Villarreal edge closer as Sevilla thrill

Villarreal moved back to within a point of Primera Division leaders Real Madrid tonight after a hugely impressive 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid at El Madrigal.

Cani added the finish to a surging run from Nilmar to open the scoring after nine minutes and Giuseppe Rossi showed strength and superb close control to slide home the second seven minutes after the break. Victory made it seven games unbeaten for the Yellow Submarine and moved them ahead of Barcelona on goal difference. It also marked their best ever start to a Primera Division season with 19 points from a possible 24.

Meanwhile, Espanyol kept their perfect home record intact and moved up to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Levante at Cornella. The Barcelona-based team went ahead through Argentinian winger Jesus Datolo early on and looked set to stroll to a comfortable victory after Xisco was sent off for the visitors 10 minutes into the second half. The Catalans did double their lead with 10 minutes left, when Jose Callejon struck, but suffered a nervy final few minutes after Christian Stuani headed a late goal for Levante.

We are not going to get carried away by being in the top part of the table.
Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino

"We are not going to get carried away by being in the top part of the table," said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino. "We are a young team that is maturing and in every match we go for the win."

In Seville, Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute each scored twice as 10-man Sevilla edged out Athletic Bilbao 4-3. Two goals from Luis Fabiano - his first in La Liga this season - and a Kanoute penalty looked to have Sevilla cruising to victory at 3-0 midway through the second half.

However, the sending-off of Sevilla left-back Fernando Navarro in the 65th minute gave Athletic an unexpected lifeline and they seemed set to take it as in-form Spain striker Fernando Llorente struck twice in four minutes to make it 3-2 in the 77th minute. The Basque side's attempted fightback was cut short when Sevilla were awarded a penalty 60 seconds later, which Kanoute successfully slotted home. That appeared to knock the stuffing out of Athletic and, although they pulled another goal back deep into injury time through Igor Gabilondo, Sevilla held on to pick up their fourth win of the season.

Getafe gave their fans something to celebrate at the end of a disappointing week as they swept aside Sporting Gijon 3-0 at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Michel`s men came into the match having lost 2-0 at local rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend and then going down 1-0 to Stuttgart in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, but goals from Derek Boateng, Adrian Colunga and Ivan Marcano got the Azulones back on track today.

Osasuna hauled themselves out of the relegation zone with a 3-0 victory against out-of-sorts Malaga. The hosts jumped into the lead after three minutes thanks to a Javad Nekounam penalty before further strikes by Shojaei Massoud and Carlos Aranda either side of the break sealed a one-sided win.

Leonardo Ulloa's late equaliser saved Almeria from a damaging defeat at home to promoted side Hercules, and may also have saved the job of coach Juanma Lillo. The Andalusian side's form has been wretched so far this season and there was speculation that a fresh defeat may spell the end for Lillo. And that looked a distinct possibility as Nelson Valdez gave the visitors the lead eight minutes before half-time. But the hosts stuck to their task and Ulloa, a summer signing from Second Division Castellon, came up with the all-important leveller with seven minutes remaining.