Celta picked up their first points away from home after beating Zaragoza 0-1 on Monday evening. After five games without a win the Galicians found themselves just above the bottom three, and although Bermejo tested Roberto early on, most of the chances in the first half fell to the locals. Postiga in particular had a strike ruled out for offside and then went close a couple of times, and Oriol Riera drove a couple of long shots just wide of the mark. After the restart Javi Varas did well to keep out Víctor Rodríguez and Postiga, but Iago Aspas brought a good save out of Roberto before he finally scored what was to prove the winning goal after Krohn-Dehli and Roberto Lago combined to set him up. Varas was called upon after that to make an important save from Aranda, but the final whistle went soon afterwards, giving Paco Herrera's side a much needed win which takes them to within a point of their hosts in the table. (26.11.12)
Barcelona and Atlético Madrid are leaving everyone else behind this season, and they widened the gap on third placed Real Madrid even further after both clocked up four goal victories on Sunday evening. Barcelona had a tricky visit to Levante in the last match of the day, but four goals in the first twenty minutes of the second half saw them run out 0-4 winners in the end. As usual Vilanova's side (fielding an 11 made up of their youth academy players for much of the game) had up to 80% of possession in the first half, but even so there were chances at both ends, Barkero bringing an early save out of Valdés and Munúa keeping out Xavi and Pedro in reply. Iniesta was the inspiration after the restart however, the Spanish international midfielder setting up two goals for Messi immediately after the restart before scoring one himself with a shot from outside of the area. A few minutes later it was Iniesta again who put through a return pass for Fábregas to round the keeper and make it four, and Pedro in particular could have added to the scoreline a couple of times after that. Martins and Juanfran did test Valdés again as Barça slowed things down, and the visiting keeper rounded off a good night with a penalty save from Barkero after Puyol had brought down Michel and then handled in the area near the end.
Earlier in the evening though Atlético Madrid temporarily caught up with the leaders after a convincing 4-0 victory over Sevilla. The game swung in their favour midway through the first half when Fazio was sent off for giving a penalty on Koke which Falcao converted, and after that it was no contest. Diego Costa and Falcao both went close soon afterwards, and by half time they were three up, Spahic deflecting Arda Turan's centre in to his own net and Koke getting on the end of Costa's chipped cross to drill a low shot past Palop. After the interval Palop had to be at his best to keep out Falcao, Raúl Garcia and "Cebolla" Rodríguez, and a shot from Costa ballooned off a defender on to the crossbar. Missing the injured Negredo, the Andalusians only went close with a couple of efforts from Babá Diawara, and they were left with nine men when Rakitic picked up a second booking for a foul on Tiago. And with the game in injury time Miranda wrapped things up with a fourth goal after Palop could only push out a long shot from Filipe Luis, Tiago reacting quicker than anyone to turn the ball across to the defender. Simeone's team end the weekend eight points clear of eternal rivals Real Madrid, and next weekend they visit the Bernabeu stadium hoping to end a drought of 13 years standing.
Getafe are up to seventh spot after they beat Espanyol 0-2 in this Sunday's mid-day kick-off. Luis García's side got off to a flyer, Barrada missing an easy chance and Alvaro Vázquez also failing to find the target a couple of times before Pedro León picked up the ball in midfield and ran on to shoot low past Cristian Alvarez. Wakaso tested Moyà later on in the first half, but Alvarez had to save from Lafita and León, and at half time Pochettino decided it was already time to make two substitutions. For a while things improved, Longo and Verdú going close, and Albín shooting straight at the keeper when free on goal. But with the game coming to an end a shaky defence allowed a long throw-in to run through to Diego Castro, who passed across the area for Mané to score the second. The defeat leaves the Catalans at the foot of the table, and the few fans who were left in the ground called for changes to be made. With majority shareholders voting for an unpopular new president last week, the team coach could well be made the unfortunate scapegoat.
