Villarreal have taken little time in returning to where they left off a couple of years ago, Marcelino's side consolidating fourth place after a 2-1 victory over Espanyol in the last of the midweek games. In less than a minute they were already in front after Cani headed a Hernán Pérez cross forward for Perbet to turn a shot past Kiko Casilla. And later in the first half they could have added to the lead, the visiting keeper saving from Giovani and Mario, and Cani and Tomás Pina both firing shots just wide of the post. Visiting coach Aguirre had changed over half of his line-up for this midweek game, and they didn't really trouble Asenjo until after the break, when Lanzarote and Thievy had shots blocked. A few minutes later however substitute Jonathan Pereira got on the end of Cani's cross to make it two, and although Sergio García got one back with an individualist effort, his strike came too late to change the result.
Athletic Bilbao did get past Villarreal for a couple of hours though after beating Betis 2-1 earlier in the evening. This was only the second game in their new stadium, and as they did ten days ago against Celta, they had to come from behind before taking the three points. Both teams had chances in the first half, Iraizoz having to save from Chuli and Matilla, and Ibai Gómez and Gurpegui hitting the bar. Soon after the restart Athletic were awarded a penalty after Chuli tripped Susaeta inside the area, but Guillermo Sara guessed correctly and saved Beñat's spot kick. Sara kept out Susaeta soon afterwards, and with just over an hour on the clock the Andalusians took the lead, Jorge Molina beating Iraizoz at the second attempt after the keeper had blocked his header from a Lolo Reyes cross. Ten minutes later though De Marcos forced a header under Sara from Beñat's cross to make it all square, and San José headed the winner from an Ibai Gómez centre with eight minutes to go to give Valverde's side the three points.
Meanwhile Getafe are up to ninth in the table after they won 2-0 against Celta. Neither keeper had much to do until the last minute of the first half, when Lisandro López got on the end of a Pedro Léon corner to head the opener past Yoel. And just five minutes in to the second half Arroyo headed in the second of the evening from another Pedro León corner. David Rodríguez did give Moyà some problems after that, but Colunga and Sarabia both wasted chances to wrap the game up later on. A second home win in a row though for Luis García's side, and they move a point above the Galicians in the table as a result. (26.09.13)
Real Madrid remain two points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Atlético Madrid after a controversial last minute 1-2 victory at Elche. The locals have yet to win since getting promoted in the summer, but they didn't allow themselves to be overawed by their opponents, Diego López having to be on his toes to keep out Lombán and Carles Gil early on, and Javi Márquez firing a couple of shots wide. Ronaldo went close himself twice though and Di María finally tested Manu Herrera shortly before the break, and six minutes after the restart Ronaldo found a gap in the defensive wall to open the scoring with a well struck free kick. Neither side produced too many chances after that though until the second minute of injury time, when Boakye got on the end of Fidel's cross to head home the equalizer. But with the home fans celebrating the point, referee Muñiz Fernández surprised everyone awarding the visitors a penalty as Carlos Sánchez and Pepe tussled in the area following a corner. The final whistle should have gone before that, but once the protests died down Ronaldo stepped up to calmly drill home the winner. The win keeps Ancelotti's side in touch with their immediate rivals, and they have a chance to go second at least when they host Atlético in their city derby on Saturday.
Earlier in the evening Valencia also clocked up a last minute 0-1 win over Granada, the Ches moving up to seventh in the table after a second victory in a row. The Andalusians started the better of the two though, Diego Alves having to save an El Arabi header and Buonanotte heading Nyom's cross just wide. Jonas headed wide at the other end and Postiga tested Roberto with a long shot, and the local keeper also had to save from Guardado and Pabón after the interval. Brahimi responded with a couple of efforts which Alves kept out, but with the game seemingly heading for a draw Jonas got on the end of a long cross from Canales to score the winner. A much needed victory for Djukic after another difficult week in which Adil Rami has been suspended by the club after making controversial comments against his coach and fellow players.
