The extended weekend ended with Granada beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to take the Andalusians five points clear of the drop zone. Lucas Alcaráz's side had not scored a single goal at home this season, but El-Arabi went close early on and Iraizoz had to be at his best to tip a shot from Buonanotte over the bar. Athletic needed a win though to overtake Villarreal for fourth spot, and they came back later in the first half, Ibai Gómez testing Roberto and Susaeta failing to convert a couple of chances either side of half time. A few minutes in to the second half however the locals were awarded a questionable penalty when Ander Herrera caught Murillo with his knee as both challenged for a high ball, and El-Arabi stepped up to convert the spot kick. And just eight minutes later El-Arabi got his second of the night with a header past Iraizoz after Diakhaté headed on a Buonanotte corner. That knocked the stuffing out of the Basque side, and El-Arabi and Buonanotte both came close to increasing the lead near the end. (30.09.13)
Only five goals in the four games on Sunday, with Villarreal losing out on a chance to go third after they lost 1-0 to Betis. Real Madrid's defeat the day before opened the door for them to move up a place, and only a couple of good stops by Sara prevented Mario and Uche from scoring early on. Sergio Asenjo had to keep out Chica and Amaya at the other end a few minutes later, but Cani felt himself unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Lolo Reyes bundled him over in the area soon afterwards. The locals went ahead though with eight minutes to go to the break, Nosa turning a shot past Asenjo after the keeper could only push out a shot by Verdú, and after the restart Juanfran and Verdú came close to adding to the lead. However with the game in the dying minutes referee Delgado Ferreiro turned down a second penalty claim when Aquino was felled in the box, and that upset coach Marcelino so much that he was sent to the stands for his protests.
Espanyol could also have moved back up into the European spots this weekend, but in the end they stay in seventh position after they were beaten 0-2 by Getafe. Javier Aguirre's side had picked up seven points from their three home games this season, and they started well, Moyà having to save from a Colotto header, Stuani going close a couple of times early on and Simao and Sergio García having penalty claims turned down either side of half time. Getafe's only reply was an early run by Colunga which ended with him rounding Kiko Casilla before shooting wide, but the local keeper had to be on his toes to save from Pedro León soon after the restart, and midway through the second half Sarabia slid the ball through for Colunga to open the scoring. After that Stuani and Capdevila came close to equalizing, but with the match in the second minute of injury time a cross from Sarabia was deflected across for Colunga to drill home his second of the night.
Getafe are now just a point behind Espanyol, still level with Levante who clocked up a last minute 0-1 victory at Osasuna earlier in the day. The locals had only won once at home all season, but they got off to a confident start, Oriol Riera fluffing his shot when free on goal and Riera, De las Cuevas and Armenteros all being frustrated by an excellent Keylor Navas. Babá missed a couple of chances later in the first half though, and soon after the restart he got the ball in the net only for the strike to be ruled out by referee José Antonio Teixeira for a more than dubious offside. Both teams had chances after that, but with four minutes to go Teixeira awarded a hotly disputed penalty to the visitors. Andrés dived to his left to save Diop's spot kick, but Xumetra reacted quicker than anyone to turn the rebound in to the net, and soon afterwards a frustrated Cejudo got himself sent off after picking up two bookings within ten minutes of coming on as substitute.
