Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both made it six wins out of six and, with Real Madrid also winning, there was no change at the top of La Liga after the midweek matches in Spain.
Barcelona answered recent criticism of coach Tata Martino in the best possible way with a 4-1 thumping of Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. Neymar hit his first goal in Barca colours after only four minutes and Lionel Messi doubled the Catalans’ lead four minutes later. The game was all but won on 23 minutes after a rare Sergio Busquets strike and, although Alberto de la Bella pulled a goal back for the Basques, defender Marc Bartra rounded off the scoring with his first Barca goal.
A Diego Costa double ensured victory for Atletico Madrid over Osasuna but Diego Simeone’s men were made to fight for the points by a resolute Osasuna side. Oriol Riera narrowed the margin just before half time but, despite preventing Atleti from adding to their tally, Osasuna never threatened an equaliser as they slumped to their fifth defeat of the season.
Real Madrid struggled to break down stubborn Elche, the men from Alicante having the better of the first half without finding a way through the Madrid defence. Los Blancos took the lead with a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick just after half-time. Richmond Boakye looked to have salvaged a draw when he headed Elche level in stoppage time but Carlos Sanchez fouled Pepe further into added time and Ronaldo scored from the spot to secure a 2-1 win for Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti’s side stay two points behind Barcelona and Atletico while Elche still await their first win.
Villarreal remain in fourth place just two points behind Real Madrid after running out 2-1 winners over Espanyol at El Madrigal. Jeremy Perbet put the Yellow Submarine ahead after only 30 seconds and Jonathan Pereira extended their lead in the second half. Sergio Garcia scored for Los Periquitos 10 minutes from time as Villarreal held on for the win.
Athletic Bilbao came from behind to defeat Real Betis 2-1 at San Mames, where all the goals came in the second half. Jorge Molina put the visitors in front on 63 minutes but Oscar de Marcos equalised ten minutes later. Mikel San Jose struck the winner eight minutes from the end to take the Basques into sixth place.
Valencia’s match at Granada looked to be heading for stalemate but Brazilian striker Jonas scored with virtually the last kick of the game as he connected with Sergio Canales’ low cross to seal a 1-0 triumph in stoppage time. The win continued Valencia’s revival under Miroslav Djukic after a poor start to the campaign.
Meanwhile Malaga registered their fourth straight win, overcoming fellow Andalusians Almeria 2-0 at La Rosaleda. The visitors, who have yet to win since their return to the top flight, held on until the 68th minute when Fernando Tissone put Malaga ahead and Francisco Portillo made sure of the points in injury time.
Getafe dispatched Celta Vigo with a 2-0 win at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, a result that sees Los Azulones climb to ninth. Defenders Lisandro Lopez and Alvaro Arroyo scored the goals either side of the break.
Levante could only draw 1-1 against 10-man Real Valladolid at the Ciutat de Valencia. Papa Baba Diawara gave the home side the lead on 35 minutes, only for Javi Guerra to equalise six minutes later. Valladolid defender Zakara Bergdich received a straight red card for a foul on Jordi Xumetra, but Andreas Ivanschitz’s powerfully-struck penalty was saved by Diego Marino.
Sevilla took three points for the first time this season with a resounding 4-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano, who replaced them at the foot of the table. Ivan Rakitic set Los Nervionenses on their way with an early spot-kick and the Croatian was on target again soon after the break.
Rayo pulled a goal back two minutes later through Adrian Gonzalez but then pressed the self-destruct button as Alejandro Galvez was dismissed after receiving two yellow cards. Jonathan Viera was then shown a straight red card for a foul on Stephane Mbia before Carlos Bacca scored twice against the nine men as Rayo conceded their 20th goal in just six games.