Sevilla got their first league win of the season, the Andalusians beating Rayo Vallecano 4-1 to move above their opponents off the bottom of the table. Rakitic put the Andalusians two up, firing home a first half penalty after Arbilla brought down Coke with a quarter of an hour gone, and then beating Rubén again with a well struck free kick early in the second half. Adrián headed one back though just two minutes later from Jonathan Viera's centre, and the midfielder should have made it all square when he missed the target with the goal gaping in front of him soon afterwards. Rayo were left a man short though when Gálvez was sent off for a second bookable offence, and substitute Bacca got on the end of Gameiro's cross to make it three with ten minutes to go. A couple of minutes later Viera was also sent off for a trip on M'Bia, and Bacca completed the scoring with a high scissors kick after Gameiro's effort came back off the crossbar. (25.09.13)
Barcelona and Atlético Madrid equalled their best ever starts to the season after both won their sixth games in a row on Tuesday evening. The midweek round of games kicked off with Barcelona beating Real Sociedad 4-1, Tata Martino joining Tito Vilanova as one of the only managers to clock up six victories in their first six games in charge. There was a brief scare when Seferovic hit the bar early on, but with five minutes on the clock a misunderstanding between Cadamuro and Claudio Bravo allowed Neymar to turn in an Alexis cross, and three minutes later Messi dived forward to head in another cross from Neymar. Midway through the first half Messi had a back-heel shot blocked and then fired the rebound against the bar, but a bad clearance by Griezmann fell to Busquets, who thumped a low shot back in to the net. Alexis, Messi and Neymar could all have added to the scoreline on numerous occasions either side of half time, but twenty minutes in to the second half De la Bella got one back after Agirretxe pulled down a high ball in front of Piqué and poked the ball across for him to score. A few minutes later though substitute Marc Bartra got on the end of Messi's low cross to make it four, and Alexis came close to a fifth when he headed against the bar in the last minute.
Atlético stay level on points with Barcelona though after a 2-1 victory over Osasuna. They too could have gone behind early on, Sisi's shot deflecting off two defenders on to the post, but with eighteen minutes on the clock Diego costa got on the end of Juanfran's cross to open the scoring. Arda Turan headed wide soon afterwards, but a couple of minutes later Costa headed his second of the evening from Koke's centre. Oriol Riera got one back though with an acrobatic shot from Puñal's wide free kick shortly before half time, and after the restart Armenteros and Damià both went close for the visitors. However Courtois wasn't really bothered after that, and Atleti could have increased their lead later on, Andrés having to save from Costa and Insúa, and Turan just missing the target a couple of times. Another win against a more difficult than expected opponent, and next up Simeone's side will really be put to the test when they visit old city rivals Real Madrid.
Málaga got through their difficult start to the season relatively unscathed, and they are now up to seventh pending the rest of the midweek games after beating Almería 2-0. Bernd Schuster's side had the better of the opening minutes, Esteban having to save from Duda and Antunes, and El Hamdaoui hitting the side netting. Caballero kept out Pellerano at the other end following a corner and Rodri put a good chance wide, but El Hamdaoui and Portillo went close before the break, and El Hamdaoui hit the outside of the post after the restart. Midway through the second half though Tissone headed the locals in to the lead after Angeleri headed on Duda's corner, and with the game in time added on Portillo scooped the ball back in to the net after a good run to wrap things up. The defeat leaves the visitors just above the relegation spots without a win to their name this season.
Levante and Valladolid drew 1-1 in the first game of the day, a result which kept the locals in ninth spot, two points ahead of their opponents in the table. The visitors will be happier with the result though after they had to play all the second half with ten men. Honours were shared early on, Keylor Navas having to save a header from Rueda and Diego Mariño keeping out a shot by Rubén García. The locals took the lead with ten minutes to go to the break following a run by Juanfran, the ball rebounding off a couple of defenders in to the path of Babá, who gratefully scored his first goal in almost a year. Just six minutes later Javi Guerra equalized, picking up a cross from the right and making himself space to slide an angled shot past the keeper, but before the half time whistle the locals had the best of chances to restore the lead when Bergdich was sent off for giving away a penalty on Xumetra. However Mariño dived to push Ivanschitz's spot kick around the post, and although Caparrós's side did most of the attacking after the break, the young keeper and his defence held on for a valuable point. (24.09.13)