The sending-off of Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano cost Sevilla dearly as the ten-men visitors surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at Valladolid as they crashed to a second successive league defeat. Sevilla looked to be cruising holding a 2-0 lead after 24 minutes following goals from Renato and Jesus Navas. But Fabiano, returning after an injury lay-off, was dismissed for two bookable offences. His second caution was for diving in the penalty area in the 34th minute.
Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez was furious about the dismissal of Fabiano, his only fit striker. "I know refereeing is difficult but the first yellow card was absurd and I don't know what happened with the second caution," an angry Jimenez said "How can the referee think Luis Fabiano is wasting time in the 23rd minute while we are winning 2-0? No-one wastes time in the 23rd minute."
It proved the turning point in the match as Valladolid used the extra man to pull level by the 50th minute and Uruguayan Nestor Cannobio scored his second goal of the game on 63 minutes to seal a comeback win. Sevilla are five points behind league leaders Barcelona in fifth. The loss capped a miserable week for Manolo Jimenez's team, who suffered a 1-0 first leg Spanish Cup defeat to minnows Ponferradina in midweek. The top of the table is already starting to take shape with the expected big six of Barcelona, Villarreal, Valencia, Sevilla, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid occupying the top spots.
Barcelona defeated Malaga 4-1 on Saturday night to take the lead, a point ahead of Villarreal, who defeated Athletic Bilbao by the same scoreline. Defending champions Real Madrid can move level on points with Barcelona with victory over Almeria later on Sunday. Real striker Ruud van Nistelrooy will miss the game through injury and Spanish international Ruben de la Red will also be absent as he is given time off following his blackout in Real's midweek Cup match against Real Union. The 23-year-old de la Red collapsed and fainted on the pitch before spending the night in the hospital, evoking memories of last season when Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta, 22, collapsed on the pitch and later died of a heart condition.
"The tests show everything is fine but for precautionary reasons they have told me to spend the weekend at home," de la Red said. "I didn't understand all the commotion but now I have seen the footage I see why they were alarmed. I want to thank all those who were worried about me and the messages of goodwill I have received."
After nine games it is a surprise that none of the promoted teams are in the bottom three. Two league newcomers Numancia and Sporting Gijon faced off on Sunday and the latter came out on top with a 3-1 victory that lifted them to 10th spot. The third promoted side Malaga are eighth. Osasuna continue to prop up the 20-strong table after a 1-0 defeat by Espanyol on Sunday. A goal from Raul Tamudo after an hour condemned winless Osasuna to another loss.