at the other end after that, but in the end both managers settled for a point.
Getafe moved clear of the danger zone as well after coming from behind to beat Valladolid 2-1. Luis García's side had dropped down the table after three defeats in their last four games, and although they dominated early on, they were unable to find the way past Dani Hernández. The visiting keeper made saves from Pedro Léon and Diego Castro, and when Gavilán did beat him with a chipped shot, Balenziaga cleared the ball off the line. Ebert though saw his free kick deflected wide, and then set up Manucho for a shot which Moyà did well to keep out, and with the first half coming to a close Oscar opened the scoring for the away team after previous efforts from Ebert and Manucho were blocked. Omar Ramos came close to a second when he rattled the crossbar after the restart, but Dani had to save from Alexis and Alcácer, and with twenty minutes to go Alexis got on the end of a Pedro León corner to level the scores. Getafe were back in it, and just four minutes later Lafita cut in from the left wing to fire home the winner, taking his side a point above their opponents in the table.
The last game on Sunday was the Andalusian derby, with Sevilla thrashing city rivals Betis 5-1 to move to within a point of them in the table. The visitors got off to a disastrous start, Adrián gifting the ball to Reyes within fifteen seconds of kick-off to allow the veteran attacker to fire a shot back past the keeper in to the net. Four minutes later Fazio headed the second from a long Rakitic free kick, and Negredo, Navas and Reyes could all have scored before Negredo headed against the bar, and Reyes got ahead of a sleepy Nelson to turn the ball back in to the net. By half time Sevilla were four up, Fazio heading home his second of the night after Reyes crossed in from the left wing, and the game was over as a contest. Curiously Betis's best moments came when they were down to ten men after Rubén Pérez was sent off for a second bookable offence early in the second half, Rubén Castro getting on the end of a Juan Carlos cross to pull one back. But Rakitic rounded things off with a fifth goal after Navas set him up in injury time, giving Michel's side their best result against their old rivals in seventy years! (18.11.12)
Barcelona extended their record breaking start to the season by another three points after beating Zaragoza 3-1 on Saturday evening. Tito Vilanova lined up with nine Spanish internationals in his side, plus Alex Song (who was replacing the suspended Busquets) and Messi, another home grown player. Messi it was who opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark, the Argentinian forward picking up a return pass from Jordi Alba before ghosting past his marker and firing a low shot past Roberto. Eight minutes later Paco Montañés levelled the scores for the visitors following a Víctor Rodríguez corner (incidentally, both players having started their careers in the Nou Camp), Alvaro's header cleared by Montoya only as far as the winger, whose shot took a deflection off Puyol to wrong-foot Valdés. Soon afterwards however Song restored the lead for the locals after a good run by Messi on the left of the area, and with an hour on the clock Messi scored his second of the evening after combining with Montoya. Iniesta could have added to the scoreline when he curled a shot against the crossbar with ten minutes to go, but the result was never in doubt, and Barça move on to 34 points from their first twelve matches.
Real Madrid are not letting their arch rivals out of their sights though, and they stay eight points behind them after a 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao later in the evening. Ronaldo and Callejón both went close before Mourinho's side took the lead in the twelfth minute, Benzema controlling a long ball from Modric and seeing his attempted shot deflected by Aurtenetxe over the head of Iraizoz. A few minutes later Sergio Ramos got behind the defence to steer a low header wide of the keeper from Özil's wide free kick, and less than two minutes later Benzema made it three with a shot on the turn from the edge of the area. Iraizoz had to be at his best to keep out Benzema and Callejón, but with the first half coming to a close a lapse of concentration by the defence allowed Ibai Gómez to connect with Susaeta's cross and drill a low shot wide of Casillas. Ten minutes in to the second half however Özil got a fourth after Ronaldo and Benzema combined to set him up, and Autenetxe headed another effort from Benzema off the line before Khedira beat Iraizoz for a fifth time. A strong performance from Madrid, and a confidence booster before their important Champions League tie at Manchester City on Wednesday.
Málaga are provisionally up to fourth after a 0-0 draw at Osasuna in the opening match of the weekend. Having only picked up one point in their last three games, Pellegrino's side needed to get something out of the visit to the team currently lying at the bottom of the table. They were lucky to be let off the hook though in the third minute when Kike Sola headed the ball in to the net only to be incorrectly ruled offside. Portillo forced Andrés in to a good save and Joaquín also had a strike ruled out for offside at the other end (this time correctly), but that was to be the last time they really troubled the local defence. After the restart the locals did all the attacking, and only a string of great saves by Willy Caballero from Sola, Cejudo and Omwu kept the scoreline unmoved. The clean sheet takes the Argentinian keeper back to the top of the Zamora chart, but he will be happier that his performance saved a point for his side. Osasuna themselves felt they could have got more, but the point at least takes them above Espanyol on goal difference.
Espanyol meanwhile are once again the foot of the table after a controversial 2-1 defeat at the hands of Valencia, who are now in sixth spot pending Sunday's games. . The Ches started the better of the two, Jonas and Soldado going close before Jonas blocked a Raúl Rodríguez clearance, the ball rebounding kindly for Jonathan Viera to beat Cristian Alvarez with an angled shot. Verdú brought a good save out of Diego Alves soon afterwards though, and with half an hour gone a quick passing move down the left wing ended with Verdú turning the ball across for Longo to slice a shot over the head of the local keeper in to the net. Both keepers were in action after the interval, Alves saving from Sergio García and Wakaso, and Alvarez keeping out Tino Costa and Jonas. However the locals were awarded a late penalty after the referee ruled that Barragán's cross hit Héctor Moreno on the arm, and Moreno and Sergio García were both sent off for insulting the officials in the ensuing protests. Soldado kept his cool though to convert the spot kick and hand the Catalans a defeat which sends them back to the bottom of the table. (17.11.12)