Real Madrid took a small step to restoring their pride after last weekend’s derby thrashing by beating Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side made a nervous start to the game but took a 20th-minute lead through Isco, and then Karim Benzema sealed the points in the 73rd minute. Madrid, who were thrashed 4-0 by bitter rivals Atletico a week ago, stay top of the Primera Division thanks to the win but this was far from an assured performance from the European champions, who were booed by their own supporters on several occasions.
Sevilla were also in need of a positive result after losing their last two games and they got it with a comfortable 3-0 derby win over struggling Cordoba in a match which saw both teams finish with ten men. Grzegorz Krychowiak headed in the opener from a corner on 39 minutes and then Carlos Bacca scored from close range just before half-time, and any hope of a Cordoba fightback in the second half soon vanished when Patrick Ekeng was shown a straight red card for striking out at Vitolo. Krychowiak was then also given his marching orders for a dangerous tackle, but Vicente Iborra’s headed goal put the game out of Cordoba’s sight a few minutes later.
There was also a red card in the match between Granada and Athletic Bilbao, but the Basque visitors could not make the most of Emanuel Insua’s 68th-minute dismissal as the clash finished goalless. Both teams came close to netting late winners but Granada forward Piti and Athletic striker Iker Muniain each saw shots hit the post.
Espanyol found the long trip to La Rosaleda to their liking once again as the Copa del Rey semi-finalists brought their recent poor run to an end with a 2-0 win over Malaga – although they were indebted to goalkeeper Kiko Casilla for the three points.
Espanyol took a 41st-minute lead through Alvaro Gonzalez’s unstoppable header but looked set to surrender that when Malaga won a penalty seven minutes from time in an incident that saw Diego Colotto sent off for deliberate handball. However, Spain international Casilla superbly saved Nordin Amrabat’s spot-kick and then produced another top-class stop to deny Samu later on.
As Malaga pushed for the equaliser, Espanyol managed to notch a second through Sergio Garcia deep into injury time to seal their first win in five games and climb into the top eight in La Liga.