Thiago / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Atlético’s run comes to an end

Simeone’s team suffered their first defeat of the season, with a brilliant goal from Soldado and a late second from Valdez finished Atlético’s run in a rough and tumble game that saw seven yellows, a red for Valencia coach Mauricio Pellegrino and another for the hosts’ Ricardo Costa late on. Valencia move up to ninth on 14 points, with Atlético now three points behind Barça on 25. Málaga slipped out of the top four with a shock 1-2 home defeat to Rayo – Catalan striker Piti scoring both goals for the visitors, whose boss Paco Jemez insisted after the match: “we won that because of our play, not because of any failings of Malaga. Together with the Betis game, that was our best of the season”.

Madrid bang in four

Real Madrid took advantage of Málaga’s slip up to move into third with a 4-0 win over Zaragoza: Higuain, Di Maria, Essien and Modric were on target for Mourinho’s side, who have chalked up 13 goals in their last three games. Betis also scored four, beating Getafe 2-4 on Monday night to go fourth, a point behind Madrid and one ahead of Málaga. Their neighbours Sevilla were less fortunate in front of goal on Sunday, playing out a goalless draw with Levante – now sixth, a point behind Málaga- that caused their boss Michel to claim : “I’m disgusted with the result – though not with my team, we just lacked sharpness in front of goal”.

Osasuna’s woes deepen

Osasuna’s problems at the foot of the table got worse with a 0-1 defeat to Valladolid. Patrick Ebert scored the visitors’ goal late on and Valladolid are now eighth, with just one defeat in their last six games. The Pamplona outfit’s woes were deepened by the results around them, with Espanyol winning their first game on the road for 11 months to inflict a 0-1 win over Real Sociedad and Deportivo also getting a narrow victory – 1-0 at home to Mallorca. Granada slipped into the bottom three after Bilbao won their first away game of the season 1-2, with two first half strikes by Aduriz to take his personal total to eight so far this season and establish him as the leading Spanish national scorer in the league. Osasuna are bottom on five points, with Granada three ahead, Espanyol on nine and Celta, Deportivo and Real Sociedad just above them with ten points.