Elche also won 0-1 at Celta on Saturday afternoon, a result which left both teams on six points, some three points above the relegation spots. Despite the lack of goals it was a lively first half, Yoel doing well to keep out Manu del Moral with less than a minute on clock. The ex Sevilla forward fired a couple of shots wide later on, and at the other end Lombán had to block a shot from Charles after Manu Herrera dropped a long cross at his feet. The chances continued after that, but it was not until the hour mark that Javi Márquez opened the scoring, running on to Carles Gil's headed pass before firing an angled shot past the local keeper. But the Galicians came back, and youngster Santi Mina headed in a Krohn-Dehli free kick with ten minutes to go only for referee Prieto Iglesias to rule it out for a non-existent offside. Another defeat though for Luis Enrique's side, and they drop further down the table after only picking up one point from their last four games. (29.09.13)
Barcelona and Atlético Madrid clocked up their all time best start to the season as both won their seventh games in a row on Saturday evening. Leaders Barcelona had few problems seeing off Almería, although the bad news for coach Tata Martino was an injury to Messi which could keep him out of Tuesday's Champions League game at Celtic. The little man stayed on the park long enough however to put his side ahead, picking up a return pass from Pedro before running on to fire a shot in off the far post. After Messi limped off the visitors created few chances until Alexis was closed down by Esteban some ten minutes in to the second half, but a couple of minutes later Xavi and Fàbregas combined to set up Adriano to make it 0-2. Martino had been contemplating bringing on Neymar up to that point, but with his team controlling the ball he decided to reserve him for Tuesday night's game. The locals were still putting up a brave fight, Barbosa in particular having a strike ruled out for offside, but with the game in the dying minutes Tello and Dani Alves may well have added to the lead.
Atlético Madrid are keeping up the pace with Barcelona though, and they recorded a historic 0-1 victory against Real Madrid, their first league win against the old enemy since the turn of the century. Simeone's side did beat their city rivals in last season's cup final however, and this time they went in front in the eleventh minute when Di María gave the ball away to Filipe Luis, Koke passing through for the on-form Diego Costa to beat namesake Diego López. Benzema failed to convert a couple of headers after that, but Tiago headed over at the other end with the goal at his mercy, and López had to be at his best to keep out Miranda and Costa before the break. Ancelotti brought on Bale and Modric at half time, but the visitors continued to dominate, Costa unable to beat the keeper when free on goal, and Koke firing a shot against the crossbar. Madrid's best chance came late on when substitute Morata saw his volley saved by Courtois, but the game ended soon afterwards, and they now find themselves five points behind the leaders at this early stage in the season. The local fans showed their disapproval after the final whistle.
Elsewhere Jonas got the only goal of the game for the second time in three days to give Valencia a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, a result which takes the Ches up to sixth. Djukic's side started well, Rubén having to save from Pabón and Fede, and Saúl clearing off the line from Jonas with the keeper beaten, and soon afterwards the on-loan Atlético midfielder-turned-defender gifted the ball to the Brazilian forward for him to turn an angled shot across the keeper. After the restart Rayo had the better chances, Seba Fernández and Perea bringing good saves out of Diego Alves and Adrián heading over a couple of times, but they were unable to prevent a sixth defeat in a row which leaves them at the bottom of the table.
Real Sociedad and Sevilla cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw which keeps the Basque side a point ahead of their opponents in mid-table. Both teams have been struggling in the league recently, but the visitors got the edge when Jairo pulled down a long pass from Rakitic before lifting a shot past Claudio Bravo. Grizmann could have levelled the scores had he not slipped when put free on goal, but shortly before half time Trochowski missed the easiest of chances after Gameiro set him up with the keeper AWOL. After the interval hit the side netting and then steered a header against the post, and Bravo did well to turn an effort from Jairo away for a corner. Midway through the second half however Griezmann poked home the equalizer after Beto could only push out his header from Vela's cross, and although Cala was sent off for a second bookable offence with five minutes to go, both coaches settled for a point in the end. (28.09.13)
The intense programme of league games continues, Valladolid and Málaga kicking off week seven with a 2-2 draw on Friday evening. Santa Cruz latched on to a Tissone through ball to open the scoring midway through the first, but headed goals by Javi Guerra and Osorio from Ebert corners turned the scoreline around after the break. Substitute Pawlowski saved a point for the visitors however with an impressive strike, controlling Camacho's centre before turning and volleying a first time shot past Diego Mariño with a quarter of an hour to go. And the visitors came closer to winning it after that, a deflected shot by El Hamdaoui hitting the bar, and Mariño having keep out Santa Cruz near the end. (27.09.13)