La Liga Week 10 Round Up: Ruben Suarez leaves it late but keeps Levante top, Betis suffer another defeat and Bilbao score a convincing win over Atletico

Granada hosted Barcelona in the first of the mid-week fixtures. In a frustrating encounter for the visitors, Xavi scored the only goal of the game to secure a deserved three points. Lionel Messi went close, as did David Villa, but neither could increase Barcelona’s tally, even after Granada were reduced to ten men when Jaime Romero was sent off at the start of the second half. The home side failed to really trouble Barcelona, and finished the game with nine men as Dani Benitez received his marching orders in the last minutes.

Also on Tuesday, Racing Santander travelled to Sevilla in search of their first Liga victory of the season. However, they were left disappointed as Sevilla came from behind and snatched a late equaliser to grab a point. Manu de Moral put the home side ahead near the end of the first half with a close range header, but Hector Cuper’s men fought back and took the lead midway through the second half with two goals from Ariel and Jairo Samperio. As the game drifted into its final minutes, Manu dashed any hope of a Santander victory as he headed Ivan Rakitic’s cross past Tono Ramirez.

On Wednesday, Getafe played Osasuna at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez where they have only won once this season. They were soon behind too, as Ibrahima headed Raul Garcia’s cross in after just seven minutes. Getafe substitute Dani Guiza equalised in the second half with a right footed strike from eighteen yards but four minutes later Osasuna regained their lead through another Ibrahima header. Guiza equalised again ten minutes later when he headed in Miguel Torres’ accurate cross to grab a point from a game Getafe fans might feel they deserved more from.

Also on Wednesday, Zaragoza hosted Valencia but, frustratingly, never really posed a threat to the visitor’s defence. Vicente Guaita was never given a shot to save as Unai Emery’s back four defended impressively. The only goal of the game came after Javier Paredes failed to clear Bruno Saltor’s looping cross. Jordi Alba followed it in, volleyed past Roberto and Valencia, deservedly, took the three points and kept the pressure on their local rivals, Levante.

Eliseu was sent off as Malaga succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Rayo Vallecano. This started poorly for the visitors, who were behind after seven minutes when Botelho headed Piti’s corner in from close range. Experienced striker Raul Tamudo’s calm finish past Willy Caballero twenty minutes from time then made the game safe. Malaga have now not only lost their last three games, but have also failed to score in each of them.

Levante stayed atop the Liga table as they overcame Real Sociedad in a thrilling affair. The visitors took the lead on just three minutes through Daniel Estrada, but Levante rallied back after the break with goals from Nano Rivas and Valdo Lopes. Sociedad pulled level three minutes from time, but four minutes into injury time Ruben Suarez gave the home side an excellent victory when his powerful free-kick from distance went in off the post.

At the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid’s flurry of first half goals sunk any Villarreal hopes of getting their second Liga victory of the season. Karim Benzema opened the scoring early on with a neat chipped finish, and Kaka doubled the lead in the 10th minute, firing a low shot past Diego Lopez. Angel Di Maria swept in Los Blancos third after half an hour as they hit Villarreal with a wonderful counter attack.

Elsewhere Sporting Gijon travelled to Mallorca in search of their second win of the season. They were soon trailing though as Gonzalo Castro put the home side in front after sixteen minutes when he headed in from Michael Pereira’s cross. However, Sporting fought back after the break and pulled level through Mate Bilic, then went on to get a winner as Mallorca defender Joao Victor scored an own goal.

In the first of the Thursday games, Espanyol narrowly overcame Real Betis thanks to a wonderful header from Walter Pandiani. In one sweeping move the Uruguayan latched on to Didac’s early cross, converted from eighteen yards and resigned Pepe Mel’s side to a disappointing fifth consecutive Liga defeat.

In the last of the mid-week fixtures, Athletic Bilbao scored three goals in seven minutes against an Atletico Madrid side that failed to score for the sixth time this season. Fernando Llorente opened the scoring in the 68th minute when his tame effort was deflected past Thibaut Courtois, then grabbed his second soon after with a strong header. Gaizka Torquero sealed the victory in the 74th minute when his glancing header flashed by the helpless Courtois.

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