Real Madrid's sorry streak at Deportivo La
Coruna continued when the Spanish giants crashed 3-1 in their bogey
team's intimidating Riazor stadium.
With the Riazor festooned with banners proclaiming Deportivo fans to be
'Anti-Madrista', Real were as good as defeated before the break thanks
to two outstanding first half goals from Julian De Guzman and Juanma
Juanma got his second of the night seven minutes from time and Real club
captain Raul Gonzalez scored a late consolation three minutes later but
the three points were effectively in Deportivo's hands by the interval.
Real, missing the injured quartet of Ronaldo, Robinho, Zinedine Zidane
and Michel Salgado, have now not won in La Coruna since the 1991-92
Goals from Ronaldinho and Henrik Larsson in the last ten minutes gave
reigning Spanish champions Barcelona a 2-0 win over Malaga, which helped
them leapfrog over their bitter rivals Real.
Ronaldinho broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after 80 minutes,
after he had been brought down by Juan Rodriguez, although Malaga
players accused the World Player of the Year of diving.
"I think we played good football and gave a good account of ourselves by
fighting to the end," said Barca coach Frank Rijkaard who offered an
explanation to Ronaldinho's alleged dive.
"The penalty was legal. We are not out to trick anyone, when you are
fouled at the speed he (Ronaldinho) was going, you start to fly," added
Second half substitute Larsson then got his first goal of the season
three minutes from time.
The Swedish striker was left unmarked on the edge of the area as a
pinpoint cross from Ronaldinho came to his feet and he chipped over the
head of Malaga's oncoming keeper Francesc Arnau, who started his career
Osasuna moved top of the table Wednesday after a 3-2 win over struggling
Athletic Bilbao although Getafe and Valencia both play on Thursday and
can overtake them.
Cameroon international Pierre Webo got Osasuna's winner three minutes
into injury time after the game had swung to and fro.
Carlos Gurpegi put the Basque visitors ahead from close range after 25
minutes but Raul Garcia levelled for Osasuna two minutes from half time.
Garcia found the net with perfectly pitched lob from 30 yards, having
spotted Athletic keeper Daniel Aranzubia was just too far off his line.
Savo Milosevic then headed Osasuna into the lead before Athletic's
Andoni Iraola nudged the ball into the net with nine minutes remaining.
"At 2-1 I thought the game was under our control so to be drawing with
just a few minuets to go was a bit of a shock, but the team showed its
spirit by never giving up and settling for a point," said Osasuna coach
Villarreal didn't thrash fellow Champions League contenders Real Betis
in the same fashion as Chelsea and Malaga had done, but Betis still
suffered and the visitors won 3-2.
Jose Mari Romero opened the scoring for Villarreal after just nine
minutes, connecting from the edge of the area with a cross from Diego
Ricardo Oliveira equalised for Betis after 27 minutes, heading home a
free kick from his Brazilian compatriot Assuncao, but Villarreal bounced
back after the break.
Forlan, better known as a goal scorer after becoming joint winner of the
European Golden Boot last season, provided the service again, this time
for Juan Pablo Sorin to put Villarreal ahead again after 58 minutes.
The visitors' lead only lasted two minutes as Villarreal's Javi Venta
put the ball in his own goal but Villarreal took the lead for the third
and final time thanks to a Juan Roman Riquelme penalty on 68 minutes.
Betis played the final 19 minutes with just nine men after first Spanish
international winger Joaquin Sanchez and then Melli Andrau got their
Celta Vigo, who started the week in second place, blew their big chance
of putting pressure on, who travel to San Sebastian on Thursday, when
they lost 1-0 at struggling Real Mallorca.
Former Italian international midfielder Cristiano Doni scored the only
goal of the game less than two minutes into the second half to lever
Mallorca off the foot of the table.
Spanish football league table after Wednesday's matches (played, won,
drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):
Osasuna 9 6 0 3 12 10 18
Getafe 8 5 2 1 16 9 17
Barcelona 9 4 4 1 19 10 16
Celta Vigo 9 5 1 3 11 9 16
Real Madrid 9 5 0 4 19 11 15
Villarreal 9 4 3 2 16 11 15
Valencia 8 4 3 1 14 11 15
Deportivo La Coruna 9 3 4 2 12 11 13
Real Sociedad 8 4 1 3 12 14 13
Sevilla 8 3 3 2 7 5 12
Cadiz 8 3 3 2 7 6 12
Malaga 9 3 1 5 13 12 10
Atletico Madrid 8 3 1 4 7 9 10
Real Betis 9 2 3 4 7 15 9
Real Zaragoza 8 1 5 2 10 12 8
Racing Santander 8 2 2 4 3 5 8
Real Mallorca 9 2 2 5 8 17 8
Espanyol 8 2 1 5 5 10 7
Alaves 8 1 3 4 7 13 6
Athletic Bilbao 9 1 2 6 9 14 5