Deportivo are out of the bottom three however after they picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao. With Aduríz suspended, Llorente was given a rare start up front by Bielsa, and he headed against the crossbar early on as the locals had the better of the opening minutes. Midway through the first half De Marcos opened the scoring after Susaeta crossed in from the right wing, and Iturraspe and Llorente both had chances to increase the lead before the break. A few minutes after the restart however the visitors equalised with virtually their first attempt at goal, Valerón playing a corner back in to the goalmouth for Abel Aguilar to head past Iraizoz from close range. Athletic came out looking to get back in front, with Llorente heading wide a couple of times and Lux making the save of the day from Muniain. But in the end the Galicians almost snatched an undeserved win when Bodipo got on the end of a Camuñas cross only to turn his shot over the bar. (25.11.12)
Real Madrid's chances of retaining the league title are even more remote after they lost 1-0 at Betis on Saturday evening! Already eight points behind leaders Barcelona, Mourinho's side needed a win to close the gap on their rivals. But they went behind with a quarter of an hour on the clock when Beñat picked up a poor Di María clearance to run on past Khedira and beat Casillas, and the visiting keeper had to be on his toes to save from Rubén Castro a few minutes later. Ronaldo missed a header to level the scores though and Di María had a shot deflected over the bar, and either side of half time Benzema had strikes ruled out for borderline offsides. Juan Carlos responded with a free kick just wide, and Salva Sevilla and Rubén Castro both went close later on. However local keeper Adrián had to make important saves from Benzema, Ronaldo and Pepe, and Madrid felt they should have had a last minute penalty when the ball hit Nosa on the arm inside the area. A second defeat this year though in the city of Seville, and Mourinho's team have now dropped thirteen points to date, only one less than they did all last season.
The win takes Betis back up to fifth, just behind neighbours Málaga after the Andalusians thrashed Valencia 4-0 earlier in the evening. Pellegrini's side started the day just a point ahead of that of his almost-namesake Pellegrino, but within eight minutes they took the lead when Portillo had time to stop Eliseu's pass before poking a shot past Diego Alves. Saviola and Joaquín just failed to hit the target later on in the first half, and both brought good saves out of Alves either side of half time. At the other end Willy Caballero, currently La Liga's leading keeper, hardly had a save to make, and after several other chances for the locals, Saviola finally scored a second with a shot which took a slight deflection off Ricardo Costa. With ten minutes to go substitute Santa Cruz took over the mantle with a third goal after Jesús Gámez set him up, and Isco rounded off the scoring with a fourth goal in injury time.
Rayo Vallecano are in seventh spot pending the rest of the weekend's fixtures after beating Mallorca 2-0 in the first match on Saturday. Rayo's hero was once again Leo Baptistao, the Brazilian youngster beating Aouate from outside of the area to open the scoring with three minutes left to go, and then setting up Delibasic after a good run for the forward to stroke the ball in to the net two minutes later. Up to that point the locals had had the better chances, with Aouate saving from Piti, Tito and Chori Domínguez, and Leo himself having a headed goal ruled out for a borderline offside. Mallorca's best chance in the second half when Cobeño tipped a fierce shot from Pereira on to the crossbar, but in the end they fell to another defeat, an eighth game in a row for Caparrós's team without a win.
Valladolid stay a point behind Rayo in the table after a 1-0 victory over Granada, a result which leaves the Andalusians just above the bottom three. If anything, Anquela's side had the better of a dull first half, Mikel Rico and Orellana heading just wide and Torje failing to hit the target with a long shot. Ebert went close for the locals though soon after the restart, and with just over an hour gone Oscar slipped the ball through for Manucho to fire an angled shot wide of Toño. The visiting keeper did well a few minutes later to keep out Manucho's header, but after that the game fizzled out, the only half chance coming when Floro Flores got free only to shoot well wide. (24.11.12)
The first of the new Friday night games ended in a 0-0 draw between Real Sociedad and Osasuna, a result which favoured the visitors more than the home team. The game got off to a lively start, with Armenteros testing Bravo right from the kick-off, and Griezmann responding with a shot just wide. After that though it turned in to the usual brusque Basque derby with the defences not giving anything away, although a tough referee stopped things getting out of hand with six yellow cards in the first half. Both keepers had little to do, Andrés making one key save from a Carlos Vela header early on and Bravo keeping an eye on a looping back header from his own defender which bounced off his own crossbar. Ifrán was the liveliest of the forwards after the break, although he was unable to hit the target on a couple of occasions, and Bravo had to make a couple of late saves from Lamah and Arribas. A fair result though, and the Osasuna fans celebrated at the end as if they had won the league! (23.11.12)