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Valencia Go Top Of La Liga

Valencia returned to the top of the Primera Liga with a 1-0 win at Real Valladolid courtesy of a wonderful second-half strike by Manuel Fernandes.

The former Everton midfielder settled the game in the 54th minute when he smashed a low drive into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards after being played in by David Villa.

It was the one moment of genuine quality in a game of few clear-cut chances, although Valencia coach Unai Emery will be delighted with the manner in which his team went about their task against a team that had won both of their opening home matches.

Sevilla coasted to their fourth consecutive win by smashing four goals past Athletic Bilbao without reply at the Estadio Ramin Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday.

The hosts have been in impressive form of late and Frederic Kanoute, who scored both goals in their 2-0 midweek UEFA Cup win against Salzburg, got the ball rolling when he netted after 27 minutes.

Renato doubled Sevilla’s lead with a header just before the interval and second-half goals from substitutes Adriano and Ernesto Javier Chevanton made it a wholly satisfying afternoon for Manolo Jimenez’s side, who who have now not lost in 22 games in all competitions dating back to last season.

Real Madrid’s nine-match winning streak at the Bernabeu was brought to an end as they were held 2-2 by Espanyol.

Madrid had won every competitive match in front of their own fans since losing to Valencia in March, but that run came to an end in an encounter where all four goals came in the first half – and from discarded Spain strikers.

Raul Tamudo and Luis Garcia twice put Espanyol ahead only for Raul to level up both times for Madrid, who had also won six successive matches this season prior to this.

Almeria staged a superb late comeback to earn a share of the spoils from a 2-2 draw at Getafe, whose wait for a first home win of the season continues.

Getafe looked to be heading for all three points when substitute Ikechuwku Uche and captain Javi Casquero scored twice in four minutes midway through the second half.

However, it was to end in disappointment for Victor Munoz’s side as Almeria struck back to net twice in the dying minutes through headers from Alvaro Negredo and Chico to salvage a draw at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

Sporting Gijon put their nightmare start to life in La Liga behind them and picked up their first points of the season in a shock 2-0 win against in-form Real Mallorca.

The islanders came into this game looking for a win to equal their best-ever start to a season, but were stunned early on when Carmelo Gonzalez scored the opener for the visitors after 12 minutes.

Roberto Canella doubled the lead five minutes into the second half as Mallorca struggled to recover from the early goal.

Pierre Webo had the chance to pull one back when he was fouled in the area by Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar with quarter of an hour to play, but the Cameroon forward sent his shot from the penalty spot onto the post.

Juan Valera struck in the third minute of injury time to give Racing Santander a dramatic late 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Osasuna and lift the Cantabrian side out of the relegation zone on Sunday afternoon.

Racing had looked unlikely to score all afternoon, even after Osasuna’s Czech Republic midfielder Jaroslav Plasil had been sent off after 38 minutes for handling in the area.

Ezequiel Garay missed the resulting spot-kick and Racing failed to make their numerical advantage count in a low-quality second half.

But just as it looked as if Osasuna had done enough to hold on for what would have been a valuable point given the circumstances, Valera popped up with the winner after 92 minutes.

Malaga produced an exhibition of classic counter-attacking football to humble regional rivals Recreativo Huelva 4-0 in a one-sided Andalusian derby at the Nuevo Colombino on Sunday.

Much of the crowd had barely had time to sit down when Portuguese striker Eliseu Pereira gave the visitors the lead after just 38 seconds of play.

Morocco striker Nabil Baha doubled Malaga’s lead six minutes before half-time and Antonio Tapia’s side added to their tally just after the interval through Sergio Duda.

And Eliseu wrapped up an impressive win with his second of the afternoon after 62 minutes.

Angel Lafita’s goal was enough to give Deportivo La Coruna only their second Primera Liga victory of the campaign as Numancia’s woes continued with a 1-0 defeat.

Lafita headed Depor into the lead in the 13th minute and despite Numancia’s pressing the hosts clung on to take a valuable three points.

Numancia only have four points, having not won since their shock opening day triumph over Barcelona, and drop to 17th in the table.

On Saturday, Barcelona scored five times in the first 28 minutes on the way to thrashing Atletico Madrid 6-1 on an incredible night.

Rafa Marquez, Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi put the locals three up inside eight minutes as the game got off to an explosive start.

Maxi Rodriguez pulled one back for Atletico five minutes later, but Eto’o restored Barca’s three-goal advantage shortly afterwards and Eidur Gudjohnsen added a fifth for the home side short of the half-hour mark.

The second half was less intense, but Thierry Henry wrapped up a brilliant Barcelona win with his side’s sixth after 73 minutes.

Co-leaders Villarreal scored twice in three second-half minutes to come from a goal down and secure a 2-1 win against Real Betis.

The visitors went ahead through Damia after 20 minutes and could have added to their lead in a one-sided first half.

Gonzalo Rodriguez equalised with a header halfway through the second half though and Joseba Llorente struck two minutes later to produce a dramatic turnaround.

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